ENROL – the Engineering for Life Sciences Doctoral Programme” is set up to educate and train a new generation of high achieving early stage researchers (ESRs) to study and develop novel technologies and engineering solutions for the life sciences. The education philosophy of ENROL is based on creativity, curiosity, ability, and passion. Within the programme, we want to create a strong community of ESRs and mentor, guide, and stimulate them in their creativity to develop, based on their ideas, new materials and technologies as well as enhance their problem-solving skills and critical thinking. ENROL will recruit 20 academically exceptional ESRs who are committed to science and are strongly interested in pursuing a doctorate degree and carrying out research work in an interdisciplinary framework on the interface between engineering, technology and biology. The scientific goal of ENROL is to engineer functional interfaces between inorganic and bio-organic systems in order to push them towards new levels of understanding and technological applications. We thus propose a combined and synergistic effort based on the following three research areas (RA) within which 25 research projects will be offered for the candidates to choose from during recruitment and selection: RA1: Theoretical Prediction, Model Systems, and Analysis; RA2: Synthesis, Structuring & Instrumentation; RA3: Biological Applications. Each ESR will complete a research project within the frame of ENROL with specific objectives, a personalized time schedule and a career development plan (CDP) including transferrable skills training. The research project will be complemented by secondments at institutions of different scientific disciplines (within and outside ENROL) and industrial partner organizations. The secondments will strengthen the interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations, and the training of the ESRs will benefit from the multidisciplinary nature of the programme.
Nonlinear optics revolutionized the ability to create directed, coherent beams particularly in spectral regions where lasers based on conventional population inversion are not practical. New breakthroughs in extreme nonlinear optics promise a similar revolution in the X-ray regime. In a dramatic and unanticipated breakthrough, an international team lead by the PI demonstrated that the high harmonic generation process (HHG) driven by mid-IR lasers can be used to generate keV photons, implementing a >5000 order nonlinear process, while still maintaining the full phase matching that is necessary for good conversion efficiency. This work represents the most extreme, fully coherent upconversion for electromagnetic waves in the 50 year history of nonlinear optics. Moreover, the limits of HHG are still not understood, either theoretically or experimentally. It may be possible to generate coherent hard X-rays using a tabletop-scale apparatus. In another surprising breakthrough, the PI showed that UV-driven HHG in multiply ionized plasma can be also highly efficient, representing a 2nd route towards the X-ray region. Remarkably, this regime provides X-rays with contrasting spectral and temporal properties. Furthermore, by shaping the polarization of a bi-color mid-IR driving laser the PI, the JILA team in collaboration with Technion, demonstrated robust phase matching of circularly polarized soft X-rays. In the proposed work, the fundamental atomic, phase matching plus group velocity matching limits of HHG in the multi-keV X-ray regime will be explored using the 3 most promising, complimentary approaches: 1) mid-IR driven HHG, 2) UV driven HHG, and 3) all-optical quasi phase matching. The knowledge gained as a result of this effort will identify the best path forward for generating bright coherent X-ray beams on a tabletop, at photon energies of 1-10 keV and greater with unprecedented attosecond-to-zeptosecond pulse durations, and arbitrary polarization state.