International AWAKE Collaboration Meets in Liverpool

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Group of people posing for a photo.
Participants in the AWAKE Collaboration Meeting in Liverpool.

Over 50 members of the Advanced Proton Driven Plasma Wakefield Acceleration Experiment (AWAKE) project gathered in Liverpool on 11 – 13 March to review the status of the experiment, share results and discuss plans for the future.

AWAKE investigates the use of plasma wakefields driven by a proton bunch to accelerate electrons to multi-GeV energies in a much shorter distance than that required by conventional accelerators.

The AWAKE concept was demonstrated for the first time in 2018. The second phase of the experiment, to develop proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration towards particle physics applications, started in 2021 and is expected to run until 2030.

A presenter talking to the audience.

AWAKE spokesperson Patric Muggli welcoming the participants.

The meeting was introduced by Prof Carsten Welsch as local organiser, Patric Muggli (AWAKE spokesperson), and Edda Gschwendtner (AWAKE project leader), who gave an overview of the current status of the project.

Subsequent talks focused on technical aspects of the experiment, such as simulations, instrumentation, and diagnostics, both for the current Run2b, featuring a 10 meter-long Rubidium plasma cell, and for the Run2c/d, where a higher energy electron source and a second plasma cell will be added to the existing setup.

On the last day of the meeting, the delegates moved to Daresbury Laboratory, where they had the chance to visit some of the local facilities where STFC scientists and technicians design, manufacture and test the components of international accelerator projects and experiments.

A presenter talking to the audience.

AWAKE project leader Edda Gschwendtner providing an overview of the current status of the project.

AWAKE is an international scientific collaboration made up of 23 institutes and involving over 90 engineers and physicists. The UK is a major contribution to the project, with seven institutions involved, and the support of the STFC-funded AWAKE-UK project.

Prof Welsch said: “It was really nice to have the AWAKE Collaboration here with us in Liverpool and to hear about the excellent research progress that has been made in recent months. The Spine was a wonderful location for inspiring discussion, and by hosting the final day of the meeting at Daresbury Laboratory, we were also able to give an insight into the unique research infrastructure that is available to us. Many thanks to all the speakers for their contributions, and to the wonderful Project TEAM for their support!”