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Peter specialises in the conception, design, simulation and commissioning of electron accelerators; in particular linacs for driving free-electron lasers (FELs). He is a leading expert in the beam dynamics of energy recovery linacs (ERLs), having a decade of experimental experience on Daresbury's ALICE ERL driven FEL. 

Peter is currently the lead accelerator physics designer for CLARA, the UKs national FEL test facility currently under construction and commissioning at Daresbury. Peter is also the lead accelerator physicist for the UK-XFEL facility proposal. He is a leading proponent of ERLs for light sources (UK-XFEL), nuclear physics (US Electron-Ion Collider) and particle physics (PERLE / LHeC / FCC-eh) applications. Peter has served on the European Committee for Future Accelerators Laboratory Directors Group Panel on R&D for Energy Recovery Linacs, producing a roadmap to steer global R&D in the 2020s and beyond.

Peter has been involved design and experimental activities for many international accelerator projects, notably MAX-IV, FERMI@Elettra and an industrial chip lithography FEL design. 


Peter is currently investigating new applications for high energy, high current electron beams, in particular the industrial and academic opportunities enabled by the production of monoenergetic gamma rays via inverse Compton scattering.

Peter has an ongoing interest in novel applications of particle accelerator technology. For example, he initiated a programme utilising high quality microwave cavities to search for additional massive photons and axions – possible candidates for dark matter.

Peter is currently supervising five PhD students:

  • Gustavo Perez-Segurana (Lancaster) - investigating longitudinal properties of multipass ERLs for future light source and nuclear physics facilities
  • Joe Crone (Manchester) – co-supervising with Hywel Owen & Bruno Muratori – investigating inverse Compton sources driven by ERLs
  • Adam Dixon (Liverpool) - investigating CSR in bunch compressor systems for FCC-ee and MAX-IV
  • Alex Morris (Liverpool) – investigating inverse Compton gamma source design and applications
  • Lily Berman (Strathclyde) - investigating possible plasma wakefield driven XFEL techniques.

Peter has previously supervised three PhD students:

  • Alex Brynes - graduated 2021, thesis “Microbunching and Coherent Synchrotron Radiation in Linear Free Electron Lasers" University of Liverpool, now staff Accelerator Physicist at Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste
  • Bill Kyle - graduated 2019, thesis “Characterisation of Coherent Radiation in Short-Bunch Linac Driven FELs", University of Manchester, firstly postdoc at MAX-IV, Sweden, now staff Accelerator Physicist at ISIS Neutron Source
  • Nathan Woollett - graduated 2015, thesis “A Dark Photon Search by Shining Light Through Walls", University of Lancaster, firstly postdoc at LBNL, USA, now Senior Quantum Engineer at Rigetti Computing

Peter has also supervised two year-in-industry students; Billy Liggins (progressed to PhD study at Queen Mary University) and Matthew Toplis (progressed to PhD study at UCL) and one postdoctoral researcher; Matti Kalliokoski (progressed to CERN fellow, then researcher at Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia, now researcher at Helsinki Institute of Physics).

Peter was a committee member of the Institute of Physics Particle Accelerators and Beams group from 2009 - 2020, and was secretary of the group from 2012 – 2016. He was elected Fellow of the IOP in 2020.

Peter is author of 31 peer-reviewed journal articles, 81 conference proceedings and 5 accelerator facility conceptual design reports. 

For further details see: 

the epubs pag




A graduate of Edinburgh University, Peter completed his PhD in 2003 in theoretical high energy physics at Durham University. He then undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Oklahoma and Brookhaven National Laboratory in the United States, where he calculated cross sections related to Higgs production at the LHC. Peter joined the ASTeC Accelerator Physics group in June 2006.