Photo of Professor Carsten Welsch

Professor Carsten Welsch Prof Dr

Head of Department Physics

Research

Research Overview

"My QUASAR Group carries out world-class research in accelerator science and technology. I have been leading large scale national and European research projects in accelerator science and technology for many years.

We are internationally recognized as one of the leading groups in beam instrumentations development, beam dynamics studies for accelerators and light sources, as well as for pursuing a cutting edge programme in accelerator applications with a focus on the medical sector and beam instrumentation. Our research is realized in close collaboration with other Cockcroft Institute (CI) stakeholders, enhanced by the facilities at Daresbury, as well as our collaboration partners from around the world.

Our main research activities are:
- Scientific frontier accelerators & underpinning technologies
- Novel high gradient accelerators
- Applications of accelerators to address global challenges"

Frontier Accelerators

The Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider

My QUASAR Group is working in partnership with research groups from around the world to design, build and continuously optimize world-class research infrastructures. This includes contributions to the energy frontier machines, in particular the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, its High Luminosity upgrade and the Future Circular Collider. We contribute our unique experience in beam instrumentation and beam dynamics (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/quasar/research/beam-dynamics/) R&D.

We pursue a very broad and interdisciplinary research program into the design of beyond state-of-the-art low energy antimatter research facilities. The QUASAR Group has been leading developments into diagnostics for low energy antimatter beams for many years, including cyrogenic current comparators for nA beams, novel emittance monitors for low energy storage rings, and optical monitors for single shot profile measurements. I was spokesperson of the international FLAIR collaboration between 2015 - 2018 and have coordinated the 4M€ EU-funded research and training network AVA since 2017.

Finally, we collaborate with other Cockcroft Institute partners on the optimization and experimental exploitation of the CLARA accelerators on Daresbury campus.

Novel Accelerators

The AWAKE Project at CERN.
The AWAKE Project at CERN.

A significant part of our R&D focuses on novel acceleration techniques. This includes dielectric laser and carbon nanotube (CNT)-based "micro"-accelerators, as well as laser and particle-driven plasma wakefield accelerators. There schemes show immense promise for innovation of affordable and more compact accelerator. ‌

We have successfully proposed enhanced structures for ultra-compact dielectric laser accelerators and novel CNT-based structures. We are working closely with colleagues at PSI and the Erlangen University on experimental tests of these structures.

An alternative approach to reaching very high accelerating gradients is to generate a plasma wake by a high energy proton beam as demonstrated successfully by the AWAKE experiment at CERN. As scientific project manager of AWAKE-UK, I have a key role in planning the UK's contribution to the experiment and am leading work on cutting edge beam diagnostics R&D and plasma simulations.‌

We are also developing diagnostics for laser and beam-driven plasma-accelerated beams within EuPRAXIA. This is a new distributed facility that was admitted to the ESFRI roadmap of key European research infrastructures. Our research helps overcome the significant challenges that high gradient accelerators pose.

Accelerator Applications

VELO detector for imaging of a treatment beam.
VELO detector for imaging of a treatment beam.

My QUASAR Group is carrying out R&D into healthcare technologies that help improve patient treatment.

For example, we are developing non-invasive on-line beam monitor for proton therapy in collaboration with our clinical partners Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (CCC) and CNAO in Italy. More widely, through the coordination of the 4M€ EU-funded Optimization of Medical Accelerators (OMA) project, I help improve proton and ion beam cancer treatment with a large number of international partners.

We also work closely with Adaptix on the design and optimisation of ultra-compact, high resolution x-ray imaging systems. Through detailed Monte Carlo simulations and experimental studies we contribute to the development of beyond state-of-the-art imaging technologies that have excellent potential to disrupt a centenary technology.

My Group also applies Data Science techniques to various real-world challenges. As Director of the Liverpool Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science LIVDAT I lead R&D into machine learning techniques, artificial intelligence and automation.

Based on beam instrumentation prototypes developed over the years within my Group, I have established the company D-Beam Ltd which has become a partner of choice for beam instrumentation projects around the world.

Research Group Membership

Research Grants

Quantum Gas jet Based Helium Atom Microscope (QHAM)

INNOVATE UK (UK)

October 2021 - March 2022

Cockcroft Institute Core Grant

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC)

April 2021 - March 2025

Data intensive science - a research and training initiative

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC)

January 2020 - June 2020

Optical Fibre Analysis System (OASYS)

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC), UK RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (UKRI) (UK)

September 2020 - September 2021

Awake - UK

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC)

October 2017 - September 2020

ARIES Integrating Activity project

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

May 2017 - April 2022

Cockcroft Institute Core Grant

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC), UK RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (UKRI) (UK)

April 2017 - March 2022

AWAKE

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC)

October 2016 - March 2018

Towards precision experiments with antihydrogen

ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC), UK RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (UKRI) (UK)

April 2017 - March 2022

Accelerators Validating Antimatter Physics - AVA

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

January 2017 - February 2021

HLLHC

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC)

April 2016 - March 2021

EUPRAXIA European Plasma Research Accelerator with eXcellence In Applications.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

November 2015 - October 2019

Optimization of Medical Accelerators

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

February 2016 - July 2023

OPAC - optimization of Particle Accelerators: A Marie Curie Initial Training Network

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

December 2011 - November 2015

LAsers for Applications at Accelerators: A Marie Curie Initial Training NETwork

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

October 2011 - September 2015

EuroCirCol - European Circular Energy-Frontier Collider Study

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

June 2015 - December 2019

Optical imaging system for the ESS Diagnostics

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC)

April 2015 - May 2016

DITANET

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

June 2008 - May 2012

The Cockcroft Institute - An International Centre for Accelerator Research and Development serving aspirations of science and society

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC)

April 2009 - March 2017

High resolution fiber optic particle detector for next generation accelerators

ROYAL SOCIETY (CHARITABLE)

July 2014 - July 2016

DITA-IIF Investigations into Advanced Beam Instrumentation

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

September 2014 - August 2016

BeaPhy Beam physics studies into ELENA@AD

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

April 2014 - March 2016

SiPM in-depth- Development of novel analytical and experimental approaches for an in-depth characterization and optimization of Silcon photomultipliers

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

September 2013 - September 2015

AWAKE - Proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration: a new route to a TeV e+e- collider (Cockcroft)

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES COUNCIL (STFC)

October 2012 - September 2015