Lab in a bubble

Project: Research



Joint applicant

  • Lancaster University
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of St Andrews

Project partner

  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • ELI-HU Non-Profit Ltd
  • Eli-Beamlines
  • Friedrich-Schiller- University Jena
  • Instituto Superior Tecnico (Universidade de Lisboa)
  • NPL Management Limited
  • STFC (Daresbury Laboratory)
  • Technische Universitaet Darmstadt
  • Tsinghua University
  • Universidad de Salamanca
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Texas at Austin


"The lab in a bubble project is a timely investigation of the interaction of charged particles with radiation inside and in the vicinity of relativistic plasma bubbles created by intense ultra-short laser pulses propagating in plasma. It builds on recent studies carried out by the ALPHA-X team of coherent X-ray radiation from the laser-plasma wakefield accelerator and high field effects where radiation reaction becomes important. The experimental programme will be carried out using high power lasers and investigate new areas of physics where single-particle and collective radiation reaction and quantum effects become important, and where non-linear coupling and instabilities between beams, laser, plasma and induced fields develop, which result in radiation and particle beams with unique properties. Laser-plasma interactions are central to all problems studied and understanding their complex and often highly non-linear interactions gives a way of controlling the bubble and beams therein. To investigate the rich range of physical processes, advanced theoretical and experimental methods will be applied and advantage will be taken of know-how and techniques developed by the teams. New analytical and numerical methods will be developed to enable planning and interpreting results from experiments. Advanced experimental methods and diagnostics will be developed to probe the bubble and characterise the beams and radiation. An important objective will be to apply the radiation and beams in selected proof-of-concept applications to the benefit of society.
The project is involves a large group of Collaborators and Partners, who will contribute to both theoretical and experimental work. The diverse programme is managed through a synergistic approach where there is strong linkage between work-packages, and both theoretical and experiential methodologies are applied bilaterally: experiments are informed by theory at planning and data interpretation stages, and theory is steered by the outcome of experimental studies, which results in a virtuous circle that advances understanding of the physics inside and outside the lab in a bubble. We also expect to make major advances in high field physics and the development of a new generation of compact coherent X-ray sources."
Effective start/end date1/04/1631/03/20


  • EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council): £4,494,682.00

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