Imperial College London

Plasma Physics student wins top prize at Physics Department PGR Symposium


Image of one of the shots from the group's experiments

Congratulations to Oliver Ettlinger, who was awarded one of the top prizes at the 2016 Physics Department PGR Symposium!

Oliver won best overall performance for his talk “Ion acceleration experiments with shaped gas targets” given at the 2016 Postgraduate Research Symposium (PGR). This was awarded for the talk’s content and presentation, and included a £200 prize.

Oliver gives an overview of his research below:

“The talk outlined some of the latest developments in ion acceleration experiments in near-critical density gas targets using a CO2 laser. Through modifying the shape of a density ramp in our target we were able to produce higher ion energies than previously observed on these experiments. This is attributed to an interference effect between our incident laser pulse and its own reflection, causing bunching of the density from which we accelerate ions using the radiation pressure exerted by the laser pulse. By continuing to study these interactions we hope to better understand the processes behind these acceleration mechanisms with the hope of one day producing high energy mono-energetic beams for applications such as hadron therapy.

The image above is of one of the shots from our experiments showing the interaction of a CO2 laser pulse with our shaped gas target. It is pink/purple because we are shooting Hydrogen gas.”

The PGR Symposium

The PGR Symposium gives PhD students the opportunity to present their research to internal and external members of the Physics community and celebrates the world-leading postgraduate research in both theoretical and experimental fields carried out in Imperial’s Physics Department.


Claudia Cannon

Claudia Cannon
Faculty of Natural Sciences