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Particle Accelerators for X-ray Cargo Screening

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

The need to control borders has led to a rapid growth in the use of X-ray cargo imaging at ports, airports and rail depots. Many projects inspired by high energy physics (HEP) have led to rapid developments in detector technology. This, however, has not been accompanied by accelerator development, which has resulted in many of these detectors developments not being utilised. Furthermore, security applications require linacs with higher repetition rates, shorter bunches and longer macropulses, which currently don’t exist commercially. With new RF design methodologies and techniques employed in high gradient accelerators and existing RF sources, such a linac could be realised in parallel with electron gun development.

A PhD student is required to design a next-generation security linac suitable for the needs of Rapiscan to meet the requirements of their current imaging needs. The next-generation of security linacs will likely operate with shorter pulses and higher repetition rates to improve material discrimination, single photon counting or to enable backscattering of X-rays.

Cockcroft also has an existing linac test facility suitable for collaboration with Rapiscan on a novel linac and detector development. The student will also help commission and operate this facility, as well as performing characterization of the beam to aid future experiments.

The Cockcroft Institute - a collaboration between academia, national laboratories, and industry - brings together the best scientists and engineers to conceive, construct and exploit particle accelerators of all sizes, and to lead the UK’s participation in flagship international facilities.

Funding Notes

We are offering a fully funded 3.5-year PhD studentships (for UK nationals) with a strong industry focus in collaboration with Rapiscan systems as part of the Accelerator for security, healthcare and environment doctoral training centre in collaboration leading industrial partners, including 3-6 months’ work placements. Students will receive additional training in skills relevant for industry to aid employability on completion. Our 50+ PhD students work in a vibrant community spanning fundamental science to practical application.

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