Nanorad - Ultrafast, nano-scale material response to radiation and applications of ultrafast radiation sources.

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Mathematics and Physics

Abstract

The Centre for Plasma Physics is internationally leading in the exploitation of intense lasers and laser driven ultrafast radiation sources. This platform grant will allow strategic exploitation of the developments seeded in the previous, highly successful platform grant.
In particular, the advent of ultrafast laser driven radiation sources ranging from x-rays to particle beams allows the dynamics of the natural world at the shortest timescales and spatially on the nanoscale to be investigated. This is the core theme of this platform grant, which follows on from the success in these areas achieved during the first platform grant. Emerging from this is the development of the worlds most powerful few-cycle (<10fs) laser - the TARANIS-X project. These high-energy, extremely short pulses are a key extension to the TARANIS facility at QUB and will enable cutting edge science.
The over-arching strategic goal of this proposal is to fully exploit the new pathways that have been enabled by laser driven radiation sources and to maximize the scientific impact of the recently funded TARANIS-X project (EPSRC Experimental Equipment Call) by fully exploiting the synergies available through close integration of academic staff under the auspices of the proposed NanoRad Platform Grant.

Planned Impact

Impact in Outreach:
Our highly successful outreach programme developed around a collaboration with the Ulster Museum and integrated into the newly developed Northern Ireland Science Festival (now in it's second year) will be continued and extended as part of the Platform Grant. We have demonstrated the ability to reach very substantial numbers of the general public (10,000 in Y1, 18,000 in Y2) and intend to build on this by developing further displays to engage the public and school age children in particular with science.

Impact in Healthcare:
The research programme and approach we will implement as part of NanoRad were selected from the outset with delivery of impact in mind. Interactions of radiation and water (particularly the ones being studied in this proposal) are key to all radiotherapy interventions and hence to our understanding of them. The interaction of radiation with aqueous environments, and Gold nanoparticles in particular, are of increasing interest in nanomedicine and we need to properly understand their interaction with radiation in aqueous environments.
Impact in this area will be driven forward by the newly formed Centre for Applied and Interdisciplinary Radiation Research (CAIRR) at QUB, which provides for an integrated environment in which scientists with background ranging from Physics over Pharmacy to clinical trials Developments and new discoveries made in the realm of the physics foundations of radiation therapy therefore a have a direct pathway to obtain relevance in the most rapid possible fashion.
For example the Centre for Plasma Physics already has strong interactions with industry in this sector. We have developed an active partnership, and obtained funding from, with one of the world's leading radiation nanomedicine companies and the first to have a radiation nanomedicine in clinical trials. In order to illustrate the value of our improved physics models to both this sector and the clinical sector, we will develop a number of illustrative exemplars within the framework of this platform grant, most notably the effect of proton damage in water on the nanoscale. These exemplars will draw on the new physics models created, specifically illustrating the extra precision and the benefits of the quantification of uncertainty built in to the models

Impact in Industry:
From finance to healthcare, communication, leisure and travel, the storage and processing of data underpins all aspects of modern life. One of the strands of NanoRad will be to examine Ultra-fast Ferroelectric Switching. While ferromagnetic materials are still used for the vast majority of data storage, ferroelectrics have been progressively developed as a non-volatile memory alternative. Ferroelectric switching is extremely energy-efficient and ferroelectric capacitors are more readily embedded into electronics than their magnetic counterparts. Our collaborators in the Centre for Nanostructured Media are strongly connected to industry (for example via the SEAGATE funded ANSIN research centre at QUB. Thus advances are readily available to industry and tensioned against real world constraints
The platform grant (PG) will provide a valuable resource for the development and training of young researchers (YRs) in the field of high intensity laser-plasma interaction physics. In addition to the specialist skills and knowledge pertaining to lasers and plasmas, students and staff working on the programme will gain experience in problem solving, team-working, high level IT skills, data analysis, project planning, communication etc - all desirable and transferable to diverse career pathways. Past PhD and PDRA personnel from our group have contributed their expertise in a range of areas including industry, academia, government laboratories, teaching and finance.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The award provides the basis for our outreach acitivities. These have high visiblitity within the NI science festival and take place at the ulster museum reaching thousands of members of the public
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal

 
Description EPSRC Physical Sciences - October 2016 Responsive Mode
Amount £869,344 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P016960/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2021
 
Description CEA Saclay collaboration 
Organisation Saclay Nuclear Research Centre
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution WE performed and designed experiments on both the Gemini laser system at RAL and the ultrafast laser system at CEA Saclay
Collaborator Contribution Provide staff and expertise for experiments and dedicated access to a world class laser facility
Impact 3 papers ( 1 PRL, 1 Nature Communications, I New Journal of Phyiscs) Invitations to further experiments
Start Year 2010
 
Description DESY: novel plasma accelerators 
Organisation Deutsches Electronen-Synchrotron (DESY)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Currently collaborating on joint experiments (some published) and within the EuPRAXIA consortium for the next-generation of compact particle accelerators
Collaborator Contribution Collaborative experiments
Impact publications and on-going preparation of european large-scale funding proposals
Start Year 2017
 
Description Helmholtz institute Jena 
Organisation Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution WE attended and designed new experiments on the Jeti laser in Jena
Collaborator Contribution Access to world class laser facilities, plasma mirror setup and cutting edge diagnostic suite
Impact > 6 published articles (PRL, 3 invited talks at international conferences
Start Year 2010
 
Description Jena: collaborative QED experiments 
Organisation Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution collaborative experiments in strong-field QED and award of a multi-million grant for experimental campaigns at SLAC
Collaborator Contribution collaborative experiments in strong-field QED and award of a multi-million grant for experimental campaigns at SLAC
Impact joint publications in strong-field QED and award of a multi-million grant for experimental campaigns at SLAC
Start Year 2016
 
Description Partrnership with CALA in Munich 
Organisation Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU Munich)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise in ultrafast laser ion interactions with matter
Collaborator Contribution Access to cutting edge laser facilities
Impact Not applicable yet - early stage of collaboration
Start Year 2016
 
Description Princeton: experiments at SLAC 
Organisation Princeton University
Department Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution award of a multi-million grant for collaborative experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator
Collaborator Contribution award of a multi-million grant for collaborative experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator
Impact award of a multi-million grant for collaborative experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator
Start Year 2018
 
Description Proton Acceleration and Rad. Interaciton 
Organisation Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Department GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We bring expertise in the field of laser acceleration and interactions matching and complementing those at Jena?GSI
Collaborator Contribution Expertise in Laser interactions, Facilities, Equipment
Impact Numerous joint papers
Start Year 2012
 
Description Stanford: experiments at SLAC FACET-II 
Organisation Stanford University
Department SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution award of a multi-million grant for collaborative experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator
Collaborator Contribution award of a multi-million grant for collaborative experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator
Impact award of a multi-million grant for collaborative experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator
Start Year 2018
 
Description Strathclyde university: collaborative experiments 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Department Faculty of Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaborative experiments and publications
Collaborator Contribution Joint publications
Impact Joint publications and preparation of multi-million european grant within the EuPRAXIA consortium
Start Year 2016
 
Description TEI Crete collaboration 
Organisation Technological Educational Institute of Crete
Country Greece 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Travelled and performed experiments at the ultrafast laser system in Rethymno, Crete
Collaborator Contribution They provided access to their laser system at not cost and full time experimental support
Impact 3 publications, 1 PRL, 1 New Journal of Physics and 1 Optics letters Plans and invitations for future experiments
Start Year 2010
 
Description Texas Petawatt, Austin Texas U.S. 
Organisation University of Texas at Austin
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are working on novel diagnostics for studying laser driven electrons and ions
Collaborator Contribution Access has been granted to laser experimental area and target fabrication
Impact As a very new collaboration the outcomes are currently in preparation, but we anticipate
Start Year 2015
 
Description Crete summer school 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Creating awareness to international PhD students about on going work in relativistic laser plasmas and attosecond sources

Experiments planned, international networking, invited talks
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013
 
Description Cross border schools initiative 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact School students interest in scientific discussions

Students planning to visit lab, cross border initiative
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014
 
Description Incredible power of light roadshow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We hosted and provided full time staffing for the Incredible power of light roadshow from the STFC in the Ulster Museum during February and March 2015. Our active participation in this public out reach event saw over 10,000 members of the public and over 1000 pupils from regional (Northern Ireland) schools. We demonstrated the exhibits and informed attendees about how to pursue careers in science, technology engineering and mathematics with particular emphasis on laser and light based technologies. Since this was the first year it was difficult to directly measure impact. However our success saw my group invited to return to present the exhibits again the following year (2016).

Also the impact on regional schools was tangible with over 10 requests from individual school groups to provide year round displays in public forums with dedicated exhibitors such as those provided by my group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Laser lab meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Talk lead to discussion about future directions for Laser-lab Europe

Invitations to perform experiments
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014
 
Description Lasers live demonstration, Northern Ireland Science festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In 2015 the inaugural Northern Ireland Science festival was held. Following our successful collaboration with Ulster museum with the STFCs Incredible Power of Light roadshow we were invited to build and demonstrate a Laser's Live exhibition in the Foyer of the Ulster Museum. This highly visible location saw nearly 11,000 members of the public attend live demonstrations of how light energy can be harnessed over an 9 day period in 2015.

This was so successful the Ulster Museum invited us to return for an extended period in 2016, extending our reach beyond that of the Northern Ireland Science festival for a 12 day residence in the Foyer. This saw > 18,000 attendees to the museum visit our live demonstrations

We performed detailed metrology in 2016 with over 1000 questionnaires completed by school students and members of the public with ages ranging from 3 - >60 years. The results of these questionnaires are currently being processed but the response has been overwhelming.

All numbers for attendance are official numbers of the Ulster Museum.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Lasers live demonstration, Northern Ireland Science festival 
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 Over 20,000 members of the public attended our Lasers live event held in the Ulster museum as part of Northern Ireland Science festival.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Late Lab 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Northern Ireland Science festival we have presented live demonstrations at the Late Lab showcase event of how light can be used to change our world to members of the public. On both occasions over 1000 members of the public attended our stands and interacted with our demonstrators in a 1 -1 basis in an very different setting to what is normal of a scientific setting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFN3JCAgj58
 
Description Northern ireland Science Festival 
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 Over 20,000 members of the public attended our Lasers live event held in the Ulster museum as part of Northern Ireland Science festival.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description UCD Japan Ireland Initiative 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Generate new collaborative links in Japan, investigate novel funding streams

New collaborations forged, invitations to international labs for experiments
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014
 
Description W5 Late 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact New W5 late activity - >1500 members of the public
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018