Projects

The following are examples of projects I presently have, or would like to offer, to prospective graduate students.

PhD Project: Commissioning and Modelling of the the EMMA non-scaling FFAG

(CASE award by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, joint with Daresbury Laboratory)

EMMA, presently being constructed at Daresbury Laboratory, is the world's first non-scaling FFAG particle accelerator. FFAGs (Fixed-Field, Alternating-Gradient) have re-emerged as a way to rapidly accelerate particles for various purposes, and the non-scaling variant allows significant size and cost savings. nsFFAGs have complex dynamics that are only recently possible to model properly, and their operation relies on the rapid crossing of dynamical resonances during acceleration. EMMA will test the nsFFAG concept, and if successful will help future designs leading to better accelerators for radiotherapy, future particle colliders, and for driving nuclear reactors.
This PhD student will be closely involved with the EMMA commissioning team, including staff from the Accelerator Science and Technology Centre within STFC. In particular, the student will study the longitudinal dynamics during acceleration, and its match with simulation. Hopefully we will also study methods for increasing beam intensity within the nsFFAG by using novel acceleration techniques.

PhD Project (ongoing): Particle Dynamics in FFAGs

(Part-time PhD)

EMMA, presently being constructed at Daresbury Laboratory, is the world's first non-scaling FFAG particle accelerator. FFAGs (Fixed-Field, Alternating-Gradient) have re-emerged as a way to rapidly accelerate particles for various purposes, and the non-scaling variant allows significant size and cost savings. nsFFAGs have complex dynamics that are only recently possible to model properly, and their operation relies on the rapid crossing of dynamical resonances during acceleration. EMMA will test the nsFFAG concept, and if successful will help future designs leading to better accelerators for radiotherapy, future particle colliders, and for driving nuclear reactors.
This PhD student (working at the Accelerator Science and Technology Centre in STFC) is studying a new formalism for the dynamics of acceleration in an FFAG. Using a first-principles Hamiltonian formalism, the longitudinal motion about the stationary accelerating orbit has been self-consistently derived. This allows a full analytical description of the dynamics to be developed.

PhD Project: Particle Collimation With Wakefields

(offered jointly with Rob Appleby)

We propose to develop a suitable formalism and simultaneously simulate the effect of particle scattering in collimators and the effect of wakefields on relativistic particle beams. These dynamical effects are conventionally treated separately, and this project will use a unified approach to study the impact on high energy and low emittance beams.
The formalism shall be included in the code MERLIN, with many resulting applications. For example, we will study the impact of the wakes and re-scattering in the LHC collimation system upon the dynamics and absorption of the stored particles. To date, only a single code platform has been used to perform collimation simulations on the LHC, using SixTrack with FLUKA to model scattering, loss, and subsequent particle shower generation. Wakefields imparted by the collimators will modify the passing bunches significantly, but this is presently modelled separately to the collimation process. The second application will to the design of a high current next-generation light source, where such effects in the collimators will be important, as losses can be detrimental both to the main linac and to the free-electron laser beamlines that deliver light to users.

MPhys Project: Resonant Neutron Capture for Radioisotope Production

Technetium-99m (Tc99m) is used in 85% of all nuclear medicine procedures, and most of it is manufactured in five ageing research reactors.Two of these reactors have major problems, leading to a world-wide shortage of this important radioisotope. Tc-99m can also be manufactured using a particle accelerator, in which a particle beam irradiates an appropriate target. One reaction that can be used is to perform neutron capture in Molybdenum-98, creating the Molybdenum-99 precursor to Tc-99m. The reaction can be enhanced by making use of resonances in the capture cross-section, and tuning the incident neutron spectrum to preferentially hit them.
The proposed project will be to model the transport of neutrons through a moderating material such as lead, and to model the capture rate of neutrons in Mo-98; a target will be designed that optimises the capture rate. This work will be done using the simulation package GEANT4, possibly supported by other codes such as FLUKA and MCNP. We are also presently exploring whether experimental work can be done in conjunction with this project. If the design looks promising it may be chosen as the basis for a pilot production facility for radioisotopes.

MPhys Project: A new type of compact electron storage ring for synchrotron radiation production

Electron storage rings are widely used around the world as sources of synchrotron radiation. As the stored electrons pass through the dipole magnets they give off bursts of X-rays, making the ring a useful X-ray factory for many kinds of physical, chemical and biological experiments: there are over fifty such facilities in the world today, each facility having a storage ring around 200m in circumference, and costing several hundred million pounds. Tuning the electron focusing is necessary to minimise the excitation of electron oscillations caused by the radiation emission, and high-energy electron storage rings are limited in what they can achieve.
In the proposed project, you will explore a possible method of overcoming the excitation limit, and will design a compact electron storage ring.