Professor Bernhard Hidding


Personal statement

Bernhard Hidding joined the Physics Department in 2013 and holds the Chair of Experimental Physics at SCAPA, the Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators ) This facility, a collaboration between various SUPA groups, aims at developing high power laser-plasma accelerator technology towards a number of applications for use in material science,  chemistry, biology and medicine. Bernhard’s research concentrates on laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA) and beam-driven plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA) of electrons, and resulting applications such as imaging techniques and advanced light sources. Before coming to Strathclyde, Bernhard was at University of Hamburg/CFEL/DESY, where he still maintains a group which is now closely collaborating with Strathclyde.

One flagship project is the development of a so-called "underdense plasma photocathode", which may lead to the production of monoenergetic electron beams with much higher quality than ever before. The emittance and brightness of these electron beams may exceed even that of the best state-of-the-art accelerators such as those used for light sources such s the LCLS at SLAC or the XFEL at DESY by a wide margin. At the same time, while these accelerators require km-scale tunnel systems for acceleration, plasma accelerators can boost the electrons to comparable energies on the metre-scale. By decoupling the acceleration process in the plasma wave from the generation of the electron bunch directly inside the plasma wave cavity in a process also known as "Trojan Horse" plasma wakefield acceleration, unprecedented controllability and electron bunch quality is made feasible. A key feature of this process is to release the electrons with a tightly focused, relatively low energy laser pulse via photoionization, thereby producing ultracold electrons which minimize the emittance of the beam. In turn, the brightness of the electron beam is boosted, which is crucial for light sources such as free-electron lasers. This could open the door towards ultracompact xray free electron lasers with enhanced performance for imaging techniques of ultrafast processes such as those in single molecules, which is an ultimate goal towards understanding fundamental processes occuring in nature and to develop novel drugs and materials. At SCAPA, work is underway to realize the underdense photocathode based on hybrid LWFA/PWFA acceleration. In the E-210 “Trojan Horse” collaboration at FACET at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the 23 GeV electron beam will be used for proof-of-concept experiments.  

Another project is the establishment of electron, proton and ion beams produced by laser-plasma-acceleration as an advanced radiation hardness testing technique of electronics in nuclear reactor environments, onboard aircrafts and space vessels such as satellites. Laser-plasma-accelerators are capable of producing high flux of very broad-band particle beams -- a feature they share with the actual radiation in space. For example, in the van Allen-belts, which are especially important since satellites such as GPS are positioned there, so called "killer electrons" can put satellites out of function. Using laser-plasma-accelerators, it is possible to exactly reproduce these killer electrons in the laboratory here on Earth, which offers dramatically better testing procedures on the one hand, and potentially may lead to the devlopment of much more radiation hard electronic components with higher performance for future space vessel electronics. 

He is the Director of the Strathclyde Centre for Doctoral Training (SCDT) Plasma-based Particle and Light Sources (P-PALS),

The SCDT P-PALS is an international, multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary Centre for Doctoral Training, founded by the University of Strathclyde and partners in 2016. It covers a broad range of connected experimental, theoretical and computational areas in plasma physics, laser and particle beams, and applications such as novel light sources. It is driven by the transformative progress as regards the realization of compact, plasma-based radiation sources by an ever increasing number of research groups in academia and industry worldwide. This scientific progress requires the education and training of next generation research leaders with the capability to think out of the box, to contribute to cross-disciplinary and international collaborative R& D projects, and a realistic understanding of the importance of doability and how to put novel concepts and technologies to use, including their industrial realisation.


Ionization injection in a laser wakefield accelerator subject to a transverse magnetic field
Zhao Q, Weng S M, Sheng Z M, Chen M, Zhang G B, Mori W B, Hidding B, Jaroszynski D A, Zhang J
New Journal of Physics Vol 20 (2018)
Horizon 2020 EuPRAXIA design study
Walker P A, Alesini P D, Alexandrova A S, Anania M P, Andreev N E, Andriyash I, Aschikhin A, Assmann R W, Audet T, Bacci A, Barna I F, Beaton A, Beck A, Beluze A, Bernhard A, Bielawski S, Bisesto F G, Boedewadt J, Brandi F, Bringer O, Brinkmann R, Bründermann E, Büscher M, Bussmann M, Bussolino G C, Chance A, Chanteloup J C, Chen M, Chiadroni E, Cianchi A, Clarke J, Cole J, Couprie M E, Croia M, Cros B, Dale J, Dattoli G, Delerue N, Delferriere O, Delinikolas P, Dias J, Dorda U, Ertel K, Ferran Pousa A, Ferrario M, Filippi F, Fils J, Fiorito R, Fonseca R A, Galimberti M, Gallo A, Garzella D, Gastinel P, Giove D, Giribono A, Gizzi L A, Grüner F J, Habib A F, Haefner L C, Heinemann T, Hidding B, Holzer B J, Hooker S M , Hosokai T, Irman A, Jaroszynski D A, Jaster-Merz S, Joshi C, Kaluza M C, Kando M, Karger O S, Karsch S, Khazanov E A, Khikhlukha D, Knetsch A, Kocon D, Koester P, Kononenko O, Korn G, Kostyukov I, Labate L, Lechner C, Leemans W P, Lehrach A, Li F Y, Li X, Libov V, Lifschitz A, Litvinenko V, Lu W, Maier A R, Malka V, Manahan G G, Mangles S P D, Marchetti B, Marocchino A, Martinez De La Ossa A, Martins J L, Massimo F, Mathieu F, Maynard G, Mehrling T J, Molodozhentsev A Y, Mosnier A, Mostacci A, Mueller A S, Najmudin Z, Nghiem P A P, Nguyen F, Niknejadi P, Osterhoff J, Papadopoulos D, Patrizi B, Pattathil R, Petrillo V, Pocsai M A, Poder K, Pompili R, Pribyl L, Pugacheva D, Romeo S, Rossi A R, Roussel E, Sahai A A, Scherkl P, Schramm U, Schroeder C B, Schwindling J, Scifo J, Serafini L, Sheng Z M, Silva L O, Silva T, Simon C, Sinha U, Specka A, Streeter M J V, Svystun E N, Symes D, Szwaj C, Tauscher G, Thomas A G R, Thompson N, Toci G, Tomassini P, Vaccarezza C, Vannini M, Vieira J M, Villa F, Wahlström C-G, Walczak R, Weikum M K, Welsch C P, Wiemann C, Wolfenden J, Xia G, Yabashi M, Yu L, Zhu J, Zigler A
8th International Particle Accelerator Conference (2017)
Single-stage plasma-based correlated energy spread compensation for ultrahigh 6D brightness electron beams
Manahan GG, Habib AF, Scherkl P, Delinikolas P, Beaton A, Knetsch A, Karger O, Wittig G, Heinemann T, Sheng ZM, Cary JR , Bruhwiler DL, Rosenzweig JB, Hidding B
Nature Communications Vol 8 (2017)
Laser-plasma-based space radiation reproduction in the laboratory
Hidding B, Karger O, Königstein T, Pretzler G, Manahan G G, McKenna P, Gray R, Wilson R, Wiggins S M, Welsh G H, Beaton A, Delinikolas P, Jaroszynski D A, Rosenzweig J B, Karmakar A, Ferlet-Cavrois V, Constantino A, Muschitiello M, Daly E
Scientific Reports Vol 7 (2017)
Angled laser triggered electron injection in the electron driven plasma wakefield acceleration scheme : a case study in a pursuit to increase tolerance levels, based on FACET II driver parameters.
Delinikolas Panagiotis, Manahan Grace, Hidding Bernhard, Beaton Andrew, Scherkl Paul, Karger Oliver, Witting Georg, Knetsch Alexander, Heinemann Thomas, Hurtig Gregor, Habib Fahim
17th Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop 2016 (2016)
High quality electron beam acceleration by ionization injection in laser wakefields with mid-infrared dual-color lasers
Zeng Ming, Luo Ji, Chen Min, Mori Warren B, Sheng Zheng Ming, Hidding Bernhard
Physics of Plasmas Vol 23 (2016)

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Professional activities

STFC (External organisation)
Physics (Organisational unit)
Accelerator Strategy Board (ASB) reporting to the STFC
External Examiner

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DTP 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Boulton, Lewis
Hidding, Bernhard (Principal Investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Co-investigator) Boulton, Lewis (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2022
DTP 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Nutter, Alastair
Hidding, Bernhard (Principal Investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Co-investigator) Nutter, Alastair (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2022
Accelerating the Middle East -- EPSRC GCRF Institutional Sponsorship
Hidding, Bernhard (Principal Investigator) McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Principal Investigator) Jaroszynski, Dino (Principal Investigator)
Compact plasma accelerators for applications e.g. in life and space sciences with sustainable socio-economic benefit for Turkey and the Middle East are being developed.
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018
EPSRC Global Challenges Research Fund Institutional Sponsorship Award 2017 (GCRF) / R171051-106
Hidding, Bernhard (Principal Investigator) Jaroszynski, Dino (Co-investigator) McKenna, Paul (Co-investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018
Laser-driven radiation beamlines at SCAPA (EPSRC Capital Equipment Portfolio)
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Boyd, Marie (Co-investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Hidding, Bernhard (Co-investigator) Jaroszynski, Dino (Co-investigator) McArthur, Stephen (Co-investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Co-investigator)
We propose to create new capability and capacity for collaborative high power laser-plasma research to underpin the development and application of laser-driven radiation sources, using three new beamlines and experiment stations at the Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators, SCAPA. Each of the beamlines will be configured in a unique way and with a focus on a specific category of laser-plasma interactions and secondary sources, to create a complementary suite of dedicated beamlines. This approach is required to enable the development and optimisation of laser-plasma sources from the realms of scientific investigation to real-world applications. It enables long-term investment in the optimisation and stabilisation of the beams and largely eliminates downtime for rebuilding experiments, thus enabling efficient and effective use of high power laser beam time.

The equipment will support an extensive research portfolio in laser-plasma physics and multidisciplinary applications, with an emphasis on radiation sources and healthcare applications. The unique properties of laser-driven radiation sources make them attractive both as tools for science (e.g. femtosecond X-ray sources for probing the structure of matter) and for applications in a variety of sectors including: healthcare (e.g. imaging and radiotherapy); industry (e.g. penetrative probing and assay) and energy (e.g. testing the integrity of stored nuclear waste). The strategic development of this field requires a balanced programme of dedicated university-scale and leading-edge national laser facilities. The proposed beamlines will complement existing and planned expansion of national facilities at the Central Laser Facility, providing new capability and capacity to enable UK research groups to remain at the forefront of this research area and help promote international collaboration.

The research will be performed collaboratively with groups from across the UK and sustained mainly through collaborative research grants. The new suite of beamlines will promote exchanges between academia and industry, and enable engagement of the UK research community with large international projects, such as the Extreme Light Infrastructure, ELI. It will also provide a unique interdisciplinary training platform for researchers.
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2020
Cockcroft Institute
Riis, Erling (Principal Investigator) Cross, Adrian (Co-investigator) Eliasson, Bengt (Co-investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Hidding, Bernhard (Co-investigator) Jaroszynski, Dino (Co-investigator) McKenna, Paul (Co-investigator) McNeil, Brian (Co-investigator) Ronald, Kevin (Co-investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018

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