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Theoretical and numerical studies of extreme high intensity laser-plasma interaction and applications

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

You might be a potential candidate if you are interested in using high performance computing to solve key physical problems found in high intensity laser-matter interactions and their applications, particularly in advanced particle accelerators and radiation sources (from THz to X-rays). PhD scholarships for UK and EU students are available in the Department of Physics at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK), under the supervision of Prof. Z. M. Sheng, to investigate relativistic laser-plasma based particle accelerators and coherent X-ray radiation by theory and numerical simulation.

With the development of ultrashort high power laser technologies, nowadays one is able to obtain laser pulses with peak power over 1PW (1PW=10^15 W) with a pulse duration less than 30fs (1fs=1/10^15 s) commercially. The future high power laser facilities ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure, http://www.eli-laser.eu/index.html), to be completed around 2017, will be capable of delivering laser pulses even over 10PW, pushing the laser-matter interactions to a new front. Great prospects for science and applications from such interactions have been anticipated. One of the important applications is that a new generation of accelerators may be realised, which enables one to produce energetic particle beams and radiation sources in a very compact size, suitable for wide applications. Meanwhile, they will be produced uniquely with ultrashort duration and high peak brightness, which can be used as a powerful tool for detecting various ultrafast dynamics in different systems.

The Intense Laser Interaction Studies (SILIS) Group at Strathclyde has devoted to the studies of relativistic laser-plasma interaction and its applications in advanced particle accelerators and high energy density physics for over decades. It has been funded by the EPSRC through the ALPHA-X project and CDT grants. The ALPHA-X project has recently led to the formation of a new centre SCAPA supported by the University of Strathclyde and other participating universities through SUPA and the SFC (Scottish Funding Council). The new laser facilities of SCAPA will be capable of delivering 200‐300TW with multiple beam lines to enable a variety of particle and photon sources to be utilised in a number of applications ranging from pure academic research to medical applications. The SILIS group is a collaboration partner of the ELI and Laser-Lab Europe (http://www.laserlab-europe.eu).

We are looking for several highly motivated candidates with a strong theoretical or numerical background in the following related areas: plasma physics, nonlinear optics, or conventional accelerator physics. Experience in programming with Fortran, C/C++, Matlab, or IDL would be ideal. A successful candidate will carry out research mainly in the University of Strathclyde. In addition, candidates may also carry out research in DESY (http://www.desy.de/) under the supervision of a leading scientist in DESY and Prof. Sheng with a scholarship funded by an ERC grant.

For further information on the PhD project contact Prof. Zheng-Ming Sheng (). For information about PhD study in the Physics Department at the University of Strathclyde, and for an online application form go to http://phys.strath.ac.uk/postgraduate/

Funding Notes

Exceptionally excellent students from non-EU students with a Master degree may be considered, who will then be carrying out PhD thesis work mainly based in DESY and have a degree in a German University.


[1] F. Y. Li et al., “Dense attosecond electron sheets from laser wakefields using an up-ramp density transition”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 135002 (2013).
[2] T.-P. Yu et al., “Bright betatronlike X-rays from radiation pressure acceleration of a mass-limited foil target”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 045001 (2013).
[3] L. M. Chen et al., “Bright betatron x-ray radiation from a laser-driven-clustering gas target”, Scientific Reports 3, 1912 (2013)
[4] W. C. Yan et al., “Concurrence of monoenergetic electron beams and bright X-rays from an evolving laser-plasma bubble”, PNAS 111 (16), 5825–5830 (2014).
[5] M. Zeng et al., “Self-truncated ionization injection and consequent monoenergetic electron bunches in laser wakefield acceleration”, Phys. Plasmas 21, 030701 (2014).

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)

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