2023 High Power Laser Christmas Meeting Summary
29 Jan 2024

Once again, just before the Lab’s Winter Break, the Central Laser Facility (CLF) hosted its annual High Power Laser (HPL) Christmas Meeting.

Beautiful pink evening sky above a silhuetted Abingdon School grounds



​S​ituated in the Amey Theatre at Abingdon School, the HPL Christmas Meeting was comprised of 3 days of talks, poster sessions and breaks for collaboration, networking and discussion. It was fantastic to see such high attendance and enthusiasm from this year’s attendees.
large tiered theatre with red furnishings filled with people watching someone give a presenation.

​​​Day 1 of HPL in the Amey Theatre. Speaker is Robin Timmis (Oxford)

 ​Kicking off on Monday 18th, Director of the CLF Prof. John Collier gave a general update to the audience of approx. 200 delegates. During this talk, he shared details behind Vulcan 20-20, an exciting new upgrade to the CLF’s Vulcan facility that is projected to become the most powerful laser in the world, and EPAC, a new industry-applications focussed laser currently under construction.
Following this, all the conference’s talks were grouped into sessions based on subject matter. These consisted of sessions on Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and Secondary Sources in Lasers, where speakers from various labs and universities discussed everything from gravitational waves to laser-driven muon production.
The second day of the conference began with a Delegate Poster Session in the Yang Science Centre, followed by the commencement of the morning’s talks on Laser-Plasma Interaction (LPI), where high-harmonic generation, AI, hot election generation and inertial confinement fusion were all hot topics.
The afternoon’s session on Electrons had ample focus on laser-driven acceleration – a method of particle acceleration considered to have significant potential as a cheap, compact and replicable particle source.
By late afternoon, we once again broke from talks in the Amey Theatre to head back to the Yang Science Centre, where another Poster session was held – this time for PhD and Industrial Placement students.
As always, amidst the crowd were three secret judges tasked with the difficult job of selecting the three best posters between the students.
 long room with blue zig-zagging poster boards running down the centre. The room is busy wiith people.
Tuesday evening's student poster session

Winners of the Student Poster Competition:

First: Anne-Marie Norton (University of York)
Second: Charlie Heaton (University of Oxford)
Third: Philip Moloney (Imperial Collage London)

Anne-Marie shaking hands with CLF Director John Collier during the winner announcements at the conference dinner. 

Anne-Marie accepting her Award from Director of the CLF, John Collier, during the Conference Christmas Dinner

Massive congrats to the winner Anne-Marie, runners up and all who presented!

The final day of HPL didn’t disappoint, starting off with a session on Lab-Astro. Here, speakers discussed the details and methods of replicating interstellar phenomena right in the lab.

Following this were sessions on Inertial Confinement Fusion, an exciting potential new source of clean energy, and a few further discussions on misc. topics such as optical streaks (the speaker even let the audience guess the movie based on the optical streak it made), biological applications for High Power Lasers, and more on acceleration.
​Jonathan Kennedy (QUB) explaining optical streaks with movies

Talks on the final day finished around 4pm, but delegates stuck around to grab a minced pie and coffee and get a final bit of laser chatter before heading off for Christmas Break.
We were so pleased to see so many new and familiar faces this year, and we thank you for such high attendance, enthusiastic questions and for fostering such a collaborative atmosphere.
We at the CLF hope you all had a wonderful Winter Break. See you at HPL 2024!​

Contact: Towrie, Helen (STFC,RAL,CLF)