Re-creating the physics of astrophysical jets in laboratory experiments

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Physics

Abstract

The research outlined in this proposal lies at the border between Plasma Physics and Astrophysics and for the first time addresses experimentally the outstanding issue of how collapsing nebulae are able to launch highly collimated beams of matter. This area has been studied through observations and by numerical simulations for many years but it is our belief that well characterised quantitative experiments will play a decisive role in resolving a number of outstanding scientific issues. The proposed research will strongly advance the development of the novel research area of Laboratory Astrophysics, which seeks to enhance the understanding of the physics governing the behaviour of astrophysical objects via scaled laboratory experiments, combined with computer modelling. This proposal outlines an in-depth programme of research in this rapidly emerging area and focuses on the study of magnetized supersonic plasma jets. These jets will be formed in our MAGPIE plasma facility at Imperial College and will be studied using a variety of diagnostics including the use of intense proton beam imaging where the protons are formed using a short-pulse laser-produced plasma source adjacent to the jet. The use of proton beams as a diagnostic will allow us, for the first time, to diagnose the magnetic field structure within the jets. The understanding of the complex plasma processes involved in the formation and evolution of these jets involving high magnetic fields will, through our large-scale computational models, be transferred to plasma jets which form in a variety of astrophysical situations. Indeed plasma jets are observed in many astrophysical contexts and it is widely believed that magnetic fields play a crucial part in their structure and evolution. Moreover, it was recently suggested that magnetically driven jets play important role in gamma ray bursts and supernova explosions. This proposal will enable a decisive breakthrough in Laboratory Astrophysics, achieved by combining the three key ingredients which are now in place: a) a unique experimental approach allowing for the first time the creation of high Mach number (M>20) magnetically driven plasma jets with magnetic field topology relevant to astrophysical jet models; b) recent developments in laser technology and in plasma diagnostics to provide means for accurate diagnosis of the plasma parameters; c) 3-D MHD simulation codes developed by the laboratory plasma and astrophysics communities that are now mature enough to provide a strong connection between experiment, astrophysical models and observations. The timeliness of this proposal is also underlined by the growing interest in this field internationally with major efforts in USA (Rochester, Livermore, Cornell, San Diego, Reno). The combined expertise of the authors of this proposal and the involvement of international collaborators from Astrophysics community will allow us to create an unprecedented capability for the Laboratory Astrophysics research and provide both breadth and depth to the programme.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This grant allowed us to develop a high-energy multi-beam laser linked to a large Z-pinch. The laser delivers beams for Thomson scattering, x-ray radiography, Faraday rotation and proton probing to study the formation and properties of magnetically driven supersonic plasma jets, reproducing the physics of astrophysical systems. The key goal of this program was to study the formation, propagation and stability of magnetically driven supersonic plasma jets in conditions scalable to astrophysical scenarios. The project has been highly successful and has led to a number of very significant advances in this area. It has also leveraged significant funds at £ Million level both for future laboratory astrophysics experiments (US DOE via Rochester University) and for the further upgrades of the laser system (AWE and Imperial College).

We have found that formation of highly collimated jets can occur via two very different scenarios.

In conditions when the driving magnetic field is strong and the magnetic pressure is comparable to the plasma pressure, the jets produced have significant variations in the density and flow velocity due to the development of MHD instabilities. We have also demonstrated, for the first time, formation of episodic jets, when several subsequent jets are formed, a scenario hinted at in nature in data from the Hubble space telescope. The key condition for a high degree of the outflow collimation is the presence of sufficiently strong radiative cooling of the jet material. We have performed measurements of the energy balance during the formation of magnetically dominated jets, and demonstrated that ~25% of the injected Poyning flux energy is converted into the kinetic energy of the jet.

We have also demonstrated that formation of highly collimated jets can occur in conditions when the magnetic field is smaller and distributed over the formation region. In this case the MHD instabilities do not disrupt jet formation, the jet is laminar and has a small opening angle of ~2-5 degrees. Key jet parameters including flow velocity and temperature were measured with high temporal and spatial resolution at multiple points simultaneously using Thomson scattering. These measurements show that collimation of the jet formed in this configuration require a lower density halo plasma to support the necessary magnetic field configuration.

We have performed extensive studies of jet interactions with ambient media, modelling the propagation of astrophysical jets. We have observed the formation of bow shocks in the ambient media, the working surface separating the jet and ambient material, and the reverse shock in the jets. We have investigated the dependence of the properties of these shocks on radiative cooling rates by varying the atomic number of the ambient gas (He, Ar, Kr, Xe), and demonstrated that for strong radiative cooling (Kr, Xe) small scale instabilities rapidly develop on the working surface and in the reverse shock. In related work we have used laser heated cluster gases to investigate radiative loss and cooling instabilities.

We have developed improved numerical tools and performed computer simulations of experiments using the advanced MHD code GORGON and astrophysics code ASTROBEAR. The well benchmarked ASTROBEAR code was then used to simulate several scenarios of astrophysical jets formation, providing predictions for future observations.
Exploitation Route Results of the experiments provide quantitative information which is already used for verification of computer codes used in both astrophysics and in laboratory plasma physics research.
Investigations of the collimation and stability of the magnetically dominated plasma jets in laboratory suggest that episodic generation of jets could be a key element in generation of astrophysical jets, and this finding is being contrasting with the astrophysical theories and simulations.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Other

 
Description The experimental work carried out during and after this award at Imperial College has been used to benchmark and stress-test advanced 3-dimensional numerical simulations of high energy density plasmas. The ability to model matter accurately under extreme conditions of pressure, temperature and radiation flux is extremely challenging. The degree of confidence in simulation accuracy gained by testing computational tools such as Imperial College's GORGON code enables it to be applied to other important problems. It has for example been used to investigate the performance of fusion ignition experiments conducted in the US on the ~$3.6 billion National Ignition Facility (NIF) and on the Sandia Z pulsed power machine, two of the world's largest and most complex experimental platforms. This acts to link scientific programmes of strategic importance between the UK and the US. The ability to conduct advanced high energy density experiments and to train young research scientists to the very highest level provides a mechanism to link UK science to major international efforts, e.g. the search for fusion energy underpinned by investment at the £ multi-billion NIF in the US and Laser Magajoule in France.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Review of AWE Orion laser operations.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact An international review of operations at the AWE Orion laser facility provided a series of recommendations on improving shot rate and data integrity.
 
Description A First Investigation Of Ultra-High Intensity Laser Interactions With Levitated Micro-Targets (5 weeks Vulcan PW laser access)
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID HPL REF No: 15210009 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory 
Department Central Laser Facility
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 05/2016
 
Description A Multi-Joule OPCPA Front End Demonstrator (AWE Aldermaston technical capability award)
Amount £27,496 (GBP)
Funding ID 30399627/0 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description AWE Adermaston, commercial contract (A path matched 263nm interferometer system for use on the Orion laser)
Amount £22,000 (GBP)
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description AWE Aldermaston, commercial contract (Provision of Interferometric image testing of UV Wollaston prisms for Orion diagnostic systems)
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 30328665/3 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description AWE Aldermaston, commercial contract (Provision of Sub-ps white light continuum spatial-spectral-temporal calibration of an S20 photocathode streak camera)
Amount £24,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 30328669/0 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 01/2015
 
Description AWE Aldermaston, commercial contract (provision of Sub-ps super-continuum spatial-temporal calibration of an S1 photocathode optical streak camera)
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 30329315/0 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 03/2015
 
Description Cerberus Vacuum Compressor (In collaboration with the John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science)
Amount £84,715 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/P005861/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2019
 
Description Donation of large scale laser components from AWE Aldermaston.
Amount £14,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2010 
End 02/2010
 
Description EPSRC KTS Award "Modelling and characterising of Orion and next generation OPCPA laser systems at AWE Aldermaston
Amount £16,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K503733/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 08/2016
 
Description EPSRC Kick-start funding for new research activities
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2012 
End 09/2013
 
Description EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Secondment (S Patankar No. 1)
Amount £46,386 (GBP)
Funding ID RSRO_P43480 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2013 
End 07/2014
 
Description EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Secondment (S Patankar, No. 2)
Amount £49,000 (GBP)
Funding ID RSRO_P43480 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2014 
End 03/2015
 
Description EPSRC Standard research grant
Amount £748,952 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N013379/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2016 
End 07/2019
 
Description Facility Access to the Gemini Laser System at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2012
 
Description First Light Fusion, Collaborative research agreement.
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation First Light Fusion Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 10/2021
 
Description Imperial College, Laboratory refurbishment
Amount £960,000 (GBP)
Organisation Imperial College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2012
 
Description KTS Award, Sam Giltrap to Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, "Optical EMP characterisation and low EMP optically levitated targets for the UK's National Facility laser systems".
Amount £52,055 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 08/2018
 
Description Laser Driven Shock Capability
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Imperial College London 
Department Institute of Shock Physics
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 10/2013
 
Description MURI - MIR "Fundamental Strong-Field Interactions with Ultrafast, Mid-Infrared Lasers" (US AFOR / UK DSTL / EPSRC Funding)
Amount £2,050,049 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N018680/1 (DSTL funding via EPSRC) 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2015 
End 11/2018
 
Description PhD Studentship Industrial CASE Award
Amount £43,000 (GBP)
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 03/2018
 
Description Pulse Shaping Development on the Cerberus Laser for Ramp Compression Studies (AWE Aldermaston technical capability award)
Amount £23,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 30397305/0 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description Royal Society Wolfson Laboratory Refurbishment Award
Amount £186,200 (GBP)
Funding ID WL120036 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Towards a compact proton irradiator for in-vitro radiobiological studies (Pi Dr Piero Posocco)
Amount £62,430 (GBP)
Funding ID P51407 
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Department NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2014 
End 03/2015
 
Description iCASE PhD Studentship, "Advanced x-ray sources for next-generation material science experiments", Sam Eardley, EPSRC EP/N509206/1
Amount £109,500 (GBP)
Funding ID EPSRC EP/N509206/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 03/2020
 
Description sub-contractor on US DOE grant led by University of Rochester
Amount $697,074 (USD)
Organisation U.S. Department of Energy 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 08/2012 
End 08/2015
 
Title A supercontinuum source based on self-phase modulation in an aqueous K2ZnCl4 salt solution 
Description We developed a new ultra-broad band picosecond light source operating in single shot mode and spanning from the near IR to UV. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We used this light source to absolutely calibrate three high value (~£250,000) streak cameras for AWE Aldermaston who were then able to deploy them in a series of national and international experimental campaigns. Publications describing this work and its impact are currently under review. 
 
Title An Ultrafast self-healing passive optical limiter 
Description We developed a new method for fast shuttering of few picosecond optical pulses that can be used to protect instruments used to characterise high intensity laser systems. Our new design is ~1000x more effective than current implementations. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact IP ownership issues are currently being considered by AWE / MoD before moving to a patent submission. 
 
Title X-TOAD High dynamic range autocorrelator. 
Description We developed a new method for accuratly measuring the temporal contrast of short laser pulses over 11 orders of magnitude using a third order autocorrelator. A new design incorporating an additional pulse cleaning stage was used to eliminate unwated instrument artifiacts seen in commercial systems. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We were able to identify subtle but potentially problematic laser pre-pulses at the AWE Orion and RAL Vulcan laser systems. As a result of this work both RAL and AWE made improvements to their laser systems to the wider benefit of the UK research community. The work may have some commercial value and AWE / MoD are currently considering IP ownership issues before we move to a patent bid. 
 
Description AWE Aldermaston - Orion Laser 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have developed new techniques for characterising the contrast of high-intensity laser pulses, amplification of high-bandwidth sub picosecond light pulses using optical parametric techniques, and modelling of Optical parametric Chirped Pulse Amplification (OPCPA). These directly inform the development and enhancement of short pulse laser capabilities on the AWE Orion laser.
Collaborator Contribution Co-funding of CASE PhD studentships including equipment and consumables budgets. Loan of high-value equipment. Donation of high value laser equipment to our research group.
Impact Implementation of a few-picosecond OPCPA amplifier on the Orion laser system in order to enhance the contrast of its petawatt class beam lines.
Start Year 2012
 
Description AWE Aldermaston - Plasma Physics Division 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have been able to provide access to laser capabilities and expertise in plasma diagnostics in order to develop, test and deploy new tools on the £200M Orion laser system. These have supported both AWE programmatic work and experiments by the wider UK academic community as part of competitive academic access to Orion.
Collaborator Contribution Access to expertise and its transfer directly to AWE via several EPSRC funded KTS secondments. Testing of Orion laser diagnostic systems and sub-assemblies to ensure successful operation in the uniquely challenging environment of the Orion laser area.
Impact A two channel VISAR (velocity interferometer system for any reflector) diagnostic was developed and modified over summer 2013 and commissioned in the final week of September 2013. A key new capability which was demonstrated over the course of the KTS was the ability to measure high energy density material velocities from orthogonal lines-of sight. Since commissioning, the VISAR system has emerged as a work-horse diagnostic on Orion and was central to the success of a number of experimental campaigns: • A campaign to study broadband x-ray diffraction from shocked crystals where VISAR was used to discern shock drive uniformity and strength. (PI - Prof. John Foster, AWE Internal Experiment). • Experiments to study ramp (isentropic) compression of diamond where VISAR was a primary diagnostic used to study the surface motion. (PI - Steve Rothman, AWE Internal Experiment) • A campaign studying material properties at multi-megabar pressures. (PI - Dr. Andy Higginbotham, Competitive Academic Access). • The VISAR diagnostic infrastructure was also adapted for Laboratory Astrophysics experiments, enabling streaked optical self-emission measurements and 2D gated imaging to investigate the formation of a reverse shock from a high velocity flow colliding with a foam target inside a tube. The data obtained made this academic access campaign on Orion a success and has been presented at major international conferences in the field. (PI - Prof. Gianluca Gregori, Competitive Academic Access). The overall cost of the laser time utilised by these experimental campaigns is in excess of £1M, highlighting the value delivered by the KTS secondment through skills transfer that directly aided the campeigns outlined above. Conference Abstracts for work enabled by the KTS. • Laboratory Investigation of Accretion Shocks at the Orion Laser Facility (HEDLA 2014, Bordeaux May 11-16). Joseph Cross and John Foster, Clotilde Busschaert , Nicolas Charpentier, Colin Danson, Hugo Doyle, R. P. Drake, Emeric Falize, Jim Fyrth, Peter Graham, Ed Gumbrell, Michel Koenig, Carolyn Kuranz, Berenice Loupias, Claire Michaut, Siddharth Patankar, Jonathan Skidmore, Christopher Spindloe, Eleanor Tubman, Nigel Woolsey, Roman Yurchak, GianlucaGregori. • Laboratory Investigation of Accretion Shocks at the Orion Laser Facility. (Submitted to APS DPP New Orleans Oct 2014) J. E. Cross, J. M. Foster, C. Busschaert, N. Charpentier, C. N. Danson, H. W. Doyle, R. P. Drake, É. Falize, J. Fyrth, P. Graham, E. Gumbrell, M. Koenig, C. C. Kuranz, B. Loupias, C. Michaut, S. Patankar, J. Skidmore, C. Spindloe, E. R. Tubman, N. C. Woolsey, R. Yurchak, G. Gregori. Notably, for the successful commissioning and subsequent experimental applications, the work of the optical diagnostics team, of which Dr Patankar was a key member, was formally recognised by an AWE internal award.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Development of high contrast OPCPA laser systems. 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution A new collaboration was formed with AWE Aldermaston to jointly develop new techniques for amplifying and characterising high contrast sub-picosecond laser pulses. An MSc research followed by an joint supervised EPSRC Industrial CASE PhD studentship has been used to drive this work forwards. Very high contrast laser pulses are a key requirement for conducting successful high intensity laser matter interaction experiments. A new collaboration was formed with AWE Aldermaston to jointly develop new techniques for amplifying and characterising high contrast sub-picosecond laser pulses particularly relevant to the new £180M Orion laser system at AWE. An MSc research project followed by a joint supervised EPSRC Industrial CASE PhD studentship has been used to drive this work forwards.
Start Year 2012
 
Description First Light Fusion 
Organisation First Light Fusion Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We run a number of joint PhD projects either fully funded or co-funded by First Light Fusion, investigating the production and interrogation of high energy density plasmas created in ultra-high velocity impacts. We provide access to state of the art plasma and shocked material diagnostics, including collaborative experiments on advanced x-ray and laser light sources. We provide access to advanced laser and pulsed power systems and expertise.
Collaborator Contribution ~£200k PA for 5 years to run a portfolio of PhD studentships and related research activities. Collaborative experiments including access to high velocity impact systems.
Impact Multi disciplinary
Start Year 2016
 
Description JetPAC collaboration 
Organisation Rice University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration of plasma physics and astrophysics groups for studies of astrophysical jets
Start Year 2008
 
Description JetPAC collaboration 
Organisation University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration of plasma physics and astrophysics groups for studies of astrophysical jets
Start Year 2008
 
Description JetPAC collaboration 
Organisation University of Rochester
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration of plasma physics and astrophysics groups for studies of astrophysical jets
Start Year 2008
 
Description JetPAC collaboration 
Organisation École normale supérieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon)
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration of plasma physics and astrophysics groups for studies of astrophysical jets
Start Year 2008
 
Description Laser driven shock experiments and extreme materials science. 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Institute of Shock Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A new collaboration between Prof Roland Smith (Imperial Quantum Optics / Plasma Physics) and Dr Dan Eakins (Institute for Shock Physics) was formed to capitalise on the capabilities of the high energy Cerberus laser system to drive and probe strong shocks and to create and study materials science under extremes of temperature and density. The collaboration has been successful in attracting multiple grants to build up a new laser driven shock experimental capability at Imperial College.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Modelling of OPCPA laser systems (Imperial College, AWE Aldermaston, RAL). 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution A new three way collaboration between Imperial College, AWE Aldermaston and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory was formed to compare, benchmark and develop computer models of Optical Parametric Chirped Pulse Amplification (OPCPA) laser systems. OPCPA laser development formed a core part of the EPSRC project and our ability to benchmark and test computer simulations against both code results and laboratory measurements will help all three organisations.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Modelling of OPCPA laser systems (Imperial College, AWE Aldermaston, RAL). 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A new three way collaboration between Imperial College, AWE Aldermaston and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory was formed to compare, benchmark and develop computer models of Optical Parametric Chirped Pulse Amplification (OPCPA) laser systems. OPCPA laser development formed a core part of the EPSRC project and our ability to benchmark and test computer simulations against both code results and laboratory measurements will help all three organisations.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Modelling of the radiative properties of hot, ionised gases. 
Organisation University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have begun a collaboration with Prof R Rodriguez and his team from the University of Las Palmas Gran Canaria to investigate the radiative and dynamic properties of hot, highly ionised gases. Prof Rodriguez' team have developed a new computer simulation in order to determine the radiation loss from hot, high atomic number materials and we are collaborating on both benchmarking this code against our experimental data, and in using code results to design experiments to simulate astrophysical processes in the laboratory.
Start Year 2011
 
Title High Contrast Optical Parametric Amplifier System 
Description As part of the development of the Cerberus laser we designed and built a new high contrast optical parametric amplifier system. This device can amplify few nJ sub picosecond light pulses by a factor of over 10E6 with this very high gain confined to an extremely limited (3ps) time window in order to avoid the creation of pre or post pulses. This a key requirement for experiments in areas such as laser driven particle acceleration. Its development has resulted in new collaborations on numerical modelling with RAL and AWE Aldermaston and acted as a basis for a new project (currently supported by a CASE studentship) to create and test new high contrast laser amplification techniques for the ~£180M Orion laser system based at AWE Aldermaston. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact Development of new high contrast laser amplification techniques for high energy laser systems 
 
Title Laboratory for Extreme Physical Processes 
Description As a result of the development of the Cerberus laser system we were able to leverage an additional £960k from Imperial College in order to refurbish a major laboratory area (Blackett 027) and link this to the laser system via a large beam pipes and aperture cut between buildings. We now have the infrastructure in place to deliver high-energy and high-intensity laser light from Cerberus to a range of experimental areas housing multi-megamp pulsed power experiments. We have also created a new laser laboratory in which an upgraded amplifier system able to reach the 1 petawatt level can be situated when future funding allows. The creation of this suite of linked laser areas will enable us to bid for major new projects, for example a new ~£2.5M ERC grant is currently submitted. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact New laboratory space is being now used for research on behaviour of materials at extreme pressures. 
 
Title Particle tracking algorithms for proton probing. 
Description As part of the computational modelling of experiments at Imperial College and in order to predict the behaviour of the proton probing diagnostics, models were developed for predicting the trajectories of energetic protons generated by the intense laser sources as they propagate through the complex magnetic field structures of the plasma. These models have subsequently been used to predict the diagnostic images from proton probing of pulsed power experiments carried out in collaboration with other universities such as the University of California ant San Diego and the University of Nevada at Reno. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2009 
Impact applied to interpretation of experimental results at several research teams in UK and USA 
 
Title The Cerberus High-Power Laser System 
Description Over the course of this project we developed the UK's largest University based high-power laser system (Cerberus) utilising funding from EPSRC and Imperial College along with large scale laser amplifiers (value ~ ?3M) donated by AWE Aldermaston. Multiple experimental areas have been redeveloped using Imperial College and Royal Society funding and linked to the laser system. It is able to deliver a range of ns and ps light pulses at energies >10J that can be used to create and probe extreme states of matter. It is one of the few such systems in the world linked to a large (2 MegAmp) electrical pulsed power facility in order to undertake laboratory astrophysics experiments. We expect the system to be used continuously and upgraded multiple times to support cutting edge high energy density science for at least the next decade. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact this facility is extensively used for diagnostics of high energy density plasma experiments at the MAGPIE facility and for creating plasmas at extreme state for Institute for Shock Physics at Imperial 
 
Title Wolfson Laboratory for ultra-fast imaging of extreme physical processes. 
Description As a result of the development of the Cerberus laser system we were able to successfully apply to the Royal Society Wolfson Scheme, Imperial College and the Institute for Shock Physics for funds (£186k, £20k and £30k respectively) to develop a new laboratory area directly adjacent to the laser and able to draw on it wide range of capabilities. This laboratory will be used for the creation and ultra-fast imaging of extreme physical processes using high-energy and short-pulse laser beams from Cerberus. The new laboratory space has been linked to the Cerberus laser system via ports cut through wall and is currently being refurbished as a dedicated area for the creation and imaging of extreme states of matter (e.g laser shock compressed materials, laser heated atomic cluster gases). The laboratory will house a dedicated vacuum chamber and supporting equipment donated from RAL and AWE Aldermaston. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact new research lab infrastructure has been developed for research in high energy density science 
 
Description Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2017 - How to Make a Supernova 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Royal Society Summer Exhibition - How to Make a Supernova - Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies participated in an exhibit. Visited by several thousands members of general public over one week.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2017/summer-science-exhibition/exhibits/how-to-...
 
Description Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Preparation and manning of a stand at the Royal Society one week long Summer Science exhibition, showcasing the best of British science. Them "Set the controls for the heart of the sun". Presentations, talks and demonstrations for several thousand visitors ranging from groups of school children through to journalists and Fellows of the Royal Society




Improved public understanding of the case for Fusion Energy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://sse.royalsociety.org/2014/heart-of-the-sun/