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Future Light Sources

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding
    Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

Project Description

The physics underpinning relativistic free-electron light-sources is an important and exciting area of research which is yielding new light sources like the Free Electron Laser (FEL) that are transforming scientific research [1]. With a peak brightness ten orders of magnitude greater than conventional synchrotron X-ray sources, they have the potential, for the first time, to simultaneously access the structure and dynamics of matter at its natural atomic length and time scales. This will make feasible the ability to observe, and perhaps ultimately to control, ultra-fast, optionally non-linear, atomic and possibly nuclear processes. With the ability to probe correlated electronic processes within atoms at these timescales, to measure how electrons and nuclei reorganise themselves - either individually within atoms due to external stimulus, during molecular bond making and breaking, or while undergoing subtle catalytic or biological processes -we can begin to unravel how all matter functions at this fundamental level.

We have close links to the STFC Daresbury laboratory where the ALICE FEL is currently operating using the only energy recovery LINAC in Europe. Several other large-scale facilities are currently under design and construction internationally. These include the European XFEL project at DESY in Germany [2], LCLS at Stanford (SLAC) in the USA [3], SCSS in Japan [4] and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland [5]. The larger x-ray facilities, such as XFEL at DESY, cost up to ~€1b to construct. Strathclyde has close links with the UK CLARA facility which will investigate methods for the next generation of FELs that will offer increased brightness and shorter pulses to users [6]. We also collaborate with partners at DESY and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.

You would be involved in the theory and modelling of such sources - highly non-linear pulse propagation, ultra-short pulse generation, harmonic generation, full 3-D simulation, FEL seeding options and start-to-end simulations and will contribute to the research in the development of these exciting new light sources. Clearly, you will need good analytical and computational skills, and would need to be willing to travel occasionally to work with our collaborators and attend conferences.
At the end of your study, you will have a degree and the contacts that should enable you to obtain employment at a host of new international projects and facilities.


[1] Brian W.J. McNeil and Neil R. Thompson, Nature Photonics, 4, 814, 2010
[2] http://xfel.desy.de/
[3] http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/lcls/
[4] http://xfel.riken.jp/eng/
[5] http://www.psi.ch/swissfel/
[6] http://www.stfc.ac.uk/ASTeC/38749.aspx

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 27.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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