SCAPA gears up for first accelerator operations

The Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-Based Accelerators, SCAPA, creates a state-of-the-art environment for collaborative research that will support research, development and application of laser-driven accelerators and next-generation radiation sources. It will promote collaboration between academia and industry, and enable engagement of the UK research community with large international projects. SCAPA houses two high power lasers to drive accelerators and radiation sources, one high-repetition laser for target manufacture and diagnostics, 7 beam lines in three shielded areas, a control room and preparation laboratories.

The template for SCAPA is the current successful EPSRC-funded ALPHA-X project led by the Director of SCAPA Prof. Dino Jaroszynski. The current ALPHA-X 40 TW laser and ALPHA-X beamline have been transferred into SCAPA with operations re-starting in late 2016. A 350 TW laser has been delivered in October 2016 with commissioning until January 2017. It is the long term objective of research at SCAPA to develop laser-driven radiation sources to make them more widely available as tools for scientists e.g. femtosecond X-ray sources for probing the structure of matter, radiation and particles beams and radionuclides for medical imaging and radiotherapy, proton, ion and gamma ray beams for energy research (laser-driven fusion) and radiation sources for testing the integrity of stored nuclear waste, and space and fusion equipment damage testing.