The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science

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


The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science (JAI) is a Centre of Excellence in the UK for advanced and novel accelerator technology, providing expertise, research, development and training in accelerator techniques, and promoting advanced accelerator applications in science and society.

The JAI, established in 2004, has become an internationally recognised centre for accelerator science. Its vital role in training the next generation of scientists has clearly boosted the UK's impact in this area, helping to address the problem of the worldwide shortage of accelerator scientists. JAI academics, researchers and students have together developed a strong research programme at the forefront of accelerator science, spanning national and international facilities and projects. The JAI has developed, and is actively enhancing, connections with industry and its outreach programme. We are working closely with industrial companies to bring scientific ideas closer to practical applications. Our inspiring and innovative outreach is increasing the desire of younger generations to aspire to technical and scientific careers. These three key elements of the JAI programme, training, accelerator research, and industrial connection and outreach, form the core of our future plans. With Imperial College joining this proposal, the research and training capabilities of the JAI will be significantly strengthened.

In the few years of its history, JAI personnel have already made significant contributions to not only many existing, facilities and experiments both in the UK and abroad, but also proposed projects (from the International Linear Collider (ILC) and Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) for CERN to a Particle Accelerator for Medical Applications (PAMELA), and projects currently being implemented (European Spallation Source, Large Hardron Collider upgrade, SuperB collider in Italy). The JAI has built up expertise in laser-accelerator interactions, design and operation of the brightest electron rings and light sources, machine-detector interface and final-focus systems, handling of proton and muon beams for medical and particle-physics applications, and excellence in advanced beam diagnostics, instrumentation and simulation. In many cases this expertise is unique in the world. The future JAI programme is built upon our expertise and core competences and will include projects of direct relevance to the national accelerator-science strategy, to national facilities such as Diamond and ISIS at Harwell and to the future of particle physics.

The JAI has now initiated work towards new research directions - in particular, we are working towards the creation of a suite of compact light sources, building on our laser-accelerator expertise and bringing us closer to industrial applications, with an aim of achieving commercial devices in the near future. The most challenging, but also the most promising, area is laser-plasma acceleration, and we will address this challenge by combining forces with the plasma physics groups at Oxford and Imperial College, and via developing collaborations with worldwide centres of expertise in this area.

The funding for the JAI in this project will underpin the core elements outlined above. This core staff provision will allow us to explore new opportunities - both in new directions and at the boundaries between synergistic projects - and the early development of new ideas so that dedicated funding can then be secured. This funding will also leverage future investment for both new and established projects, as has been already demonstrated, and ensure that the UK remains a key player in accelerator science and technology worldwide.

This research programme will continue raising the impact of accelerator science on UK's scientific and industrial capabilities and will help to solve the challenges of the 21st century through its applications to healthcare, energy, materials and biological science.


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Bellei C (2012) Coherent transition radiation in relativistic laser-solid interactions in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion

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Bracco C (2016) AWAKE: A Proton-Driven Plasma Wakefield Acceleration Experiment at CERN in Nuclear and Particle Physics Proceedings

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Caldwell A (2016) Path to AWAKE: Evolution of the concept in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

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Cole J (2016) Tomography of human trabecular bone with a laser-wakefield driven x-ray source in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion

Description We have had two papers published in PRX, on the first determination of radiation reaction in high intensity laser matter interaction. These measurements also give the first indication of quantum effects (QED) in these interactions.

K. Poder, M. Tamburini, G. Sarri, A. Di Piazza, S. Kuschel, C. D. Baird, K. Behm, S. Bohlen, J. M. Cole, D. J. Corvan, M. Duff, E. Gerstmayr, C. H. Keitel, K. Krushelnick, S. P. D. Mangles, P. McKenna, C. D. Murphy, Z. Najmudin, C. P. Ridgers, G. M. Samar, and M. Zepf, Experimental Signatures of the Quantum Nature of Radiation Reaction in the Field of an Ultraintense Laser, Phys. Rev. X 8, 031004 (2018).

J. M. Cole, K. T. Behm, E. Gerstmayr, T. G. Blackburn, J. C. Wood, C. D. Baird, M. J. Duff, C. Harvey, A. Ilderton, A. S. Joglekar, K. Krushelnick, S. Kuschel, M. Marklund, P. McKenna, C. D. Murphy, K. Poder, C. P. Ridgers, G. M. Samarin, G. Sarri, D. R. Symes, A. G. R. Thomas, J. Warwick, M. Zepf, Z. Najmudin, and S. P. D. Mangles, Experimental Evidence of Radiation Reaction in the Collision of a High-Intensity Laser Pulse with a Laser-Wakefield Accelerated Electron Beam, Phys. Rev. X 8, 011020 (2018).
Exploitation Route Make accurate tests of QED

Optimise gamma source production in laser-matter interaction.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Security and Diplomacy

Description Some of our scientific work has been used in symposia on Novel Accelerators at Universtiy of Liverpool. Imaging techniques developed by our group have been used by the Catapult centre at Rutheford-Appleton Lab to introduce industrial users of these techniques. The results from our scientific work have been used in the EPAC proposal for an industrial x-ray imaging source based at the CLF, Rutherford Laboratory, based on techniques developed by our group.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description Physical Science and Engineering Facilities Users Panel
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Advice on the use and development of National Science Facilities
Description EuPRAXIA
Amount £132,142 (GBP)
Funding ID 653782 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Horizon 2020
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 11/2015 
End 10/2019
Description Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship
Amount £143,619 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 03/2014 
End 05/2016
Description Newton Fellowship
Amount £99,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2011 
End 12/2013
Description ATF BNL 
Organisation Brookhaven National Laboratory
Department Accelerator Test Facility
PI Contribution Experimental proposals and performing collaborative experiments
Collaborator Contribution Access to state of the art infrared laser facility
Impact Two papers in Physical Review Letters, as well as other minor publications
Start Year 2008
Description EuPRAXIA 
Organisation EuPRAXIA
Country European Union (EU) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Developing laser wakefield acceleration
Collaborator Contribution Developing applications of wakefield acceleration
Impact NA
Start Year 2016
Description Hercules Michigan 
Organisation University of Michigan
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experiment proposals and collaborative experiments
Collaborator Contribution Access to experimental facilities (Hercules Laser)
Impact Paper in Nature Physics, and Applied Physics Letters
Start Year 2009
Description IOQ Jena 
Organisation Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU)
Department Institute of Optics and Quantum Electronics (IOQ Jena)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Proposed & collaborated on an experiment at IOQ Jena
Collaborator Contribution Provided experimental time and access to high power and ultrashort pulse laser facility
Impact Paper in Physical Review Letters
Start Year 2013
Description MoD DSTL 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2005
Description University of Oxford 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2004
Description University of Strathclyde 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2004
Description Central Laser Facility Industry Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussed with industrial users, applications of plasma accelerators
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Talk to Imperial College PhysSoc 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talked about novel plasma accelerators to undergraduate students, which many reported was the first time they had heard of the concept.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018