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DPhil studentships in High Intensity Hadron Accelerators

The JAI Hadron Beams group led by Dr. Suzie Sheehy is seeking two DPhil candidates to start in 2018 in the field of high intensity hadron accelerators. The projects are funded for UK/EU students by the Royal Society. Applications can be made via this link

High intensity accelerator physics using a Paul ion trap:


This project will focus on implementing a novel tabletop-sized experimental system to test ground breaking concepts in particle accelerator physics.

Particle accelerators which can provide very intense beams of hadrons are critical for future developments in particle physics and societal applications. Accelerators are usually based on linear focusing systems, but the dynamics of intense particle beams is inherently non-linear. Recently, ideas have arisen for new accelerators that may allow an increase in beam power of up to two orders of magnitude using concepts such as ‘Non-linear Integrable Optics’ (NIO).  To circumvent both computational and experimental limitations, this research uses a scaled experimental system known as a Paul ion trap to address some of the most challenging questions in the field of intense particle beam dynamics.

The ultimate goal of this DPhil project, together with other group members, is to design and build a novel non-linear Paul trap to demonstrate Non-linear Integrable Optics (NIO). Depending on the students interest, the project may also involve the development of novel diagnostics sufficient to characterise the trapped ions. Ultimately, this research could lead to important developments not just in physics, but also in areas as diverse as medicine and energy. 

The student will also work closely with colleagues in the Intense Beams Group at the STFC ISIS Neutron and Muon Source and a range of opportunities for international travel for experimental collaborations and conferences are available.


Development of fixed-field accelerators with future application to radioisotope production

This project will focus on the development of a compact, high power accelerator with high reliability, low maintenance and shielding requirements and low energy usage. In particular, the student will explore the accelerator physics questions underpinning the development of compact strong focusing accelerators (Fixed Field Accelerators or FFAs), which are currently being considered for a number of applications including future neutron sources and radioisotope production. This type of accelerator has never been operated at high power before, making this a very exciting time in the field.

High intensity hadron accelerators are vital for many future scientific facilities and societal applications. They are also a fascinating area of physics research, pushing the limits of theoretical, computational and experimental techniques. While a few design ideas have emerged in the field, a major open research question is: “how can we incorporate strong focusing into a compact cyclotron-like accelerator, and will this allow a significantly increased beam current?” Some further research questions that may be addressed during this DPhil include investigating the fundamental limitations in terms of instabilities in these accelerators, the design of collimation schemes to ensure that beams are accelerated cleanly and with low losses and detailed simulation studies of a proposed prototype accelerator in the UK.
Ultimately, this Fixed Field Accelerator (FFA) may replace the commonly used cyclotrons used for radioisotope production for life-saving medical procedures.

The student will work closely with colleagues in the Intense Beams Group at the STFC ISIS Neutron and Muon Source and a range of opportunities for international travel for experimental collaborations and conferences are available.

Requirements and eligibility:

We welcome applications from candidates with a first class or upper 2nd class Masters (or 4-year undergraduate) degree in physics or a related subject who have an interest in accelerator physics. Candidates must have a strong understanding of physics including electromagnetism and special relativity and display the drive and capacity to tackle many aspects of a complex problem with a large degree of independence. A keen attention to detail and some experience in computer simulations would be advantageous.

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 16th June, and must be made through Oxford Particle Physics: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/dphil-particle-physics

For further details or informal discussion, please contact Dr. Suzie Sheehy suzie.sheehy@physics.ox.ac.uk

Further information on application procedures can be requested from: kim.proudfoot@physics.ox.ac.uk

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