The goal of the EuPRAXIA project is to demonstrate that high-energy plasma-based accelerators can provide beam quality suitable for industrial and academic use. It is the important intermediate step between proof-of-principle experiments and ground-breaking, ultra-compact accelerators for science, industry, medicine or even particle physics at the energy frontier.
ASTeC has been a member of this collaboration since the start and has made significant contributions to the results presented in the Conceptual Design Report that was published in 2019 [link http://www.eupraxia-project.eu/eupraxia-conceptual-design-report.html] – the result of a 4 year study funded by the European Union.
The study has identified the benefits of both laser driven and electron beam driven plasma accelerators and so proposals for two EuPRAXIA sites are being developed. In addition five centres of excellence are proposed across Europe, each focused upon a different priority area. The UK has chosen to lead on the advanced application beamline centre – taking advantage of the key expertise within ASTeC and elsewhere in the UK.
One of the possible applications of EuPRAXIA is as the driver for a free electron laser; ASTeC continues to apply our expertise in FELs to understand how the electron beams from EuPRAXIA can be matched to the needs of an FEL. This is not simple, as this new type of accelerator produces quite different beam parameters to conventional accelerators making it very challenging to then drive an FEL. We plan to use our test facility, CLARA, in collaboration with other EuPRAXIA partners, to gain a deeper understanding of the practical challenges involved and to try out some possible solutions.