Theory Division

Theoretical Quantum Dynamics and Quantum Electrodynamics



PhD student – Particle acceleration and short-wavelength radiation generation in ultra-intense laser-plasma interaction

After the advent of chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) technique in late 80s, there has been a constant push for reaching new laser intensity frontiers. Current state of the art systems can produce a peak laser intensity Il ≈ 1022 W/cm2 with few femtoseconds long pulse duration. Interaction of such an intense laser pulse with the ordinary matter converts the latter into the so-called plasma state. Intense laser-plasma interaction is a frontier area of research and has many exciting applications ranging from the laser-driven fusion to the building of the compact advanced particle accelerators and next generation radiation (x-rays) sources. At ultra-high intensities Il >> 1022 W/cm2, there is a need to take into account the effects of the radiation reaction force on the particle dynamics and quantum electrodynamics (QED) processes, such as electron-positron pair-production, on the collective plasma dynamics of the particles. The radiation reaction force and pair-production cause strong laser-energy depletion in the ultra-relativistic regime of the laser-plasma interaction. These two processes effectively could provide an efficient laser-energy coupling to plasma particles, leading to enhanced particle acceleration and copious amount of short-wavelength radiation generation. This project focuses on the detailed analytical and numerical investigation of the influence of the QED effects on particle acceleration (both electrons and ions) and short-wavelength radiation generation in plasmas. For carrying out the numerical studies, a particle-in-cell (PIC) code (written in Fortran 90)-which runs on several hundred processors on the MPIK cluster-including the radiation reaction force and pair-production is employed.

Working on this project will provide a good opportunity to learn about the current state of the research in the areas of the advanced particle accelerators and new generation of short-wavelength radiation sources. Moreover, knowledge about the plasma instabilities and particle-in-cell simulation method in laser-plasma interaction will be gained, which are indispensable tools for research in the intense laser-plasma interaction. The candidate is expected to carry out both analytical and numerical investigations under adequate guidance, and should be ready to learn about the scientific computation/visualization tools such as Matlab and VisIt.

The research project will be carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK), Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. Please send your application including CV, list of publications/scientific contributions and MSc certificate by email to Equal opportunity is a cornerstone policy of the Max Planck Society (MPG), and women as well as disabled people are particularly encouraged to apply. This position is open and applicants are invited as of now.

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