Pulse generator for a scalable discharge plasma source for the AWAKE experiment


  • Call:

    PT-CERN Call 2021/1

  • Academic Year:


  • Domain:


  • Supervisor:

    José Fernando Alves da Silva

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Nelson Lopes

  • Institution:

    Instituto Superior Técnico (Universidade de Lisboa)

  • Host Institution:

    Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear -IPFN

  • Abstract:

    The PhD program is included in the intermediate and final stages of development of a new plasma source based on direct current discharges on long dielectric tubes filled with rarefied gases (Argon and Xenon), being developed by IST (in collaboration with CERN and Imperial College) for the AWAKE experiment running in CERN. This scalable plasma source will be tested in for the first time in 2022 in electron acceleration experiments using the 400 GeV SPS proton beam (AWAKE Run 2-B - 10 m long plasmas). In the medium term, the more ambitious goal is to add an acceleration section in the AWAKE experiment of at least 50 m by 2027 (AWAKE Run 2-C) based on this technology aiming to demonstrate the scalability of plasma accelerators to energies relevant for HEP. The thesis program is dedicated to the innovative electrical component of the plasma source. Unprecedented uniformity and reproducibility of the plasma density profiles, low cost of construction and operation and low-average-power requirements are achieved by an innovative “ignition + heater” pulsed-power electric circuit developed specially to scale plasma sections to tens of meters and enable the grouping of consecutive plasma sections in series making the plasma length-scalable. In the long term, the technologies developed in this thesis may enable the use TeV hadron beams to produce multi-TeV high quality lepton beam for HEP studies. But the new technologies to ignite and control the temperature of large plasmas in short microsecond short pulses using reliable solid stage-based circuits are relevant to extend new techniques for treatment/elimination of gaseous pollutants (e.g. methane and toxins) to massive industrial use contributing to a cleaner air.