Erdem Oz, with his poster and award in the background
Erdem Oz, a PhD student under the guidance of Professor Tom Katsouleas and Research Professor Patric Muggli was selected for the 2007 Best Student Poster prize at the Particle Accelerator Conference in Albquerque, New Mexico in July. Erdem was one of 4 selected for the top award and received a certificate and a cash award of $500. The Award is sponsored by the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society.
Erdem's poster was on the topic of Trapped Particles in Plasma Wakefield Accelerators and reported on research he performed on the USC/UCLA/Stanford experiment at the 3km Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Erdem originally examined trapped particles as a possible limitation to plasma accelerators, analogous to dark current that heralds the onset of failure in conventional metallic particle accelerators. What he discovered was that the particles trapped from the plasma can be controlled and that they can form a beam that is one hundred times brighter (higher current and narrower divergence) than the original SLAC beam that produced them. This led him to propose a "brightness transformer" using a plasma to convert the energy of a poor quality but high energy beam into a subsequent beam of higher quality and but slightly lower energy. The results have implications for making brighter X-ray sources for applications such as imaging complex biological structures.
Erdem's work has also received an invited talk status at the upcoming American Physical Society meeting in Orlando in November. The work of the collaboration on the Plasma Wakefield Accelerator and trapping was also featured in Nature and Physical Review Letters this year.