PhD studentships

PhD Studentships

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a number of PhD studentship awards available within the Centre of Plasma Physics.

The awards will pay full fees and maintenance of circa £14,553 per annum for UK Nationals or UK-residents of more than 3 years (nationality restrictions apply). Non-UK resident EU students are eligible for a fee only studentship. Candidates should hold the equivalent of a 1st class or 2:1 Honours degree in physics or a related subject. Preference will be given to candidates with a Masters degree.

Studentship funding will be associated to the following projects.


EPSRC-NPL  i-CASE Studentship

Project title:  Calorimetry techniques for absolute dosimetry of laser-­driven ion beams

1st Supervisor: Professor Marco Borghesi, Centre for Plasma Physics, Queen’s University Belfast

2nd Supervisor: Dr Francesco Romano, National Physical Laboratory, Teddington (London)


 Particle acceleration techniques based on the use of intense, ultra-short laser pulses are emerging as an alternative approach for the compact generation and delivery of energetic particle beams, with potential interest as a future driver for particle therapy of cancer.  Laser accelerated ion beams are characterized by peculiar features such as broad energy and angular distributions and, not least, extremely high dose-rate per pulse, requiring novel, tailored approaches for characterizing and measuring the dose they deliver.

 Calorimetry techniques, measuring the temperature rise resulting from particle irradiation in an absorber, are arguably the ideal choice for an accurate measurement of absolute dose under these extreme conditions, and calorimeters have been well established as primary standard level instruments for dosimetry. However, their application to laser-driven beams is not trivial given the distinct time-dependent and “instantaneously” inhomogeneous dose deposition patterns.

 This project aims to explore the potentiality of calorimetry for dosimetry of laser-driven beams, extending the use of the NPL graphite calorimeter as primary standard and providing traceability for an emerging radiation modality which could impact the hadron-therapy market and clinical practice. Other relevant dosimeters will also be explored.

 The PhD student will take part in experimental campaigns at national and international facilities, he/she will also contribute to develop simulations and algorithms for modelling and will benefit from working in close collaboration with medical physicists.

 The student will interact with laser acceleration experts at QUB learning novel techniques at the forefront of this field, and will have access to state-of-the-art laser facilities, including the TARANIS system at QUB, and the world-leading laser systems at the UK’s Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The project will include an extensive placement at NPL, where the student will be working with the experts in radiation dosimetry within the Medical Radiation Science group. NPL staff will provide training and insight into development, use and application of advanced dosimeters.


Academic requirements:

A 2.1 UK Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject is required.


Funding notes:

The project is associated to an Industrial CAST postgraduate award funded by EPSRC in conjunction with the National Physical Laboratory. The project will pay full fees and an enhanced monthly salary of £17,553. Funding to support travel between the two institutions and placement periods at NPL will also be provided.

The studentship is available to UK/EU candidates (for EU candidates the standard EPSRC residence requirements apply: see


Application procedure:  Application should be via the Queen's University Applications Portal:


For any further information, please contact Professor M. Borghesi (


The deadline for applications is 5.00 pm on Friday 23 February 2018