Accelerating Antimatter in Plasmas - New Approaches to Overcome a Long-standing Challenge
The discovery of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle responsible for endowing all other particles with mass, is one of the major discoveries of the last decade. To unlock the mysteries of the subatomic world, physicists use the world’s most powerful microscopes — particle colliders. But as we push the resolving power of these microscopes —the particle energy— even higher, conventional accelerator techniques are attaining their limits and new concepts are emerging. The use of an ionized gas —or plasma— circumvents the most significant barrier of conventional techniques by increasing the energy gained per unit length by several orders of magnitude. While plasma accelerators have made considerable progress, the major challenge of the acceleration of the electron antimatter counterpart, the positron, hasn’t been resolved yet. This is however mandatory to apply plasma accelerators to particle colliders. This project will aim to address this long-standing challenge of positron acceleration in plasmas. Several research avenues will be pursued, in particular positron acceleration in self-loaded plasma wakefields and in hollow plasma channels.