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.
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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