AWAKE – Plasma Wakefield Acceleration

The AWAKE (Advanced Proton Driven Plasma Wakefield Acceleration Experiment) group at the MPP is investigating a new method to accelerate particles to high energies. The method involves injecting a proton beam into a plasma, i.e. an ionized gas. En route, the protons entrain negatively charged plasma electrons and thus generate a kind of bow wave. If a beam of electrons is injected at a suitable point in time, they are carried along by the wave – just like a surfer riding a wave.

The research seeks to reduce the distance that is required to accelerate particles. The technique is particularly suitable for linear accelerators – and is a lower-cost alternative to the concepts proposed for the International Linear Collider (ILC) or the CERN Compact Linear Collider (CLIC).

Current research

The MPP is currently collaborating with international partners to set up the AWAKE experiment at CERN in order to achieve this objective. The Group is investigating methods that will allow the energy of the proton sources currently available – the LHC, for example – to be used for AWAKE. The aim is for the proton beam to generate charged waves in a plasma over a distance of 10 to 1,000 meters. This will allow electron beams to be accelerated up to the teraelectronvolt energy range (TeV, one million gigaelectronvolts).

A plasma accelerator would then need only 85 centimeters to accelerate electrons to an energy of 50 gigaelectronvolts. The SLAC particle accelerator, an experiment currently underway, needs 3 kilometers for this.

AWAKE at the MPP

The AWAKE experiment at CERN (Photo: CERN/IST)

Plasma instability provides model for magnetism in space

What does the future of acceleration physics look like? Researchers in the AWAKE project have been working on a new approach for years. A proton beam generates a plasma wave on which particles can be accelerated. A recently published study takes a…

Read more
The evolution of a proton bunch in plasma can now be precisely controlled.  A phase shift can be seen between the upper and lower images, which depends on when the seed electron bunch is fed into the plasma. (Image: AWAKE)

Plasma wave under control

The innovative AWAKE technology is based on a plasma wave on which electrons "surf" and are accelerated to collide with other particles. A study has now shown how the surf waves can be precisely controlled – an essential prerequisite for AWAKE to one…

Read more
Proton bunches in sync: A train of short proton bunches travels through the plasma field, forming a wave on which electrons can be accelerated. (Image: AWAKE)

AWAKE brings proton bunches into sync

The future of particle acceleration has begun. AWAKE is a promising concept for a completely new method with which particles can be accelerated even over short distances. The basis for this is a plasma wave that accelerates electrons and thus brings…

Read more
Picture of a proton beam split into smal bunches

AWAKE: How to slice a proton beam

Having successfully accelerated electrons riding on a plasma wave, scientists in the AWAKE project continue to study and improve the underlying processes. Over the past few months a great deal of effort has been put into understanding how the…

Read more
Illustration of the AWAKE accelerator at CERN: The protons (bullet-like structures) drive a plasma wave (elipsoidal structures) that accelerates electrons to high energies (small spheres).

Success for the particle accelerators of the future: Electrons ride plasma wave

There is a good chance that soon a new door will open to physicists, offering them new insights into the mysteries of the universe. The international AWAKE collaboration has made a breakthrough in its efforts to build a new type of particle…

Read more
High electron energies could be achieved with a plasma-based accelerator, currently being developed in the framework of the AWAKE experiment.

Next generation colliders: Workshop on June 1-2, 2017

What do physicists expect from future colliders? On their wish list, you’ll find not only higher energies, but also more accurate measurements than with instruments in use today. A workshop that takes place on June 1-2, 2017 at the MPI for Physics…

Read more
A scientist of the Max Planck Institute for Physics working at the AWAKE experiment.

Protons make waves – AWAKE project reaches important milestone

Success reported from the AWAKE project: Researchers have succeeded for the first time in generating a wave-shaped plasma field with the aid of a proton beam – an approach which paves the way for a completely new type of particle accelerator. In the…

Read more

How to accelerate particles on a wakefield: AWAKE key technology installed at CERN

How can accelerator experiments reach ever-higher energies? The AWAKE project uses a completely new technology to increase energies produced in particle accelerators by an order of magnitude. A key component was now put into place at CERN: a…

Read more

Awakening the potential of plasma acceleration

Preparations for the new Proton Driven Plasma Wakefield Acceleration Experiment (AWAKE) at CERN have begun. The AWAKE team at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich is preparing to move both equipment and know-how to CERN.

Read more

E-mail address:
Phone number: +49 89 32354-extension
name function e-mail extension office
Bergamaschi, Michele Postdoc mbergama CERN CERN
Caldwell, Allen, Prof. Dr. Director caldwell 529 A.2.51
Clairembaud, Arthur PhD Student clairemb 221 A.1.19
Farmer, John, Ph.D. Postdoc jfarmer CERN A.1.21
Mezger, Jan Student mezger 561 A.1.19
Muggli, Patric, Dr. Senior Scientist muggli 580/CERN A.1.17
Ranc, Lucas, Dr. Postdoc ranc CERN A.1.21
Wacker, Ina Secretary ina 207 A.2.49
Zevi Della Porta, Giovanni, Dr. Postdoc zdp CERN A.1.21

Path to AWAKE: Evolution of the concept
A. Caldwell et al.
Science Direct, Volume 829, 1 September 2016, Pages 3–16

AWAKE, The Advanced Proton Driven Plasma Wakefield Acceleration Experiment at CERN
E. Gschwendtner et al.
Science Direct, Volume 829, 1 September 2016, Pages 76–82

Plasma wakefield acceleration with a modulated proton bunch
A. Caldwell et al.,
Phys. Plasmas 18, 103101 (2011)

Proton-driven plasma-wakefield acceleration
Allen Caldwell, Konstantin Lotov, Alexander Pukhov & Frank Simon
Nature Physics 5, 363 - 367 (2009)

Electron trapping and acceleration by the plasma wakefield of a self-modulating proton beam
K. V. Lotov, A. P. Sosedkin, A. V. Petrenko, L. D. Amorim, J. Vieira, R. A. Fonseca, L. O. Silva, E. Gschwendtner and P. Muggli
Phys. Plasmas 21, 123116 (2014)