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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G068453/1
Title: Transient High Energy Density Plasmas Driven By Few Cycle Laser Pulses.
Principal Investigator: Smith, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Rose, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Dept of Physics
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2009 Ends: 31 October 2013 Value (£): 157,771
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Plasmas - Laser & Fusion
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
17 Feb 2009 Next Generation Facility User Panel 2008 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The broad aim of this project is to provide high quality training of a PhD student, centred around the application of state of the art, few-cycle and OPCPA laser systems such as Astra-Artemis and the 10PW front-end at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) to the study of transient, high energy density plasmas. The scientific thrust of the programme is in response to the ability of new laser systems to deliver intense, sub-10-fs light pulses, and the exciting prospect of higher pulse energies, and variable wavelengths in the near future. Recent experimental work has shown that these ultra-fast light pulses can be used to create solid density plasmas with temperatures in the 100-200 eV range with unique spectral features such as strong suppression of emission lines via continuum lowering. This new observation, along with the very resent availability of a 10 fs beam line at RAL (provided via a collaboration with Imperial College) provides a timely opportunity to build UK expertise and supporting theoretical and computational capabilities in this emerging field.As part of this project the student will conduct high energy density plasma physics experiments at RAL and Imperial College. To date only open K-shell ions have been produced in low Z materials by few-cycle pulses in proof-of-principle experiments. As higher energies become available via access to planned new facilities at RAL the project will be extended to allow highly-transient open L- and M-shell ions to be produced and studied for the first time. A specific aim of this work will be to identify spectral markers of laser pre-pulse that can be used to benchmark the performance of future high-energy, few-cycle laser systems at RAL and elsewhere. In order to interpret spectroscopic data from these plasmas, the student will also development new numerical and computational tools which will be made available to the wider UK community via RAL. To address the experimental and theoretical aspects of the work the project will bring together the ultra-fast light source expertise of the Quantum Optics Group together with the extensive atomic physics and numerical modelling capabilities of Plasma Physics Group at Imperial College. The training opportunity afforded by this project will help strengthen the user base for high intensity laser facilities in the UK and thus help to ensure that the current world leading position in this field is maintained. It will also result in enhanced support for facility users by producing new numerical tools for modelling the atomic and spectroscopic plasmas at very high density. Finally, it will provide a student with the opportunity to train along side leading researchers and to provide them with the skills necessary to develop their own independent scientific programmes in the future.
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk