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Dielectric and THz Acceleration (Data) programme at the Cockcroft Institute

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Normal conducting RF systems are currently able to provide gradients of around 100 MV/m, limited by breakdown on the metallic structures. The breakdown rate is known to scale with pulse length and, in conventional RF systems, this is limited by the filling time of the RF structure. Progressing to higher frequencies, from RF to THz and optical, can utilise higher gradient structures due to the fast filling times. Further increases in gradient may be possible by replacing metallic structures with dielectric structures. The DATA programme at the Cockcroft Institute is investigating concepts for particle acceleration with laser driven THz sources and dielectric structures, beam driven dielectric and metallic structures, and optical and infrared laser acceleration using grating and photonic structures. A cornerstone of the programme is the VELA and CLARA electron accelerator test facility at Daresbury Laboratory which will be used for proof-of-principle experiments demonstrating particle acceleration.