Laser-driven radiation beamlines at SCAPA

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

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We propose to create new capability and capacity for collaborative high power laser-plasma research to underpin the development and application of laser-driven radiation sources, using three new beamlines and experiment stations at the Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators, SCAPA. Each of the beamlines will be configured in a unique way and with a focus on a specific category of laser-plasma interactions and secondary sources, to create a complementary suite of dedicated beamlines. This approach is required to enable the development and optimisation of laser-plasma sources from the realms of scientific investigation to real-world applications. It enables long-term investment in the optimisation and stabilisation of the beams and largely eliminates downtime for rebuilding experiments, thus enabling efficient and effective use of high power laser beam time.

The equipment will support an extensive research portfolio in laser-plasma physics and multidisciplinary applications, with an emphasis on radiation sources and healthcare applications. The unique properties of laser-driven radiation sources make them attractive both as tools for science (e.g. femtosecond X-ray sources for probing the structure of matter) and for applications in a variety of sectors including: healthcare (e.g. imaging and radiotherapy); industry (e.g. penetrative probing and assay) and energy (e.g. testing the integrity of stored nuclear waste). The strategic development of this field requires a balanced programme of dedicated university-scale and leading-edge national laser facilities. The proposed beamlines will complement existing and planned expansion of national facilities at the Central Laser Facility, providing new capability and capacity to enable UK research groups to remain at the forefront of this research area and help promote international collaboration.

The research will be performed collaboratively with groups from across the UK and sustained mainly through collaborative research grants. The new suite of beamlines will promote exchanges between academia and industry, and enable engagement of the UK research community with large international projects, such as the Extreme Light Infrastructure, ELI. It will also provide a unique interdisciplinary training platform for researchers.
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Planned Impact

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The development and exploitation of laser-driven radiation sources, as facilitated by the proposed beamlines investment, will have far-reaching impact at multiple levels of society and over different timescales. This includes academia, industry, commerce and the general public.

These sources are in effect an enabling technology due to the unique properties (extreme brightness and ultrashort pulse duration) of the resulting radiation. They are opening up the exploration of new approaches to radiation biology (e.g. ultrahigh dose irradiation) and to medical imaging (e.g. high resolution 3D tomography of bone structure). The beamlines will be used to investigate the science underpinning the development of these unique radiation sources and will facilitate demonstration experiments that bridge the disciplinary gap between plasma physics and health sciences. This will enable fundamental new understanding of cell response to ultrahigh doses of radiation, for example. Multiple types of radiation beams (electrons, positrons, ions, X-rays and neutrons) can all be produced using the same laser driver. This enables multiple radiation types to be used for investigations of mixed modality irradiation. The proposed equipment will enable studies to be performed in which the effects of different types of radiation on cells are compared. This will promote fundamental understanding of how cells respond and recover from irradiation.

The penetrating nature of the high energy radiation, coupled with the possibility to produced synchronised pulses of different types of radiation will open up new types of investigation in materials science, and in particular in the damage and recovery of material structure on ultrafast timescales. Studies of this type have an impact on the choice of materials used in harsh environments (e.g. reactor wall materials). The proposed beamlines will thus help address important challenges in industry and society.

The commercial beneficiaries include companies who are interested in developing aspects of laser-plasma physics and applications. There is significant new IPR to be captured based on new laser-driven approaches to applications in science, medicine and industry, and the investigators are working directly with companies such as Xstrahl, PXI-Precision X-ray and RadiaBeam Technologies. The investigators have direct experience of patenting new IPR and in commercialising spin out aspects such as data acquisition and analysis software. They will continue to develop their engagement with UK companies throughout the project to maximise the potential commercial impact of the new equipment.

In the longer term, the availability of more compact and lower cost sources of high energy particles and radiation has huge potential for impact on society and commerce. Particle and radiation sources are widely used tools by scientists, industrialists and the medical profession. The development of more compact sources can be the basis for future wealth creation, on one hand by opening up a new applications with direct impact on society, and on the other by allowing enhanced and cost-effective operation in current applications.

The development of sources with unique properties has the potential to create new opportunities for engagement with industry and academia more widely, through new applications. By generating new knowledge in how to apply these radiation sources with unique properties, new industrial applications will be realised.
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Publications

10 25 50
 
Description ANRC Technical Committee Nuclear Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact ANRC Technical Committee Nuclear Showcase
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Cavendish Nuclear collaboration discussions 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Cavendish Nuclear collaboration discussions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Department of Physics Advanced Higher Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Department of Physics Advanced Higher Day
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Department of Physics Open Evening 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Department of Physics Open Evening
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Department of Physics Open Evening 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Department of Physics Open Evening
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description GCRF Space Radiation Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact GCRF Space Radiation Workshop
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Talk / Lecture at the Culham Plasma Physics Summer School 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Invited Talk / Lecture at the Culham Plasma Physics Summer School 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Talk / Tutorial at the 2nd International Conference on Nuclear Photonics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Talk / Tutorial at the 2nd International Conference on Nuclear Photonics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Talk at the 35th European Conference on Laser Interaction with Matter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Talk at the 35th European Conference on Laser Interaction with Matter
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Talk at the 3rd International Conference on High Power Laser Science and Engineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Talk at the 3rd International Conference on High Power Laser Science and Engineering
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Talk at the GSI PHELIX 10th Anniversary Workshop on Laser-Plasma Physics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Talk at the GSI PHELIX 10th Anniversary Workshop on Laser-Plasma Physics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Talk at the Institute of Physics Nuclear Physics Conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Talk at the Institute of Physics Nuclear Physics Conference 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.uws.ac.uk/events/2018/april/institute-of-physics-nuclear-physics-conference/
 
Description Invited Talk at the International Conference on Laser-Optics 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Talk at the International Conference on Laser-Optics 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Leadership of the SCAPA beamlines EPSRC Strategic Equipment grant 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Leadership of the SCAPA beamlines EPSRC Strategic Equipment grant
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Lockheed Martin lab tour 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Lockheed Martin lab tour
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description QinetiQ lab tour 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact QinetiQ lab tour
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description SCAPA Management Executive Committee Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SCAPA Management Executive Committee Meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description SCAPA Management Executive Committee Meeting (Event) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact SCAPA Management Executive Committee Meeting (Event)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description SCAPA lab tours for school pupils 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact SCAPA lab tours for school pupils
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description SUPA Annual Gathering 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact May 2017 SUPA Annual Gathering
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017