THz driven injection for high-quality high-gradient novel acceleration

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Physics


Bunching of particle beams driven by laser-generated terahertz pulses offers a route to femtosecond control of electron beams surpassing current radio-frequency capability. Following on from our recent international-first demonstrations of THz-driven acceleration of relativistic beams, we will undertake a proof-of-concept demonstration of THz-driven compression of high energy electron beams. The achievement of THz-driven compression will provide few-femtosecond duration electron beams with femtosecond-level synchronisation control. Such a capability will enable controlled injection into novel acceleration schemes, such as the plasma wakefield acceleration of AWAKE, and the attainment of the beam quality and high energy necessary for high-energy physics. It will also enable revolutionary improvements in accelerator based light sources, and in ultrafast electron diffraction.

Planned Impact

This project will develop high gradient accelerating/deflecting structures with high quality beams beyond the capabilities of all current technology. This technology could be utilised for any application requiring a large gradient and/or compact size. When utilised for bunching THz linacs can deliver very compact bunch lengths which can be coupled to other novel accelerator technologies.

As well as allowing high energy linacs for scientific purposes the technology will also allow very compact accelerators for medical, security and industrial uses. This will allow higher energy compact linacs opening up new application areas.
Description Understanding of techniques for acceleration of low energy electron beams by thz frequency light sources.

Proof of concept experiments on relativistic beams have confirmed that THz-driven modulation can have significant application to manipulation of high energy electron beams, and to the characterization of them on a 10fs time scale.
Exploitation Route capability of the THz driven structures has been further confirmed. Provides a step towards wider use of THz & laser driven acceleration of low energy electron beams
Sectors Other

Description The findings have been the foundations for significantly larger (scale of participants and funding) project in the development of very-high gradient plasma acceleration. The findings have also been the foundation for a 3-year UKRI 'Early Stage Research' award (starting April 2024), targeted at increasing the TRL of THz-driven diagnostic devices. This new project will seek to engage commercial partners for commercialization of the THz concepts.
First Year Of Impact 2023
Sector Other
Description Cockcroft Phase 4
Amount £7,868,364 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/V001612/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2021 
End 03/2025
Description Cryogenics systems for the development of a THz-driven electron injector and linac
Amount £107,308 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/X005054/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2022 
End 03/2023
Description Cockcroft Terahertz acceleration group 
Organisation University of Manchester
Department School of Physics and Astronomy Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Programme management and leadership PI on grants Pooling of PhD and PDRA resources to larger research programme
Collaborator Contribution Pooling of PhD and PDRA resources to larger research programme Authorship and contributions to publications
Impact publications as listed for grant
Start Year 2018