Personal web page : http://iramis.cea.fr/Pisp/henri.vincenti/
Laboratory link : http://iramis.cea.fr/LIDYL/PHI/
More : https://www.picsar.net
With the advent of PetaWatt (PW) class lasers capable of achieving light intensities of 10^22W.cm-2 at which matter turns into a plasma, Ultra-High Intensity (UHI) physics now aims at solving two major challenges: can we produce high-charge compact particle accelerators with high-beam quality that will be essential to push forward the horizons of high energy science? Can we reach extreme light intensities approaching the Schwinger limit 10^29W.cm-2, beyond which light self-focuses in vacuum and electron-positrons pairs are produced? Solving these major questions with the current generation of high-power lasers will require conceptual breakthroughs that will be developed during this PhD.
In particular, the goal of this PhD proposal is to demonstrate that so-called ‘relativistic plasma mirrors’, produced when a high-power laser hits a solid target, can provide simple and elegant paths to solve these two challenges. Upon reflection on a plasma mirror surface, lasers can produce high-charge relativistic electron bunches and bright short-wavelength attosecond harmonic beams. Could we use plasma mirrors to tightly focus harmonic beams and reach extreme light intensities, potentially approaching the Schwinger limit? Could we employ plasma mirrors as high-charge electron injectors in a PW laser capable of delivering accelerating gradients of 100TV.m-1, or in a laser wakefield accelerator, to build ultra-compact particle accelerators?
The mission of the PhD candidate will be to answer these two interrogations ‘on-chip’ using massively parallel simulations on the largest supercomputers in the world. To this end, the successful candidate will make use of our recent transformative developments in ‘first principles’ Particle-In-Cell (PIC) simulations of UHI laser-plasma interactions that enabled the 3D modelling of plasma mirror sources with high-fidelity on current petascale and future exascale supercomputers. These developments were recently implemented, validated and tested in our code PICSAR (https://www.picsar.net). Armed with PICSAR, the candidate will model novel schemes employing plasma mirrors to address the two UHI challenges introduced above.