Table-top femtosecond X-ray dynamical imaging
The Plasma Accelerators and Ultrafast X-rays group in the department of physics at the University of Oxford is currently seeking applicants for a D.Phil position in the area of dynamical imaging with X-rays.
The project involves the generation of high-order harmonics of ultrafast visible laser pulses, and the application of this radiation to coherent diffraction imaging (CDI). High-harmonic generation (HHG) is a fascinating process in which an intense, femtosecond-duration laser pulse strongly drives the valance electrons of an atom to induce a highly nonlinear polarization; these oscillating dipoles radiate the odd harmonics of the driving field to generate a coherent beam of harmonics extending from the visible into the soft X-ray region.
CDI is a new method for "lensless imaging,” which is invaluable in spectral regions (such as the X-ray region) in which conventional optics are not available. In essence, CDI works by recording the diffraction pattern of a sample, and inverting this using fast phase-retrieval algorithms to deduce the original scattering structure.
We are interested in: (i) developing more efficient HHG sources, with improved properties, by using optical parametric amplifiers (OPAs) to optimize the wavelength of the driving laser; (ii) using the HHG beams for element-specific X-ray imaging of microscopic objects.
Applicants must hold, or expect to hold, a UK Bachelor degree in Physics at first or upper second class and a UK Master’s degree in Physics, or equivalent non-UK qualifications.
Graduate students joining this project may be eligible for a studentship funded by a departmental Doctoral Training Account.
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