EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S010319/1
Title: Quantum phenomena in high-intensity laser-matter interactions
Principal Investigator: Ilderton, Dr A
Other Investigators:
King, Dr B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Chalmers University of Technology
Department: Sch of Computing, Electronics & Maths
Organisation: University of Plymouth
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2018 Ends: 31 October 2020 Value (£): 362,147
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Plasmas - Laser & Fusion
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Jul 2018 EPSRC Physical Sciences - July 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
A new era of high-intensity laser experiments has begun.

Recent UK experiments, in which beams of ultra-relativistic electrons were collided with intense laser pulses, have shown that it is possible not only to use intense lasers to probe fundamental physics, but also to generate radiation sources with unique properties, which find applications across the sciences. Such experiments are extremely challenging, and despite recent successes there is disagreement over to what extent quantum effects have been observed. Discrepancies between experimental results and theoretical predictions have been attributed to the numerical models of quantum effects employed in Particle-In-Cell (PIC) codes used to simulate and analyse experiments.

A host of new experiments will begin this year, and will be able to probe the transition from classical to quantum physics in intense electromagnetic fields. It is therefore critical that we improve our understanding of theoretical models, and their implementations, in order to ensure that theoretical predictions and analyses keep up with experimental progress.

To meet this urgent experimental demand we propose developing existing theory on two fronts.

On one front, we will extend existing models to include currently neglected processes (such as absorption and trident pair production) in a systematic way that can be immediately employed by simulators. On the second front, we will analyse a number of quantum effects which cannot be captured by existing numerical models (but which become relevant in e.g. the overlapping field geometries of future facilities, or in dense electron bunches), assess their importance to experimental campaigns, and develop a methodology to implement them numerically, going beyond current models.

Doing so requires a team of researchers who are not only experts in the theory of quantum effects in intense laser physics, but who also have the experience required to understand numerical implementation and experimental analyses. This is not a case of benchmarking existing codes, already well-covered in the literature. What is needed, rather, is a "top down", approach which can verify, and improve upon, the models of quantum effects which are used in the codes.

Plymouth hosts an established, world-leading research group in the area of intense laser-matter interactions. Staff members are research-active and well-known in the community as experts in the theory of quantum effects in intense laser physics. Furthermore, the Investigators attached to this project are actively involved in experimental efforts, being for example part of the team which recently demonstrated radiation reaction in laser-matter collisions in an experiment at the UK's Central Laser Facility.

As such the Investigators have precisely the right skillset to undertake this timely project and deliver new results of import to a wide community of physicists. This will help maintain the UK's world-leading capabilities in the active research area of intense laser-matter interactions.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Impacts
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Summary
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.plym.ac.uk