Professor Steven Jamison

Professor in Novel Methods of Particle Acceleration

Research Overview

Professor Jamison undertakes research in ultrafast and non-linear optics, and their application to advanced particle accelerators.

Prof Jamison leads a programme in laser driven particle acceleration using terahertz frequency pulses, in collaboration with Manchester Physics, Lancaster Engineering departments and the Accelerator Science and Technology centre at STFC Daresbury National laboratory. Using ultra-fast optical lasers, single-cycle, sub-picosecond Terahertz pulses can be generated with MV/cm field strengths through nonlinear processes in dielectric materials. These electro-magnetic pulses can be manipulated to have complex polarisation states, including the longitudinal polarisation needed to accelerate co-moving relativistic particle beams. Novel methods for slowing the electromagnetic pulse to subluminal speeds have also been developed. The research programme has acheived world leading demonstration of THz driven acceleration of relativistic electron beams, published as journal cover article in Nature Photonics (Nature Photonics 14, 755–759 (2020)), and sub-relativistic electron beams. Prof Jamison also has interests in Plasma-Wakefield acceleration and Dielectric-Laser acceleration concepts.

Professor Jamison has a long record in development of femtosecond-scale measurement of relativistic particle beams, through non-linear electromagnetic interactions between particle and beams. He has been an early leader in the demonstration of these techniques at many accelerator facilities, and in laser plasma wakefield acceleration experiments.

Professor Jamison joined Lancaster physics department in 2018 from heading the Laser and Optics group at STFC Daresbury national laboratory. He maintains research activities and collaborations with Daresbury.

Prof. Jamison is a member of the Cockcroft Institute for particle Accelerator Science and Technology.

PhD studentships are available for October 2022 starting.

Interested in research where femtosecond lasers and non-linear optics meets advanced electromagnetism and Special Relativity? Where you can play with relativistic particle beams and terawatt lasers, while pondering fundamental questions like “…but how does an electron absorb light?”

A studentship is available for a motivated and inquisitive physicist to undertake experimental and theoretical/numerical investigations of direct-acceleration of charged particle beams with laser beams. The successful student will gain the opportunity to work with and develop understanding of relativistic particle beams, ultrafast lasers and nonlinear optics, and the interaction of EM fields with electron beams in a new regime.

The studentship will be part of a Lancaster and Manchester Universities research programme aimed at developing the next generation particle accelerators for both large scale particle physics, and for ultrafast electron diffraction and condensed mater science. You will join an internationally leading cross-disciplinary group, with unique facilities

Prior education or experience in particle accelerator physics or ultrafast lasers in not essential. A full graduate programme of training and development is provided by the Cockcroft Institute.

To apply or discuss further, contact Prof Steven Jamison (


THz Acceleration Group

Novel Acceleration at Daresbury Laboratory (video) Cockcroft Institute for Particle Accelerator Science