The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford 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.


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Mayr M (2020) Nonlinear wakefields and electron injection in cluster plasma in Physical Review Accelerators and Beams

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Morales Guzmán P (2021) Simulation and experimental study of proton bunch self-modulation in plasma with linear density gradients in Physical Review Accelerators and Beams

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Muelaner J (2017) Absolute multilateration between spheres in Measurement Science and Technology

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Muggli P (2018) AWAKE readiness for the study of the seeded self-modulation of a 400 GeV proton bunch in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion

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Norreys PA (2021) Preparations for a European R&D roadmap for an inertial fusion demo reactor. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

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Norreys PA (2021) Prospects for high gain inertial fusion energy: an introduction to the second edition. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

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Norreys PA (2020) Prospects for high gain inertial fusion energy: an introduction to the first special edition. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

Description We have advanced acceelrator science and technology for both cutting-edge particle- and nuclear-physics applications, as well as for applications in society such as healthcare and security/
Exploitation Route Findings are being pursued via the follow-on STFC JAI grant.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy

Description European Strategy for Particle Physics -- Accelerator R&D Roadmap
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a guidance/advisory committee
Description Curiosity Carnival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact On 29th September, Lucy Martin (JAI, Oxford) and Sophie Bashforth (JAI, RHUL) performed the 'Accelerate!' show for the Curiosity Carnival, Oxford's version of 'European Researchers Night'. Lucy and Sophie report on their experience:

The Curiosity Carnival was a fantastic event to be part of, and performing the Accelerate! show in the Museum of Natural History was a lot of fun, even if maneuvering beach balls and hydrogen balloons past the queues of people waiting to get inside wasn't easy!

The show aims to convey the basic recipe behind a particle accelerator: Particles, Acceleration, Control, Collision and Detection. The basic concepts are illustrated using a range of demonstrations, from liquid nitrogen to demonstrate superconductors to plasma balls lighting fluorescent bulbs to show wave based acceleration. The aim is to get as many members of the audience involved as possible and to leave the audience with the idea that accelerators aren't only used for particle physics.

We gave the show at 9pm, where audience members made their way to the lecture theatre past stalls representing hundreds of different areas of research in Oxford. Our audience were mainly adults due to the time of the day, but although the show is more usually presented to children we didn't change the format and still included a large amount of audience participation. It was great to see the audience gradually become more involved, shouting out answers to questions, and "accelerating" beach balls across the room seemed to go down just as well with adults as with children!
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017