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Join Us

The Cockcroft Institute is the UK’s largest educator of accelerator science and technology PhD students, and offers exciting studentships in physics and engineering.


Cockcroft postgraduates spend 3 to 4 years working on a specialised project in the field of accelerator science and technology. Hands-on experience is also available for our students on our research facilities (CLARA) and all postgraduates attend a two-year accelerator science educational programme. Students are registered at one of the partner universities within the group (Lancaster or Manchester) but may also be supervised by staff at the Accelerator science and technology centre (ASTeC) within the Science and Technology Facilities Council.


If you are interested in working within the THz acceleration group then please contact us in the first instance. We normally have fully-funded PhD studentships, which include a stipend to support living expenses.

The PhD project descriptions listed below are provided to give applicants a flavour of what research study is available. We can offer projects which are predominately experimental, predominately theoretical or an equal balance of the two,

THz-driven non-relativistic to relativistic beams for electron diffraction

Focused on the creation of MeV-scale electron beams using THz-beam interactions to create a beam suitable for electron diffraction. By combining a THz source with our new understanding of the THz-electron interaction this project will explore a new scheme to create several-MeV electron beams with a high beam quality suitable for electron diffraction. This requires solving problems of using multiple THz interactions to accelerate and manipulate the beam, whilst preserving the electron beam quality. Recent work by the Cockcroft Institute group on chained waveguides in the MeV regime show that control of slice and projected emittance is possible in these THz systems. The researcher will join our running experimental programme of compressing the 100 keV bunches with THz driven velocity bunching and deflecting them using high field THz sources in dielectric lined waveguides. 

Ultrafast laser driven acceleration of relativistic electron beams


The THz acceleration group have developed internationally leading approaches to laser-driven particle accelerators. Our research, which involves a combination of femtosecond laser non-linear optics and sub-mm structures for electromagnetic-electron beam interactions, featured as the cover article in Nature Photonics in December 2020.

An opportunity is now available for a talented physicist to join our research programme as a PhD student. The experimentally-focused studentship will investigate the interaction of intense THz electromagnetic pulses (generated by non-linear optics and ultrafast lasers) with 100 keV and >50 MeV electron beams.

The student will join a vibrant team of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. The research team have extensive laser and electron beam experimental facilities at STFC Daresbury National Laboratory, Lancaster and Manchester universities, and access to relativistic beam test accelerators at the National Laboratory.

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