PhD studentship:Ultrafast relativistic electron diffraction

Institution: University College LondonUCL logo
Dept/School/Faculty: Department of Physics and Astronomy
PhD Supervisor: Dr J Underwood

Ultrafast electron diffraction (ED) involves observing the changes in the electron diffraction pattern when the time delay between a pump laser pulse and a probing electron bunch is varied. Such experiments yield information about structural changes on the atomic scale initiated by the laser pumped process. The temporal resolution of this technique has historically been limited to ca. 0.5 picoseconds due to the low (ca. 100 keV) electron energies typically used; this is too slow to follow the key processes in many systems. Development of ultrafast electron diffraction with sub-100 femtosecond temporal resolution demands relativistic electron energies in order to overcome the electron bunch broadening resulting from Coulomb repulsion, and also the dispersion between the pump laser pulse and electron bunch in the sample.

We have recently (October 2014) measured electron diffraction images from metal film targets with 4 MeV electron bunches with sub-picosecond duration at the Versatile Electron Linear Accelerator (VELA) at the STFC Daresbury Laboratory. This studentship, based at the Daresbury Laboratory will aim to further develop this technique with the aim of achieving ultrafast time-resolved diffraction studies with initial studies focussing on graphite and graphene materials. The studentship will be jointly supervised by Dr Jonathan Underwood (UCL Physics & Astronomy) and Dr Mark Surman (STFC Daresbury Lab). The studentship offers a unique opportunity to develop expertise in ultrafast lasers, charged particle accelerators, and diffraction studies of matter.

The studentship will commence in Autumn 2015 and will last 3.5 years.
Details on how to apply can be found at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/phys/amopp/studentships

For further information please contact Dr Jonathan Underwood (j.underwood@ucl.ac.uk)

Funding Notes:
The studentship is co-funded by UCL and STFC Daresbury Lab and has an associated stipend of approximately £16k. The studentship is open to UK and EU applicants.