Dr Christopher Thornton became a post-doctoral research fellow at the UK's central laser facility (CLF) in 2018 after successfully winning an independent grant from the UK research councils. The fellowship focus specifically on the link between emerging technologies, from high power lasers, and how that technology can be used in industry.
Before becoming a research fellow Chris was a beamline scientist at the CLF where he worked on a whole range of projects, from applications of high power lasers for proton acceleration right through to more fundamental plasma physics. During the two years as a beamline scientist Chris worked with many leading European and International scientist on these projects, coordinating the CLF's effort in delivering what these scientist required to carry out ground-breaking research.
Prior to moving to the CLF Chris was a PhD student at the University of Oxford. It was at Oxford that Chris began researching and exploring the topic of laser-plasma interactions. His research focused on a novel acceleration technique, called laser wakefield acceleration, that uses high-intensity lasers, in a plasma, to accelerate electrons to very high energies over very short distances. This technology has the potentially to drastically reduce the size, and therefore cost, of current particle accelerators making them more accessible to researchers and industry and it is this accelerator concept that his research once again now focuses on.