Inertial Confinement Fusion
Absorption physics of intense twisted light with solid targets
|Supervisor||Dr Robert Kingham|
|Type||Computational & Theoretical|
|Funding||DTA (group or Dept/Faculty)|
This project will explore how intense, picosecond-duration laser beams possessing orbital-angular momentum (OAM) interact with solid density plasma. Laser beams with OAM have ‘spiral’ phase-fronts (hence the term ‘twisted’ light) and each photon carries ±ℏ of angular momentum. Such beams, and their interaction with matter, are well understood in conventional optics, where the intensity is low. However, the study of what happens at the ultra-high, “relativistic” laser intensities ( I ≥ 1022 W/m2 ) used in laser-plasma interactions is still in its infancy. Most research focuses on the interaction of OAM pulses with under-dense plasma. This project will focus on their interaction with solid-density plasma. The idea is to explore how angular momentum in the laser affects the laser absorption efficiency, the characteristics of the energized electrons and magnetic-field generation. These are fundamental processes that underpin a range of applications such as proton acceleration and advanced ICF schemes. The investigation would be carried out using a combination of HPC simulations (using the particle-in-cell code EPOCH) and analytical theory. There may be opportunities to engage with experiments.
Inertial confinement fusion using laser driven and wire array Z-pinch driven hohlraums
A PhD project for October 2018 : Supervisor Prof. J. Chittenden
Using thermal radiation fields to investigate fundamental physics
Supervisor - Professor Steven Rose
The subject of this PhD project is to explore how thermal radiation fields generated by high-power lasers can be used to investigate the fundamental physics of the interaction between photons, electrons and positrons (the subject of Quantum Electrodynamics – QED). Many experiments have been proposed and undertaken that use ultra-intense laser radiation to investigate these effects where the electrons and positrons interact directly with the laser radiation. However there is a category of experiments that use lasers to create thermal (or quasi-thermal) radiation fields that can be used to investigate QED processes which are of interest in astrophysics, cosmology and also of fundamental interest and it this topic that is the subject of the project.
The project will involve extending recent theoretical work on electron-positron pair production from a thermal radiation field generated directly by a laser1 and generated by a burning thermonuclear plasma2. It will involve calculating the electron-positron production process using new theoretical and numerical techniques. These will allow a more complete understanding of the interaction between photons in a thermal radiation field involving the production of electrons and positrons by multiple photons. These techniques should give a clearer understanding of the processes that generated electrons and positrons from the ultra-high temperature radiation field in the early Universe The project will also involve the design of new high-power laser experiments that demonstrate and test the predictions of these new techniques.
The project spans theoretical quantum electrodynamics, atomic physics, plasma physics, astrophysics and cosmology as well as requiring an understanding of experimental possibilities using high-power lasers. It will also have a major emphasis on state-of-the-art computing which will be needed to undertake the new calculations that will be developed.
Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact Prof Rose for further information.
1. "A photon-photon collider in a vacuum hohlraum", O J Pike, F Mackenroth, E G Hill and S J Rose, Nature Photonics, 8, 434 (2014).
2. "Electron-positron pair creation in burning thermonuclear plasmas", S J Rose, High Energy Density Physics, 9, 480 (2013).