On one front, we will extend existing models to include currently neglected processes (such as absorption and trident pair production) in a systematic way that can be immediately employed by simulators. On the second front, we will analyse a number of quantum effects which cannot be captured by existing numerical models (but which become relevant in e.g. the overlapping field geometries of future facilities, or in dense electron bunches), assess their importance to experimental campaigns, and develop a methodology to implement them numerically, going beyond current models.
Doing so requires a team of researchers who are not only experts in the theory of quantum effects in intense laser physics, but who also have the experience required to understand numerical implementation and experimental analyses. This is not a case of benchmarking existing codes, already well-covered in the literature. What is needed, rather, is a "top down", approach which can verify, and improve upon, the models of quantum effects which are used in the codes.
Plymouth hosts an established, world-leading research group in the area of intense laser-matter interactions. Staff members are research-active and well-known in the community as experts in the theory of quantum effects in intense laser physics. Furthermore, the Investigators attached to this project are actively involved in experimental efforts, being for example part of the team which recently demonstrated radiation reaction in laser-matter collisions in an experiment at the UK's Central Laser Facility.
As such the Investigators have precisely the right skillset to undertake this timely project and deliver new results of import to a wide community of physicists. This will help maintain the UK's world-leading capabilities in the active research area of intense laser-matter interactions.