Dr Hywel Owen BSc. PhD. MInstP. CPhys.


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Research interests

The world's future energy needs can only in the medium term be met by fission nuclear power, and in particular the UK has too limited land and sea area to provide sufficient generating capacity from renewables such as wind, solar and wave. However, the once-through cycle reactors in present use suffer from both proliferation concerns, and a limited time - measured in 10s of years - over which Uranium fuel will last if used in this way. Thorium-based breeder reactors offer a way of vastly extending the usefulness of nuclear fuel whilst at the same time protecting against proliferation, and accelerator-drivers can help their operation. The design of such proton accelerators is however difficult, and novel approaches are being explored to design proton drivers that meet the specifications for a practical accelerator-driven reactor.

Synchrotron radiation facilities demand progressively brighter sources of electron bunches to drive both spontaneous photon output and free-electron lasers, both storage rings and linear accelerators. Many physical phenomena must be understood to design such facilities, and this is a fertile area of research. My interests in this area are nonlinear dynamics in storage rings, collective processes in linacs, and the examination of disruptive processes such as wakefields and coherent radiation using numerical methods.


Research and projects