Attosecond electron and radiation pulse generation in the ion channel free-electron laser, based on the laser wakefield accelerators

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Physics


Background: Laser wakefield accelerators are potentially the basis for next-generation, ultra-compact radiation sources with unique parameters. An important parameter is the electron bunch length, which is potentially several attoseconds in duration. A short bunch duration also implies a very high peak current, which is required by free-electron laser like devices, such as the ion channel laser (ICL). These devices are potential next-generation radiation sources with wide applicability; they also have a bearing on the development of new types of accelerators for colliders. At Strathclyde, we have a state-of-the-art facility (SCAPA) that is ideal for a systematic PhD project, as proposed. We are also a member of the Cockcroft Institute and thus have access to researchers developing conventional accelerators and light sources.
Project: The project will contribute to the development of next-generation of coherent radiation sources based on accelerators, and extend their parameter range to attosecond durations, which would be unprecedented. An understanding of the basic physics involved in the studies will also contribute to the understanding of astrophysical events, through analogue laser-plasma interactions. State-of-the-art experimental methods will be used to measure the bunch length, e.g. by measuring coherent transition radiation, and to study the build-up of coherence in the ICL radiation source. These will be compared with theoretical models developed at Strathclyde as part of the ALPHA-X project. The student will work closely with both theory and experimental teams, and our collaborators. Experiments will utilise the 350 TW and 40 TW SCAPA lasers at Strathclyde, and the RAL-CLF and ELI lasers when high power or energies are required. Plasma media and diagnostic systems will be developed for the experiments.
The project will contribute to developing ultra-compact sources with the following parameters:
-Bunch durations of 10-100 attoseconds
-Energy from 100 MeV to 1 GeV
-Peak currents in excess of 10 kA
-Coherent radiation from 1 Angstrom to 10 nm.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/R505110/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1915695 Studentship ST/R505110/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Andrzej Kornaszewski