Novel approach to laser-driven multi-stage particle accelerator

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Mathematics and Physics


All-optical approaches to particle acceleration are currently attracting a significant research effort internationally. Key to the interest in a laser based particle accelerator lies in its cost effective and compactness. However, the ion beams accelerated by the laser-driven mechanisms have shortcomings such as a broad energy spectrum and large beam divergence. A recently developed concept of a versatile, miniature linear accelerating module ingeniously harnesses the extremely high electromagnetic pulses produced by the interaction of intense lasers, and achieves simultaneous focusing, energy selection and post-acceleration of the proton beams. The project aims to unlock the full potential of the technique in a multi-stage scenario in order to control and improve upon the proton beam parameters. Similar to current trend in developing laser-driven, multistage electron accelerators, this scheme will pave the way towards miniature, modular ion accelerators to deliver beams for widespread applications in science, industry and healthcare.

The experimental programme involves, amongst other things, the use of high power (100s TW - PW) lasers to develop further the techniques towards control and optimisation of the laser driven proton beam parameters. Experiments will be carried out not only in the in-house TARANIS laser facility but also at external large-scale facilities both within and outside the UK. The successful candidate will work in a small/moderate team including PhD students and researchers from collaborating institutions.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509541/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1782782 Studentship EP/N509541/1 22/09/2017 31/03/2021 Simon Ferguson