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PhD in laser-driven acceleration of electron beams

   Cockcroft Institute

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  Prof S Jamison  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A studentship is available from October 2022 for a motivated and inquisitive physicist to undertake experimental and theoretical/numerical investigations of direct-acceleration of charged particle beams with laser beams. The successful student will gain the opportunity to work with and develop understanding of relativistic particle beams, ultrafast lasers and nonlinear optics, and the interaction of EM fields with electron beams in a new regime.

The terahertz acceleration group ( is investigating acceleration of electron beams using ultrashort pulses of terahertz-frequency laser radiation; the terahertz pulses are produced through ultrafast non-linear optical process, while the interaction with particle beams is mediated with structures that control the electromagnetic propagation and polarisation. With recent successes in acceleration of relativistic beams (Nature Photonics cover issue, December 2020) and laser streaking of 100 keV beams, the research will enter in to a new era targeting very high-gradient acceleration for future large-scale facilities, and also for MeV electron diffraction.

The student will undertake theoretical and numerical investigations into a self-consistent ‘beam-loading’ model for the electron-electromagnetic interaction of structure-guided waves. The theory will be applied to the acceleration of both highly relativistic and lower-energy electron beams. The studentship will also undertake the development and experimental investigation of high-gradient THz-driven acceleration in dispersion-designed waveguide-like structures. The experimental research will make use of our ultrafast laser and electron-source facilities at the Cockcroft Institute, and high-energy particle accelerator facilities at Daresbury national laboratory.

The applicant will be expected to have a first or upper second-class degree in physics or other appropriate qualification.

Education in particle accelerator physics or ultrafast lasers in not essential. A full graduate programme of training and development is provided by the Cockcroft Institute. The student will be based primarily at Lancaster University.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Prof Steven Jamison () for more information.

Anticipated Start Date: October 2022 for 3.5 Years

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