- Opens: Wednesday 2 August 2023
- Number of places: 1 or 2
- Duration: 48 months
- Funding: Home fee, Stipend
OverviewPlasma photonic structures provide new media for manipulating ultra-high intensity lasers. The PhD project will investigate these plasma structures experimentally and using numerical modelling methods. This challenging project will apply terawatt to petawatt laser beams at the University of Strathclyde and other national and international facilities to create time dependent structures and apply them as optical components and metamaterials for the next generation of exawatt to zettawatt lasers.
At least an upper second-class UK Honours degree or overseas equivalent in physics or related subject is required.
The PhD studentship will support a bold and innovative project to evaluate novel methods of creating robust time-dependent plasma photonic structures by colliding intense laser pulses in plasma or gas. These one, two and three-dimensional Bragg scattering plasma structures and metamaterials will be probed using ultra-short laser pulses.
The main objective will be to produce and analyse transient diffractive optical elements for control and manipulation of ultra-intense, ultra-short laser pulses. They will be investigated as pulse-compressors, chirped pulse amplifiers, metamaterials and radiation generators. A novel two-stage modulator inertial bunching process will be investigated as a method for creating plasma structures: an electron plasma structure is formed initially by the ponderomotive force of the beat wave of colliding “pump” pulses. The resulting space-charge force imparts phase-correlated momentum to ions, which inertially “bunch” after a short delay to form a robust plasma structure. Scattering off it leads to diffraction, birefringence, refelction, amplification and other modifications to the properties of the laser pulses. Integrated and comprehensive theoretical studies, applying analytical and numerical methods, will be undertaken. Terawatt to petawatt lasers at the Strathclyde SCAPA facility (https://www.scapa.ac.uk/), Rutherford Appleton Central Laser Facility and other international facilities will be utilised for the experimental studies. High Performance Computing facilities will be used for numerical simulations using particle-in-cell simulations to model the interactions, and to plan experiments and aid analysis and interpretation of experimental data.
The student will require good experimental skills, particularly in optics and preferably in plasma physics, and have an ability and willingness to undertake numerical simulations. The student will have opportunities to work with international collaborators and using state-of-the-art experimental facilities.
Number of places: 1 or 2
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Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024