Projects

The University of  Liverpool
PhD opportunities in laser, plasma and accelerator science at Liverpool University/Cockcroft Institute

Liverpool graduate poster 2017

Project description:

A fully funded PhD studentship is available from Oct 2018 to work on laser applications in accelerator science at the University of Liverpool/Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology. Potential projects include:

  • Development of near and mid-infrared laser sources to seed free electron lasers.
  • Development of laser driven THz sources for novel particle acceleration at THz frequencies.
  • Research into laser plasma wakefield acceleration methods, including developing new high average and peak power laser systems for new acceleration.
  • Development of high intensity radially polarised lasers for direct laser acceleration of particles in vacuum.

We welcome applications from students with a strong interest in experimental science with lasers, some facility with coding (e.g. Python, LabView, Matlab) and motivated to study in the highly interdisciplinary field of accelerator science.

For more information please contact Dr. Laura Corner (laura.corner@liverpool.ac.uk)  General details for applying for a PhD at Liverpool University can be found here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/how-to-apply/ More information about the Cockcroft Institute can be found here: https://www.cockcroft.ac.uk/about


The University of Manchester
Design of a VHEE Radiotherapy Machine: A  Potential New Paradigm in Cancer Treatment 

Project description: There is the opportunity for a Ph.D. student to develop a high gradient linac and associated RF, operating at 200 – 250 MV, suitable for a VHEE radiotherapy machine. This research will allow for a potential new paradigm in cancer treatment. The work will capitalise on more than two decades of research conducted for CLIC (Compact Linear Collider) at CERN. With suitable adaptation, a full radiotherapy electron machine will be investigated, capable of delivering a high dose at a rapid rate –and hence able to take advantage of the latest advances in ultrahigh dose -rate “FLASH” radiotherapy. Each accelerating structure will operate at ~ 100 MV/m with the capability of delivering 10s Gy in a highly conformal manner. Part of the Ph.D. will also entail the practicality of steering multiple linacs to the treatment area –and hence investigate “freezing” patient motion. This will entail a collaboration with the University of Manchester, Daresbury Lab., Elekta and CERN.

There will be RF, beam dynamics, vacuum science, and mechanical engineering aspects to this project. The practicalities of realising a VHEE radiotherapy machine within a realistic timeframe will be explored. The project has analytical, simulation, and experimental aspects to the research. The direction of the research will be decided according to the interest and aptitude of the student.

This studentship is funded by STFC for 4 years. The student will be based at the University of Manchester and the Cockcroft Institute and will be expected to collaborate closely with Elekta and will be encouraged communicate all results at CERN-hosted conferences and similar events.

For further information please contact:Graeme.burt@cockcroft.ac.uk 

+44 (0) 161 275 4150 / +44 (0) 1925 603797


The University of Manchester
Design of a Compact Cyclotron for Proton Therapy 

Project description: Superconducting cyclotrons are becoming the mainstay of modern proton-based radiotherapy, with several companies now offering treatment solutions based on the use of 230-250 MeV-output cyclotrons which are suitable for deep-seated tumours in adult treatments. However, delivery of low-energy protons from 30 to 70 MeV using these large cyclotrons is technically problematic and a lower-energy design – suitable for example for eye therapy and other shallow treatments – is needed; Clatterbridge Cancer Centre developed the world’s first hospital proton therapy service of any kind, but is now looking to replace its machine with a more modern, sophisticated variant with the assistance of Antaya Science and Technology; Antaya is an accelerator development company with world-leading experience in designing medical cyclotrons.

This PhD project will entail using Antaya’s experience and technology platform, and apply it to Clatterbridge’s clinical requirements to develop a cyclotron design and associated beam delivery system, intended to be a replacement for the present treatment system at Clatterbridge. The successful candidate will split their studies between the Cockcroft Institute (Cheshire, UK, working on beam delivery design), the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (Wirral, UK, performing measurements and developing a clinical specification), and the development facility of Antaya Science and Technology (New Hampshire, USA, working on cyclotron design). It is envisaged that about 6 months’ of the candidate’s time will be spend overseas in the USA.

Qualifications applicants should have/expect to receive: The successful candidate will have or expect to obtain a first or upper second-class degree or equivalent (e.g. MPhys, MSci) in physics. Experience of accelerator physics and computational physics is desirable but not essential.

The project is fully funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council for 4 years; UK and other EU citizens are eligible to apply. A full package of training and support will be provided by the Cockcroft Institute, and the student will take part in a vibrant accelerator research and education community of over 150 people. An IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required.

Application Deadline 30th September 2017

For further information please contact: Hywel.owen@manchester.ac.uk or Graeme.burt@cockcroft.ac.uk 

+44 (0) 161 275 4150 / +44 (0) 1925 603797

http://www.manchester.ac.uk/postgraduate/howtoapply/ 

 


University of Liverpool
Design and Optimisation of Ultra-compact High Resolution X-ray Imaging Systems 

Project description:

The Cockcroft Institute – a collaboration between academia, national laboratories, and industry – brings together the best scientists and engineers to conceive, construct and exploit particle accelerators of all sizes, and to lead the UK’s participation in flagship international facilities. We are offering fully funded PhD studentships (for UK nationals) with a strong industry focus in collaboration with leading industrial partners, including 3-6 months’ work placements, to establish a 5 person cohort in a new STFC funded Doctoral Training Centre in the application of accelerators. Students will receive additional training in skills relevant for industry to aid employability on completion.

We are offering a PhD project on the Design and Optimisation of Ultra-compact High Resolution X-ray Imaging Systems at Liverpool University. The most common X-ray sources are X-ray tubes or isotope sources. While simulations of the latter are quite straight forward and minimum information is required to model them, the simulation of the former is usually very demanding. Specifically, in order to make accurate predictions about the source performance and hence final image quality, a plethora of parameters need to be considered in simulations, including the cathode material, voltage distributions, electron beam intensity and shape, material of any filters or window, as well as the geometry of collimators. There is currently no simulation framework available that can adequately predict source performance and final image quality in terms of 3D image resolution, contrast/dynamic range, noise level, etc. Working closely with UK company Adaptix on the overall design of the imaging system, you will simulate the performance using the Monte Carlo codes FLUKA and Geant4 where the QUASAR Group has already extensive experience. You will then design an ultra-compact emitter array and characterise it in detail. In a next step you will contribute to the overall optimisation of the imaging system in terms of final image quality and resolution, developing and using realistic phantoms. You will spend a minimum of 6-months at the company. This will familiarise you with the practical aspects of source design, manufacture and operation, as well as the possibility of benchmarking your simulation results against experimental data. Finally, you will carry out R&D into image processing and analysis algorithms that will help optimise data processing speed, image quality and overall imaging system performance.

Fully funded by STFC

Application Deadline 30th September 2017

For further information please contact:

Carsten.welsch@cockcroft.ac.uk or Graeme.burt@cockcroft.ac.uk 

+44 (0)151 794 3364 / +44 (0)1925 864352

 


University of Strathclyde
Development of a short pulse electron gun for security linear accelerators 

Project description:

PhD Project Descriptor: Thermionic Cathode gridded electron gun for RF linac

The Cockcroft Institute – a collaboration between academia, national laboratories, and industry – brings together the best scientists and engineers to conceive, construct and exploit particle accelerators of all sizes, and to lead the UK’s participation in flagship international facilities. We are offering fully funded four-year PhD studentships (for UK/EU nationals) with a strong industry focus in collaboration with leading industrial partners, including 3-6 months’ work placements, to establish a 5 person cohort in a new STFC funded Doctoral Training Centre in the application of accelerators. Students will receive additional training in skills relevant for industry to aid employability on completion.

The next generation of security linacs will likely operate with shorter pulses and higher repetition frequencies to improve material separation, single photon counting or to enable backscattered X-rays to be employed. However no such commercial linac exists already, however by utilising RF design methodology and techniques employed in high gradient accelerators and utilising existing alternative RF sources such a linac could be realised. A crucial technology that will enable short pulse operation will be the incorporation of a gridded thermionic cathode electron gun to modulate the electron beam. This project aims to design and model a thermionic cathode gridded electron gun for the linac. The gridded electron gun design will be developed by the University of Strathclyde in collaboration with TMD Technologies Ltd who have a track record of providing similar electron beam sources for high power microwave amplifiers. The student will take a six month placement in TMDs Technologies Ltd, Hayes Middlesex factory to incorporate in the design knowledge and understanding of the grid structure to enable high duty cycle operation while minimising beam interception. TMD Technologies Ltd will also make available to the student expertise of high voltage power supplies and isolation needed to apply voltage to the grid to modulate the beam. In addition the student would be involved in upgrading and running the Cockcroft Institute’s existing RF linac facility to test the latest X-ray detector developments and to understand the requirements of any new linacs.

Fully funded by STFC

Application Deadline 30th September 2017

For further information please contact:

a.w.cross@strath.ac.uk or Graeme.burt@cockcroft.ac.uk 

+44 (0)141 548 4614

 


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