Postgraduate research opportunities Beam-driven plasma wakefield acceleration at Strathclyde/SLAC/UCLA/RadiaBeam


Key facts

  • Opens: Wednesday 1 March 2017
  • Number of places: 1


Motivated PhD candidates, ideally with a background in laser and/or beam driven plasma wakefield acceleration are required to help lay the foundations in the quest towards 5th generation light sources and ultra-compact electron accelerators - the time-resolved microscopes of the 21st century.
Back to opportunity


Qualifications: BSc (Hons) 2:1 or equivalent degree in physics.

Funding: Scholarships (fees and stipend) available on a competitive basis for UK/EU students, please contact supervisor for details.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
Back to opportunity

Project Details

Our approach is to combine the best of beam-driven plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA) as well as laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA) to generate the highest quality electron bunches ever produced. These will then be essential ingredients for highest performance future light sources such as FELs. International flagship experiments (at conventional accelerators such as E-210 "Trojan Horse" at FACET/SLAC, at FLASHForward, and at CLARA/Daresbury) will be complemented by hybrid LWFA experiments at laser-plasma-accelerators worldwide. In addition, first-class high performance computers and state-of-the-art simulation codes (particle-in-cell etc.) will be used to model the interaction, and to help understand it theoretically. The electron beam driver will set up the plasma wave, and a low energy laser pulse will ionize an additional plasma component locally within this plasma wave. This leads to ultracold bunches, which are a prerequisite for the ultrahigh bunch quality. These bunches would not even have a quality in terms of emittance which is far better when compared to other plasma-based approaches, but also would have better beam quality in many regards than the best bunches from conventional accelerators such as the LCLS in terms of (5D) brightness, for example.

The E210 "Trojan Horse" collaboration Srathclyde-SLAC-UCLA-Hamburg et al. was concluded with breakthrough results in spring 2016 in the final run of FACET’s lifetime, tight in time before shutting down to make way for LCLS-II. Now, the exploitation phase of the accumulated data has begun, in which the PhD student would participate. At the same time, the preparation time for SLAC FACET-II, the new advanced accelerator test facility at SLAC, has started and will be a focus for the PhD student.

The PhD candidate would work in a truly international and multi-disciplinary collaboration, being based at the Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators (SCAPA) in Glasgow. SCAPA is the flagship project of SUPA, the biggest physics alliance in the UK. It is located in the heart of Glasgow as part of the University of Strathclyde and the Technology Innovation centre TIC. Our goal is to demonstrate the novel scheme, build light sources (FEL, Thomson etc.) which will exploit the bunch brightness and multi-bunch schemes, and then push it further to the industrial level. While being based at Glasgow, the student(s) would be placed on long-lasting research stays at SLAC, UCLA and at RadiaBeam (industry SME) in between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, to foster the intense collaboration between US and Strathclyde.

The student would be part of a new Strathclyde Centre for Doctoral Training (SCDT) P-PALS (Plasma-based Particle and Light Sources), and the Cockcroft Institute, the UK’s university-based centre for accelerator development.

The PhD student will be a student of University of Strathclyde as part of the newly created Strathclyde Centre for Doctoral Training P-PALS, but will be on extended research stays in the US at SLAC in Stanford, USA, and UCLA, Los Angeles, in order to carry through R&D which is crucial in the context of FACET-II, the successor of the world's pioneering beam-driven plasma wakefield accelerator facility FACET at SLAC.


Ultrahigh brightness bunches from hybrid plasma accelerators as drivers of 5th generation light sources, B. Hidding, G.G. Manahan, O Karger, A Knetsch, G Wittig, 
D A Jaroszynski, Z-M Sheng, Y Xi, A Deng, J B Rosenzweig, G Andonian,, A Murokh, G Pretzler, D L Bruhwiler and J Smith, J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 47 (2014) 234010 (invited)

Hybrid modeling of relativistic underdense plasma photocathode injectors, Y. Xi, B. Hidding, D. Bruhwiler, G. Pretzler, and J. B. Rosenzweig, PRSTAB 16, 031303 (2013)

Ultracold Electron Bunch Generation via Plasma Photocathode Emission and Acceleration in a Beam-driven Plasma Blowout, B. Hidding, G. Pretzler, J.B. Rosenzweig, T. Königstein, D. Schiller, D.L. Bruhwiler, Physical Review Letters 108, 035001, 2012

Beyond injection: Trojan horse underdense photocathode plasma wakefield acceleration, B. Hidding, J. B. Rosenzweig, Y. Xi, B. O'Shea, G. Andonian, D. Schiller, S. Barber, O. Williams, G. Pretzler, T. Königstein, F. Kleeschulte, M. J. Hogan, M. Litos, S. Corde, W. W. White, P. Muggli, D. L. Bruhwiler and K. Lotov, AIP Conf. Proc. 1507, 570 (2012)

Back to opportunity


Back to course


Number of places: 1

To read how we process personal data, applicants can review our 'Privacy Notice for Student Applicants and Potential Applicants' on our Privacy notices' web page.

Back to course

Contact us

Professor Bernhard Hidding (