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ERC-European Research Council (ERC)

Staging of Plasma Accelerators for Realizing Timely Applications

Tildelt: kr 17,1 mill.






2024 - 2028


Staging of Plasma Accelerators for Realizing Timely Applications

High-energy physics is headed for an impasse: the next particle collider will cost several billion euros, and while designs have been ready for a decade, they are so expensive that no host country has come forward—a problem that will soon impact progress in the field. Plasma acceleration is a novel technology promising to fix this issue—with accelerating fields 1000 times larger than in conventional machines, the size and cost of future accelerators can be drastically reduced. However, there is a gap between what current plasma accelerators can do and what the next collider requires. Therefore, a recent R&D roadmap (European Strategy for Particle Physics) calls for intensified plasma-accelerator research, as well as an intermediate demonstrator facility. SPARTA tackles two basic problems in plasma acceleration: to reach high energy by connecting multiple accelerator stages without degrading the accelerated beam, and to do so in a stable manner. Access to stable, high-energy electron beams at a fraction of today’s cost will enable ground-breaking advances in strong-field quantum electrodynamics (SFQED), an important near-term experiment that doubles as a demo facility. I have proposed two concepts for overcoming these problems: nonlinear plasma lenses for transport between stages, and a new mechanism for self-stabilization. Can these concepts be realized in practice? Making use of numerical simulations and beam-based experiments at international accelerator labs, this project has 3 objectives: 1. Develop nonlinear plasma lenses experimentally; 2. Investigate self-stabilization, theoretically and experimentally; 3. Design a plasma-accelerator facility for SFQED. Reaching this goal will not only impact high-energy physics, producing advances in SFQED and as a major step toward realizing a collider, but also society at large: applications of high-energy electrons, from bright x-ray beams to advanced cancer treatments, will all become significantly more affordable.


ERC-European Research Council (ERC)