Dr Dangor is one of the pioneers in the field of laser plasma accelerators, which has seen enormous progress in the last decade with a great deal of leadership from him.
In the eighties, Dr Dangor recognised the potential of relativistic plasma waves, driven by lasers, to accelerate electrons in a compact plasma medium and set about building the foundations of one of the strongest research teams in this area at Imperial College. Before the development of chirped pulse amplification (a breakthrough invention that allowed scientists to step into the world of seriously high power lasers), he was the first to set up a dual laser oscillator system to investigate relativistic plasma waves driven by the beat wave frequency of the laser beams.
He followed up on this research by using the Self-Modulated Laser Wakefield Accelerator (SMLWA) scheme, accelerating electrons to 100s of MeV that are used to produce intense X-rays beams for numerous applications.
By far the most important breakthrough made by the Imperial College in the field of laser plasma Wakefield acceleration was the generation of mono-energetic relativistic electrons by an intense short pulse laser. This work published in Nature in 2014, dubbed the “Dream Beam", heralded the beginning of a new era in laser plasma accelerators, and one that has seen incredible growth in applications.
The vision that Dr Dangor demonstrated led to this new and exciting branch of plasma physics making him a worthy recipient of the IOP Faraday Medal and Prize. We at the CLF would like to say a huge congratulations to Dr Dangor.
Access the announcement on the IOP website here.