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The terahertz (THz) acceleration group at the Cockcroft Institute is investigating novel concepts for particle acceleration by combining picosecond THz sources with dielectric and metallic structures. Cornerstones of the group's research programme are the CLARA electron accelerator test facility, ultrafast femtosecond laser systems, and a 100 keV electron gun. These facilities are being used at Daresbury Laboratory for proof-of-principle experiments.


The group is comprised of physicists and engineers from Lancaster University, the University of Manchester, and STFC's Accelerator Science and Technology Centre.

CLARA test facility at Daresbury Laboratory. Credit: Science and Technology Facilities Council
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Join Us at the Cockcroft

Postgraduate Opportunities

We offer a range of PhD and MPhil projects. If you are interested in pursuing a postgraduate degree in the group, please contact us

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Undergraduate Opportunities

Summer research projects are available for undergraduate Physics and Engineering students. Please get in touch if you are considering applying for a placement in the group.

Postdoctoral Research Opportunities

TWO NEW - Research Associate Jobs available now  
Senior RA in laser-driven electron acceleration - 10th July

THz Source Development for Novel Acceleration - 14th July

If you are interested in joining the group for postdoctoral research, funding is also available through established fellowships (including STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowships, EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowships, Marie Curie individual fellowships, Royal Society Fellowships and others); please feel free to contact us to discuss your research plans.

Our group member, Dr Morgan Hibberd from the University of Manchester, holds the first STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship to be given in the field of accelerator physics

Key Publications

Acceleration of relativistic beams using laser-generated terahertz pulses

Nature Photonics 14, 755 (2020)

DOI: 10.1038/s41566-020-0674-1

We demonstrate acceleration of a relativistic electron beam in a THz-driven linear accelerator. Narrowband THz pulses were phase-velocity-matched with 35 MeV, 60 pC electron bunches, imparting multi-cycle energy modulation to chirped (6 ps) bunches and injection-phase-dependent energy gain (up to 10 keV) to sub-cycle (2 ps) bunches. These results establish a route to whole-bunch linear acceleration of sub-picosecond particle beams, directly applicable to scaled-up and multi-staged concepts capable of preserving beam quality.

Demonstration of sub-luminal propagation of single-cycle terahertz pulses for particle acceleration 
Nature Commun. 8, 421 (2017)

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00490-y

We describe and demonstrate a method for generating single-cycle terahertz pulses that propagate with an effective sub-luminal phase velocity, and without distortion during propagation.  This novel travelling source approach fulfils the requirement for a sub-luminal phase velocity in laser-driven particle acceleration schemes without the need for dispersive structures or waveguides to extend the field-particle interaction.

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