2017 Clifford Paterson Medal and Prize

Dr Ceri Brenner, of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, for driving the development of laser-driven accelerators for applications and for leading collaborative partnerships between academia and industry vital for the transfer of this technology to tackle global challenges.

Dr Ceri Brenner is an application development scientist specialising in the development of a new generation of accelerator technology driven by high-power lasers for applications in nuclear waste inspection, aerospace inspection, fusion energy and medicine.

Perhaps her greatest strength is her natural ability to combine productivity in discovery science and innovation while inspiring cross-disciplinary teams to join her effort in driving this technology towards industrial application.

Her PhD thesis, Laser-driven Proton Beams: Mechanisms for Spectral Control and Efficiency Enhancement, concentrated on the physics of generating high brightness proton beams from the interaction of a high-power laser with solid matter for applications such as fusion fuel ignitor beams and compact neutron sources. The double-pulse interaction method she developed and demonstrated still remains the world-record for conversion of laser energy into proton-beam energy.

After earning her PhD with the University of Strathclyde, Brenner established herself as a recognised expert in the applications of laser-accelerators and industrial engagement. Her 2016 paper published in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, Laser-driven X-ray and Neutron Source Development for the Industrial Applications of Plasma Accelerators, was selected for inclusion in the journal’s highlights of 2016.

She initiated engagement with Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Bristol in partnership with Sellafield Ltd, and pioneered the application of laser-driven multi-modal beams for nuclear waste barrel inspection.

The demonstration experiment was published in Hazardous Materials – a first for laser accelerator work – and the team have been awarded an STFC Innovation Partnership Scheme grant to develop this technology further and to generate the crucial demonstration data needed to advance towards commercialisation. She most recently founded a collaboration to apply laser-driven positron beams for materials inspection with a world-leading aerospace supplier – the first demonstration of which has been granted laser access time for 2017.

Brenner maintains a reputation within and outside the laser plasma community as an advocate and leading voice on the development of laser-driven beams for industrial applications, with a stream of invited talks at international conferences and as industrial engagement advisor for the A-SAIL project researching laser-driven ion beams for cancer therapy.