Novel approach to laser-driven multi-stage ion acceleration

  • Simon Ferguson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


All-optical approaches to particle acceleration are currently attracting a significant research effort internationally. Key to the interest in a laser based particle accelerator lies in its cost effective and compactness. However, the ion beams accelerated by the laser-driven mechanisms have shortcomings such as a broad energy spectrum and large beam divergence. A recently developed concept of a versatile, miniature linear accelerating module harnesses the extremely high electromagnetic pulses produced by the interaction of intense lasers, and achieves simultaneous focusing, energy selection and post-acceleration of the proton beams. The process boosts the energy of the ions accelerated from the foil, through the application of a large amplitude field within a helical coil, which travels synchronously with the ions. This process lends itself to multi-staging, i.e. the sequential application of laser-driven accelerating fields, which is highly promising for significant increase of the accelerated proton energies. The project aims to develop this multi-stage approach which is totally new in the context of laser-driven protons, and can pave the way towards miniature, modular ion accelerators providing beams suitable for medical, scientific and industrial applications.

Thesis embargoed until 31 December 2026
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsUKRI Unspecified
SupervisorSatyabrata Kar (Supervisor) & Marco Borghesi (Supervisor)


  • Laser ion acceleration
  • helical coil

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