The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Department Name: 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, initially as a joint venture between the Departments of Physics in the University of Oxford (UOXF) and Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL), expanded in 2011 with a new research base at Imperial College London (ICL) joining the two existing centres at RHUL and the UOXF. The five strategic guiding principles of our operation are: a) focus on the training programme and its enhancement to encompass the accelerator training together with laser and plasma physics; b) focus on the programmes that bring the partner universities together; c) focus on laser-plasma acceleration and its application for development of compact light sources; d) maintaining support and engagement into the programmes of strategic importance for UK; e) proactively developing collaborative projects with UK and worldwide partners. Our successful operation through the present grant has confirmed the validity of these guiding principles and we are aiming to maintain these principles throughout the future grant period as well.

Our submission for 2017-2021 is focused on the national priorities and will aim at the following themes: 1- graduate training, 2- development of novel X-ray light sources that allow to study novel materials, new medicines, large and complicated protein molecules; 3- development of novel methods of acceleration of charged particles based on excitation of wakes in plasma by intense laser pulse; 4- development of future colliders of particles, that will allow to study physics beyond of the recently discovered Higgs boson; 5- development of methods to accelerate very powerful beams of protons, enabling to use them for proton cancer therapy, for creation of neutron sources for discovery science and neutrino sources for fundamental particle physics study. We will also develop links with industry and participate in outreach.

Planned Impact

The JAI will endeavour to identify and support activities that lead to economic and societal impact. The technology development during the grant and skills in the JAI team will be reviewed alongside knowledge exchange and public engagement experts across the three institutions to ensure opportunities for impact beyond academia are maximised. The JAI have identified a number of key projects that will benefit directly and indirectly the UK economy, industry, healthcare and engagement in science.

Our development of cavities for Asymmetric Energy Recovery LINACs can lead to a significant change in accelerator technology that could allow companies in the semiconductor and security sectors to profit from creating new products as well as allowing universities and hospitals to benefit from being able to access accelerator technology and its ability to be used for biomedical research and patient treatments respectively.

The JAI's further development of our Frequency Scanning Interferometry technology will lead to enhanced products for those manufacturing and distributing self-tracking laser interferometers, which are used for making precision measurements. Companies will also benefit such as the airline industry by being able to produce more efficient large aircraft, which could also help efforts to reduce the environmental impact of air travel.

The JAI will also bring together an expert multi-disciplinary team including the High Energy
Physics Group at Imperial College London, the Department of Oncology at Imperial College Medical School, the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology as well as companies in the medical technology industry. This team will investigate hadron therapy technology as well as associated imaging and diagnostics and could benefit the NHS and patients undergoing treatments for cancer.

The JAI have a very strong record of award-winning public engagement and outreach programmes, which we will continue to support and build on during this grant. Our activities will benefit school children through our support for training teachers in APPEAL - Accelerator and Particle Physics at A Level as well as our 'Accelerate!' shows for high school students. We will continue our partnerships with organisations including the Royal Institution, Institute of Physics, Science Oxford, South East Physics Network, BAAS, local Cafés Scientifique, BBC local and national broadcasting and international media to find new and effective channels for wider engagement and to inspire the next generation of physicists.