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Rutherford International Fellowship Programme: First Fellowships Awarded

Following a call for proposals in 2015, the first RIFP Fellows have been appointed and are starting the next stage of their careers at STFC and the Diamond Light Source. 13 Fellows will spend 2 years working on their chosen projects and benefiting from the available STFC and Diamond facilities and expertise.

The range of projects is very broad, and includes: developing technologies for next-generation accelerators and high-power lasers; development of synchrotron x-ray-based techniques for biological tissue imaging; exploration of new materials for clean energy production; fundamental neutron, muon and x-ray studies of materials with novel electronic and magnetic properties; studying the laws of nature beyond the standard model of particle physics; developing telescopic techniques for measuring velocities and elemental abundances of stars in our galaxy, and studies of massive stars in binary systems; and developing microelectronic fabrication technologies for THz imaging systems, and additive manufacturing technology for astronomy instrumentation.

The individual projects are listed here.

Fellow name Department Project title Brief summary of project
Omid Seify ASTeC Optimization of NEG coating for Particle Accelerator Non-evaporable getter coating, originally invented at CERN, is already used in many accelerators due to three main properties: (1) it reduces thermal and photon, electron and ion induced gas desorption acting as a barrier between a vacuum chamber material and an inner vacuum; (2) a fully coated vacuum chamber has large distributed pumping speed, the benefit of this is essential for the narrow vessels with a limited vacuum conductance; (3) the NEG coating has low secondary electron (SEY) yield that helps to supress electron multipacting and electron cloud in high intensity accelerators. Over recent years ASTeC made good progress and continue to work on further development of NEG coatings in reducing NEG activation temperature, improving pumping properties as well as reducing photon and electron stimulated desorption. The results of this study will be directly applicable for high intensity positively charged beam accelerators such as HL-LHC, CLIC, FCC, etc., and synchrotron radiation sources. The NEG coating is the most promising and cheap solution providing a complex solution for a vacuum system of the next generation accelerators. The vacuum properties of NEG coatings as well as their behaviour at cryogenic temperatures will be in a focus of the research to provide the solution for Future Circular Collider (FCC) which design has commenced with a support of EuroCirCol EU H2020 programme.
Puneet Tyagi ASTeC Electron cloud mitigation with laser induced micro/nanosurface structure Electron cloud (e-cloud) is a limiting factor of the performance of many devices. In particle accelerators, e-cloud can create beam instabilities, emittance growth and beam lost; in radio frequency wave guides, e-cloud can cause power lost and damage to waveguide surface; in detectors, it can create large signal background. In order to mitigate the e-cloud, different procedures have been currently applied which are very expensive and not easy to apply in existing facilities. Recent discovery of the laser induced micro/nano surface structures (LIMNSS) at ASTeC to mitigate the e-cloud effect has attracted tremendous amount of interests due to its huge potential for application at large surfaces with reduced cost. In this project, detailed studies on LIMNSS process on different and large surfaces will be performed.
Kevin Glize Central Laser Facility Experimental study of SBS driven energy transfer: promising way for amplification, compression and control of short optical beam. Generation of short and high power laser pulses is of primary importance to further carry on studies on fields of high density energy physics (HEDP) and alternative ignition schemes of inertial fusion confinement (ICF). However current techniques of amplification and compression have reached light power sustained limitations of solid optical material. Plasma medium are a natural way to overcome these limitations: it can support intensities up to 5 orders of magnitude larger than solid–state systems. Plasma amplification through stimulated Brillouin scattering is based on an energy transfer from an incident pump beam to a scattered seed one through a driven ionic acoustic wave.   This project purpose is to experimentally study and improve amplification and compression scheme based upon SBS parametric amplification in strong coupling regime, in order to develop a robust plasma-amplifier.   Moreover, SBS energy transfer in weak coupling regime will also be explored because it is of primary importance for both ICF direct and indirect drive schemes where energy transfer occur between crossing beams (CBET). This crossed-beam energy transfer might allow control of spatial amplification distribution and polarization state of the seed beam.
Thi Nguyet Que Nguyen [include photo: Photo_Article_Nguyen.tif] Diamond Light Source Hyperspectral Imaging in Biomedicine: a combined software approach using visible and Synchrotron-based InfraRed microimages in Life Sciences Fourier Transform InfraRed microspectroscopy is a powerful label-free method that allows taking a spectral image reflecting the molecular composition of e.g. organic matter and biomedical specimens, in a non-destructive and non-invasive manner. When coupled with a synchrotron source and two-dimensional focal plane array detector, the IR spectral image quality is enhanced both in terms of maximum spatial resolution and optimal signal-to-noise ratio per pixel. The ultimate goal of the project is to employ synchrotron IR imaging at high magnification via FPA detector (and possibly Raman microscopy/imaging) to achieve hyperspectral analysis and to perform chemometrics, including registering visible with spectral images. Combining spectral imaging with biometric methods could allow spectral histology and pseudo-color-coded image e.g. “digital staining”. Of molecular maps. Software optimization will be coupled with specific research and data taking on B22 on normal colon tissue and validated on pathological tissues, allowing software validation and performing computer-aided detection/diagnostic for e.g. colon diseases. This project has the following milestones: i) development of a graphical user interface, facilitating the visual interpretation and analysis of IR spectral and visible images of the sample; ii) a combined development of biometric/chemometric image analysis, iii) to generate spectral database. As possible development, the construction of a decision model by pattern recognition could be explored with the rationale of future automated IR spectral histology or computer-aided detection/diagnostic
Javier Fernandez-Rodriguez Diamond Light Source Electronic structure of strongly correlated materials studied by x-ray spectroscopies Inside a material electrons remain in their minimum energy state, known as the ground state. The electron occupation of different valence orbitals in the ground state determines the properties of the system. The electrons behaviour is in turn governed by several interactions: electrostatic repulsion amongst the electrons, electromagnetic interaction between the electron's spin and the magnetic field generated by the electrons movement (spin-orbit interaction) and the effect of neighbouring atoms on the orbital energies (ligand field).   The aim of this project is to understand from the analysis of x-ray experiments done in the Diamond Light Source the behaviour of the valence electrons in different materials and determine their electronic ground states. When the behaviour of electrons in a certain material is well understood we can decide how to change the macroscopic properties of the material changing its design, with for example, small changes in its composition, in order to produce materials with useful technological properties. Studies using x-ray spectroscopy can identify candidate systems for technological applications, like information storage in computers, superconductivity, or solar cells.
Axel Wilson Diamond Light Source Exploration of oxide hybrid structures for hydrogen production In this project we address the critical question of alternative production of clean energy using photo-electrocatalysis. Promising discovery were made in the way to successfully produce hydrogen from water using surfaces as a catalyst for the water splitting reaction. In this project we propose to study simultaneously the photocatalytic properties of strontium titanate (STO) based materials in electrolytic conditions. The interface STO/liquid itself has to be designed to meet special characteristics. Two modification of the bare substrate will be made to improve the activity of the interface. The first one is to grow a thin film of STO on Si to reduce its band gap and thus increase the proportion of light eligible to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The second modification is to add on the surface metallic nanostructures which plasmonic properties enhance the photocatalic activity of the interface. These two system will be studied using scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and surface x-ray diffraction (SXRD) in new photo-electrochemical cell making possible the measure of the surface during the reaction.  
Lei Ding ISIS Neutron and Muon Source Neutron scattering studies of novel multiferroic materials The focus of this project lies on the study of multiferroic materials in which both electric dipole order and magnetic order  coexist. These materials have the potential for new technology such as four-state memory and E-write H-read memory. Moreover, multiferroics are of great interest in fundamental research in order to understand the interplay of magnetism and electricity in solid. The precise description of crystal structure and understanding of magnetic structure are crucial to study multiferroics. Diffraction techniques such as neutron and x-ray diffraction have played a powerful role, since they are sensitive to both magnetic ordering and atomic displacements which are both important factors for multiferroics. Known mineral pyroxenes have been chosen as the playground to study the relationship between structure and property, as they have recently been shown to exhibit multiferroic and linear magnetoelectric effect. With the support of state-of-the-art neutron diffractometers at ISIS, we will be able to detect the multiferroic properties by simultaneously applying high pressure and high magnetic field. High pressure will lead to lattice distortion which may vary the magnetic interactions and create electric polarization. With this study, we are aiming to explore novel multiferroics and understand the relevant mechanism for this fascinating property.  
Mattia Gaboardi ISIS Neutron and Muon Source Advanced fullerene-based materials for hydrogen storage The depletion of fossil fuels and the unabated rise in global temperatures have imposed severe limitations on present and future technologies for energy conversion and storage. Hydrogen is a possible solution as a renewable, efficient, and clean energy store, its oxidation leading to the clean emission of water. However, its widespread application by the automotive industry is limited by its low density, not sufficient to compensate for its inherently high energy efficiency. To date, the ability of some materials to absorb hydrogen represents the preferred strategy to meet the above challenges. Nonetheless, industrial applications impose stringent requirements and, so far, no single material has been able to satisfy them simultaneously. Recently, I have participated in the discovery of a new class of fullerene-based materials for hydrogen storage which offer the enticing prospects of meeting current DOE targets, reversibly absorbing large amounts of hydrogen at modest temperatures. This proposal seeks to synthesize new hybrid materials and to establish their mechanism of hydrogen uptake using the unique and world-leading techniques available at the ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source, including the extensive use and further development of gas-sorption equipment for in-situ and operando studies at pressures of industrial and technological relevance.
Luigi Delle Rose Particle Physics Department Searches for Z’, Higgs and heavy neutrinos in generic U(1)’ models within CMS: a  Theory/Experiment collaboration from the GUT to the LHC scale Symmetry principles have become a ruling concept in the investigation of the fundamental laws of nature guiding the  researchers in the physics Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) of the elementary particles. One of the most significant  achievements is the formulation of  Grand Unification Theories (GUTs). These scenarios, if realised in Nature, could leave  some fingerprints at the energies accessible at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment, such as new gauge bosons,  new neutrinos and extra scalar particles with properties similar to the recently discovered Higgs boson. The CMS  members of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) have led for years the experimental searches for these BSM  scenarios, studying their striking signals from the data collected at the LHC run I. Under the theoretical guidance of the  members of the NExT institute, I propose a phenomenological study, in line with the experimental priorities of the CMS  group at RAL, which enforces many of the theoretical features required by the embedding of these models in a GUT  framework. This inter-disciplinary approach, an experimental study interplayed with theoretical motivations, will be  extremely fruitful for a critical interpretation of the data to be acquired at the LHC run II.
Shoko Jin RAL Space WEAVEing Gaia’s thread WEAVE is a new spectroscopic instrument being built for the William Herschel Telescope to survey the Northern Hemisphere sky from La Palma, and due to commence operations in late 2017. WEAVE relies heavily on STFC facilities and UK institutes for current hardware and software developments, and the eventual processing of data following first light. With nearly 1000 fibres that can be allocated to individual celestial objects within a field of view of more than 3 square degrees, WEAVE is a novel instrument that is perfectly timed to complement observations by the Gaia satellite. While Gaia will provide revolutionary astrometric data over the coming few years for Milky Way stars, WEAVE will measure radial velocities and elemental abundances for the same stars within our Galactic system. This project will be underlined by a solid understanding of the instrument and its software as they undergo final developments, assisting in communication and coordination between the engineering and science teams, and the leadership of observations during the science verification phase following instrument commissioning. With its synergy with Gaia, WEAVE is expected to make a significant impact on the field of Galactic archaeology, and this project will contribute significantly towards this goal.
Diego Pardo RAL Space Transforming non-linear THz technology The great scientific content and potential applications in the THz region of the electromagnetic spectrum have motivated an increasing interest in the development of THz instruments. Among the different technologies used as local oscillators of THz heterodyne receivers, electronic sources using Schottky based frequency multipliers are the technology of choice since they are compact, robust and work both at room and cryogenic temperatures. The main limiting factor of the current Schottky based multipliers is the rapid roll off of the efficiency and the output power as the operation frequency increases. However, physics-based simulations show that a significant improvement on the performance of the THz circuits can be achieved. This project proposes the development and implementation of techniques that will substantially advance STFC/RAL Space Schottky diode fabrication technology in support of the creation of next generation terahertz (THz) detection systems. The proposed approaches will use a new design methodology based on physics-based Monte Carlo circuit simulators. In addition, novel fabrication techniques based on micromachining technology, improved electron beam lithography and integration techniques are proposed for the fabrication of the THz circuits. To demonstrate these techniques, a frequency multiplier chain up to 2.7 THz will be fabricated.
Oscar Hernan Ramirez Agudelo UKATC Properties of massive stars: single and binaries Massive stars are the most important cosmic engines driving the evolution of galaxies throughout the history of the Universe. As a large fraction of them occur in close binary systems, accurate knowledge of their binary properties (e.g. rotation, orbital parameters, etc.) is crucial to understand their role in (massive) stellar evolution. Distributions of their orbital parameters (e.g., periods, mass ratios and eccentricities) are the tracers of massive star formation and their early dynamical cluster evolution. They also determine the frequency of evolved massive binary systems (e.g., compact binaries, Type Ib/c supernovae, and long-­‚Äźduration gamma-­ray bursts). Unfortunately, little is known about these properties. Based on the VLT-­FLAMES Tarantula Survey (VFTS, PI. Evans), William Taylor and Chris Evans (at UKATC) 2 have recently secured a follow-up observing campaign for B-type binaries in the VFTS. I propose to move to the UKATC to bring the skills from my PhD to this project, while also broadening my experience at this prestigious technology centre. The goals for my project are to look at the rotation and orbital properties of these B-type binaries, to describe the frequency of core collapse supernovae, and to link these results with theory.
Carolyn Atkins UKATC Additive manufacturing for the next generation of astronomical components Additive manufacturing (3D printing) has truly revolutionized the fabrication of a wide range of components, from bespoke spanners printed upon the International Space Station, to replica hearts to aid doctors prepare for surgery. The majority of these applications can be considered low accuracy components, where the tolerances range from 0.1mm to 0.01mm on a dimension. However, it is the objective of this research project to expand the use of additive manufacturing to the high accuracy domain of precision astronomical optics and components, with emphasis on space based X-ray optics. There are a multitude of advantages of additive manufacturing which could be applied to astronomical components, such as the ability to quickly manufacture bespoke pieces in house; to lightweight a piece without material removal; integrating a reflective surface with a support structure; and rapid prototyping. Therefore the end goal of this research project is to produce a number of prototypes, both with and without reflective surfaces, which demonstrate potential for the next generation of research grade astronomical components and with the ultimate aim that additive manufacturing becomes a ‘go-to’ technology for astronomical components in the future.

Last updated: 13 July 2017


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