Study of low-frequency radiation produced by particle acceleration at ultra-high laser intensity in relativistic plasmas

Today, petawatt laser sources deliver optical pulses lasting a few tens of femtoseconds with an intensity larger than 1020 W/cm2. When such a light beam interacts with a gas or a solid target, the electrons accelerated by the laser ponderomotive force become relativistic and acquire high energies, in excess of the GeV. These laser systems also produce various radiations such as hard X photons or electron-positron pairs by quantum conversion of gamma photons. As laser technology is advancing rapidly, these light sources have increasingly compact dimensions and they nowadays complement many international laboratories hosting synchrotrons or conventional particle accelerators.
If this extreme light makes it possible to generate radiation in the highest frequencies regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, it also fosters, through the production mechanisms of plasma waves and particle acceleration, conversion processes towards much lower frequencies belonging to the gigahertz and terahertz (THz) ranges.

Having high-power transmitters operating in this frequency band is attracting more and more interest in Europe, overseas and in Asia. On the one hand, the generation of intense electromagnetic pulses with GHz-THz frequencies is harmful for any electronic device close to the laser-plasma interaction zone and the diagnostics used on large-scale laser facilities like, e.g., the PETAL/LMJ laser in the Aquitaine region. It is therefore necessary to understand their nature to better circumvent them. On the other hand, the waves operating in this field not only make it possible to probe the molecular motions of complex chemical species, but they also offer new perspectives in medical imaging for cancer detection, in astrophysics for the evaluation of ages of the universe, in security as well as environmental monitoring. The processes responsible for this violent electromagnetic field emission, if properly controlled, can lead to the production of enormous magnetic fields in excess of 1000 Tesla, which presents exciting new opportunities for many applications such as particle guiding, atomic physics, magnetohydrodynamics, or modifying certain properties of condensed matter in strong field.

The objective of this thesis is to study the physics of the generation of such giant electromagnetic pulses by ultrashort laser pulses interacting with dense media, to build a model based on the different THz/GHz laser-pulse conversion mechanisms, and validate this model by using dedicated experimental data. The proposed work is mainly oriented towards an activity of analytical modeling and numerical simulation.

The doctoral student will be invited to deal with this problem theoretically and numerically using a particle code, whose Maxwell solver will be adapted to describe radiation coming from different energy groups of electron/ion populations. A module calculating online the field radiated by each particle population in the far field will be implemented. Particular attention will be given to the radiation associated with the acceleration of electrons and ions on femto- and picosecond time scales by dense relativistic plasmas and their respective roles in target charging models available in the literature. This field of physics requires a new theoretical and numerical modeling work, at the crossroads of extreme nonlinear optics and the physics of relativistic plasmas. Theory-experiment confrontations are planned within the framework of experiments carried out on site at CELIA facilities and experiments carried out in collaboration with US laboratories (LLE/Rochester). The thesis will be prepared at CELIA laboratory on the campus of Bordeaux university.

Detecting the first clusters of galaxies in the Universe in the maps of the cosmic microwave background

Galaxy clusters, located at the node of the cosmic web, are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the Universe. Their abundance and spatial distribution are very sensitive to cosmological parameters, such the matter density in the Universe. Galaxy clusters thus constitute a powerful cosmological probe. They have proven to be an efficient probe in the last years (Planck, South Pole Telescope, XXL, etc.) and they are expected to make great progress in the coming years (Euclid, Vera Rubin Observatory, Simons Observatory, CMB- S4, etc.).
The cosmological power of galaxy clusters increases with the size of the redshift range covered by the catalogue. The attached figure shows the redshift ranges covered by the catalogues of galaxy clusters extracted from experiments observing the cosmic microwave background (first light emitted in the Universe 380,000 years after the Big Bag). One can see that Planck detected the most massive clusters in the Universe in the redshift range 0<z<1. SPT and ACT are more sensitive but covered less sky: they detected tens of clusters between z=1 and z=1.5, and a few clusters between z=1.5 and z=2. The next generation of instruments (Simons Observatory starting in 2024 and CMB- S4 starting in 2032) will routinely detect clusters in 1<z<2 and will observe the first clusters formed in the Universe in 2<z<3.
Only the experiments studying the cosmic microwave background will be able to observe the hot gas in these first clusters at 2<z<3, thanks to the SZ effect, named after its discoverers Sunyaev and Zel’dovich. This effect is due to high energetic electrons of the gas, which distorts the frequency spectrum of the cosmic microwave background, and is detectable in current experiments. But the gas is not the only component emitting in galaxy clusters: galaxies inside the clusters can also emit in radio or in infrared, contaminating the SZ signal. This contamination is weak at z<1 but increases drastically with redshift. One expects that the emission from radio and infrared galaxies in clusters are of the same order of magnitude as the SZ signal in 2<z<3.
One thus needs to understand and model the emission of the gas as a function of redshift, but also the emission of radio and infrared galaxies inside the clusters to be ready to detect the first clusters in the Universe. Irfu/DPhP developed the first tools for detecting clusters of galaxies in cosmic microwave background data in the 2000s. These tools have been used successfully on Planck data and on ground-based data, such as the data from the SPT experiment. They are efficient at detecting clusters of galaxies whose emission is dominated by the gas, but their performance is unknown when the emission from radio and infrared galaxies is significant.
This thesis will first study and model the radio and infrared emission from galaxies in the clusters detected in the cosmic microwave background data (Planck, SPT and ACT) as a function of redshift.
Secondly, one will quantify the impact of these emissions on existing cluster detection tools, in the redshift range currently being probed (0<z<2) and then in the future redshift range (2<z<3).
Finally, based on our knowledge of these radio and infrared emissions from galaxies in clusters, we will develop a new cluster extraction tool for high redshift clusters (2<z<3) to maximize the detection efficiency and control selection effects, that is the number of detected clusters compared to the total number of clusters.

Impact of irradiation parameters on the alpha’ phase formation in oxide dispersion strengthened steels

Ferritic-martensitic oxide dispersion strengthened steels (ODS steels) are materials of great interest in the nuclear industry. Predominantly composed of iron and chromium, these materials can become brittle due to the precipitation of a chromium-rich phase, called a', under irradiation. This phase, known to be sensitive to irradiation conditions, provides an ideal topic for a deeper exploration of the capability to emulate neutron irradiation with ions. Indeed, while ion irradiations are frequently used to understand phenomena observed during neutron irradiations, the question of their representativeness is often raised.

In this thesis, we aim to understand how the irradiation parameters can affect the characteristics of the a' phase in ODS steels. To do so, various ODS steels will be irradiated under different conditions (flux, dose, temperature, and type of particles, such as ions, neutrons, electrons), and subsequently analyzed at the nanoscale. The a' phase (size, chromium content) obtained for each ion irradiation condition will be compared to the one after neutron irradiation.

Greedy method for the model order reduction in neutronics : application of the reduced basis method

We are interested in a methodology that perform a computation in a very short amount of time while preserving the accuracy. A reduced basis approach could meet this requirement.
In the framework of the reduced basis methods [1,3], we devise an approximation space associated to a parameter-dependent partial differential equation. The construction of this approximation space includes a phase of exploration of the space of parameters where it is important to quantify the error between the solution obtained from the approximation space (in construction) and the solution obtained from a standard (fine) discretization.
This crucial step allows to certify the construction of the reduced basis.
Recently, some research work in the laboratory have provided a posteriori error estimator in the context of neutronics [4].
In this context [2], we are interested in generalized non-symmetric eigenvalue problems. Typically, we consider a linear Boltzmann operator of the form:
Find (u, v) such that Lu = Hu + v Fu,
where Lu is the advection operator, Hu is the scattering operator that modelize the collisions of the neutrons, Fu is the fission operator and the unknown u represents the neutron flux. The equation is also called the neutron transport equation. The fact the operator is not symetric comes form the scattering operator.
A first implementation of the reduced basis method based on the Proper Orthogonal Decomposition has been made for the neutron diffusion model in the APOLLO3® code [5]. Reduced basis methods have been studied for the neutron diffusion model [6-8] and the neutron transport model [9-14] with a varying degree of intrusivity.
The objective of this thesis is to contribute to the construction of greedy reduced basis methods for a model of neutronics, especially on assembling the reduced problem and the computation of an a posteriori estimator based on an affine decomposition of the operator. In a second step, many possibilities may be investigated :
- The extension of the reduced basis method to the simplified transport;
- The extension of the reduced basis method to the transport model;
- The application to the loading pattern of a research reactor.

[1] Y. Maday, O. Mula, A generalized empirical interpolation method: application of reduced basis techniques to data assimilation. Analysis and Numerics of Partial Differential Equations, XIII:221-231,2013.
[2] O. Mula, Some contributions towards the parallel simulation of time dependent neutron transport and the integration of observed data in real time, Chapter 1, 2014.
[3] G. Rozza, D. Huynh, and A. Patera, “Reduced basis approximation and a posteriori error estimation for affinely parametrized elliptic coercive partial differential equations,” Archives of Computational Methods in Engineering, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 1–47, 2008.
[4] Y. Conjungo Taumhas, G. Dusson, V. Ehrlacher, T. Lelièvre, F. Madiot. Reduced basis method for non-symmetric eigenvalue problems: application to the multigroup neutron diffusion equations. 2023. ?HAL cea-04156959?
[5] Y. Conjungo Taumhas, F. Madiot, T. Lelièvre, V. Ehrlacher, and G. Dusson. An Application of Reduced Basis Methods to Core Computation in APOLLO3®. M&C 2023
[6] Sartori, A. Cammi, L. Luzzi, M. E. Ricotti, and G. Rozza. Reduced order methods: applications to nuclear reactor core spatial dynamics.15566, in ICAPP 2015 Proceedings, 2015.
[7] S. Lorenzi, An adjoint proper orthogonal decomposition method for a neutronics reduced order model, Annals of Nuclear Energy, 114 (2018), pp. 245–
[8] P. German and J. C. Ragusa, Reduced-order modeling of parameterized multi-group diffusion k-eigenvalue problems, Annals of Nuclear Energy, 134
(2019), pp. 144–157
[9] I Halvic, JC Ragusa. Non-intrusive model order reduction for parametric radiation transport simulations. Journal of Computational Physics 492 (2023), 112385
[10] P Behne, J Vermaak, J Ragusa. Parametric Model-Order Reduction for Radiation Transport Simulations Based on an Affine Decomposition of the Operators. Nuclear Science and Engineering 197 (2), 233-261 (2023)
[11] P Behne, J Vermaak, JC Ragusa. Minimally-invasive parametric model-order reduction for sweep-based radiation transport. Journal of Computational Physics 469, 111525
[12] Z Peng, Y Chen, Y Cheng, F Li. A reduced basis method for radiative transfer equation. Arxiv preprint (2021).
[13] Sun, Y., Yang, J., Wang, Y., Li, Z., & Ma, Y. (2020). A POD reduced-order model for resolving the neutron transport problems of nuclear reactor. Annals of Nuclear Energy, 149, 107799.
[14] Wei, C., Di, Y., Junjie, Z., Chunyu, Z., Helin, G., Bangyang, X., ... & Lianjie, W. (2021). Study of non-intrusive model order reduction of neutron transport problems. Annals of Nuclear Energy, 162, 108495.

Development of an uncertainty propagation method of function-typed input data applied to the decay heat calculation

Characterising the energy released by the disintegration of the radionuclides present in spent nuclear fuel is essential for the design, safety and analysis of storage, transport and disposal systems. Few measurements of this decay heat are available today. In addition, the available experimental values do not cover the wide spectrum of possible combinations between parameters such as discharge burn-up rate, 235U enrichment, cooling time, fuel design parameters, or operating conditions. The estimation of decay heat is therefore mainly based on calculation codes.
The evaluation of the uncertainty associated with the estimation of decay heat is important to achieve reliable predictions. Many efforts have been made to properly evaluate biases and uncertainties coming from nuclear data such as cross sections. The number of studies concerning uncertainties of an epistemic nature (uncertainty in the manufacture of some components, error in reading or adjusting mobile structures, etc…) is comparatively small. Among the latter, while the treatment of complex dependencies of scalar input parameters is well taken into account today, functional-type dependencies, i.e., expressed in the form of a function, are very little explored.
While uncertainties arising from the processing of fixed input parameters, such as fuel manufacturing parameters, independent of time, are quite well covered, the uncertainties coming from the processing of variable (or functional) parameters, such as operating history, evolving during reactor operations, are not. Irradiation history actually brings together several inter-correlated quantities (operating power, absorber movements, core evolution …), subject to modifications over time and influencing the value of numerous observables of interest, including decay heat. The models used today in industrial simulation tools do not make it possible to estimate this impact and to infer a validated uncertainty.

This research work will investigate the impact on decay heat of the uncertainties associated with input parameters having functional dependencies. We will particularly focus on the irradiation history of the reactors (PWR type). A first part of the work will be dedicated to the development of a substitution model for decay heat estimation and quantification of uncertainties of a functional nature. The second part will be devoted to the development of a sensitivity analysis method. Finally, a third part will concern the development of an inverse method for quantifying the uncertainties coming from irradiation modelling.
The doctoral student will be hosted in a reactor physics research unit of the CEA IRESNE located in Cadarache where he will collaborate with other doctoral students and specialists in the field.

Testing the Standard Model in the Higgs-top sector in the multilepton final using the ATLAS detector at the LHC

The thesis proposes to measure in a coherent way the different rare processes of production of top quarks in association with bosons in the final state with multiple leptons at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The thesis will be based on the analysis of the large dataset collected and being collected by the ATLAS experiment at a record energy. The joint analysis of the ttW, ttZ, ttH and 4top processes, where one signal process becomes background when studying the other ones, will allow to get complete and unbiased measurements of the final state with multiple leptons.
These rare processes, which became accessible only recently at the LHC, are powerful probes to search for new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, for which the top quark is a promising tool, in particular using effective field theory. Discovering signs of new physics that go beyond the limitations of the Standard Model is a fundamental question in particle physics today.


Very-high-energy (E>100 GeV) gamma-ray observations of astrophysical objects are a crucial tool for the understanding of the most violent non-thermal acceleration processes taking place in the Universe. The gamma rays allow to attack fundamental questions across a broad range of topics, including supermassive black holes, the origin of cosmic rays, and searches for new
physics beyond the Standard Model. Multi-wavelength observations of the center of the Milky Way unveil a complex and active region with the acceleration of cosmic rays to TeV energies
and beyond in astrophysical objects such as the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* lying at the center of the Galaxy, supernova remnants or star-forming regions. The Galactic Centre (GC) stands out as one of the most studied regions of the sky in nearly every wavelength, and has been the target of some of the deepest exposures with high-energy observatories. Beyond the diversity of astrophysical accelerators, the GC should be the brightest source of dark matter particle annihilations in gamma rays.
The GC region harbors a cosmic Pevatron, i.e., a cosmic-ray particle accelerator to PeV energies, diffuse emissions from GeV to TeV such as the Galactic Centre Excess (GCE) whose origin is still unknown, potential variable TeV sources as well as likely unresolved source population. The interaction of electrons accelerated in these objects produces very-high-energy gamma rays
via the inverse Compton process of electrons scattering off ambient radiation fields. These gamma rays can also be efficiently produced through decays of neutral pions from inelastic
collisions protons and nuclei with the ambient gas. Among possible unresolved source populations in the GC region are millisecond pulsars in the Galactic bulge or an intermediate-mass (~20-10^5 Msun) black holes following the dark matter distribution of the Galactic halo. About 10^3 sources would be needed to explain the GCE emission. Such source population would leave characteristic imprints in the background fluctuations for which surveys of the GC region in TeV gamma rays with the H.E.S.S. observatory and the forthcoming CTA are unique to scrutinize them.
The H.E.S.S. observatory composed of five atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes detects gamma rays from a few ten GeV up to several ten TeV. H.E.S.S. has carried out extensive observations
of the GC with recently an observational campaign of the inner several degrees around the GC. The dataset accumulated so far provides an unprecedented sensitivity to study the acceleration and propagation of TeV cosmic rays and search for dark matter signals in the most promising region of the sky. These observations are unique to shape the observation programs of the future observatory CTA, optimize their implementation, and prepare future analyses.
The PhD thesis project will be focused on the analysis and interpretation of the observations carried out in the GC region by the H.E.S.S. over about 20 years. The first part of the work will be devoted to the low-level analysis of the GC data, the study of the systematic uncertainties in this massive GC dataset and the development of dedicated background models. In the second part, the PhD student will combine all the GC observations in order to search for TeV diffuse emissions, unresolved population of sources, and dark matter signals using multi-template analysis techniques including background modelling approaches. The third part will be dedicated to the implementation of the new analysis framework to CTA forthcoming data to prepare future GC analyses using the most up-to-date signal and background templates. In addition, the PhD student will be involved in the data taking and data quality selection of H.E.S.S. observations.

High-energy transient astrophysical phenomena

The core of the proposed thesis project will be the real-time search for transient high-energy emission linked to the detection of a gravitational waves and other multi-messenger astrophysical transients like high-energy neutrinos, gamma-ray bursts, fast radio bursts, stellar/nova explosions, etc. The combined observations across multiple instruments and cosmic messengers will unequivocally prove the existence of a high-energy particle accelerators related to these phenomena and will allow to derive novel insights into the most violent explosions in the universe.
Joining the H.E.S.S., CTA and SVOM collaborations the PhD candidate will be able to lead the exciting MWL and multi-messenger campaigns collected during the physics run O4 of the GW interferometers, the first high-energy neutrino events detected by KM3NeT and the first GRBs detected by the SVOM satellite. The PhD candidate will also have the opportunity to participate in the development of the Astro-COLIBRI platform allowing to follow transient phenomena in real-time via smartphone applications.

Gyrokinetic study of turbulent transport bifurcations in tokamak plasmas: impact of plasma-neutral interactions

Turbulence and associated transport degrade the confinement of tokamak plasmas, reducing the expected performance in terms of energy gain. Experimentally, several regimes of improved confinement have been observed, notably those where turbulent transport is strongly reduced at the plasma edge. These external transport barriers lead to strong density and/or temperature gradients that maximize the energy content of the confined plasma. These spontaneous bifurcations result from the self-organization of turbulence under the forcing of different sources, of particles and heat. Their mechanism is poorly understood, not least because of the topological complexity of this outer region and the wealth of probable processes at play. These regimes represent a major opportunity for achieving the best performance in ITER plasmas. It is therefore crucial to gain a better understanding of them, so as to be able to predict their transition thresholds and, if possible, control them.
The proposed PhD thesis falls within this framework. It is based on state-of-the-art numerical modeling of fusion plasmas, the five dimensional (in phase space) gyrokinetic approach. Recent developments have made it possible to treat self-consistently both transport of matter and heat in this peripheral region. What remains to be done is to implement a source of neutral particles which, through ionization, will constitute the plasma's density forcing. We already know, thanks in particular to reduced models, that this dynamic source plays a crucial role in self-organization processes. The aim of this thesis work is to couple a reduced fluid model of neutrals to kinetically described electrons and ions, and to study their impact on turbulent transport and self-organization using high-performance computing (HPC) simulations with the GYSELA code.

Modeling and ALARA optimization of maintenance operations in fusion nuclear power plants with Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality techniques

In view to the development of future fusion reactors, the maintenance operations in these nuclear facilities will be a diffculty, as part of them will have to be carried out hands-on. Safety rules govern interventions in a radioactive environment. They take into account the level of effective dose received by the operator, a factor that characterizes the risk to which the operator is exposed (dose depending on ambient dose rate and time).
In the aim of optimizing this dose in line with the ALARA principle and the safety constraints associated with these installations, the prior simulation of operations in Virtual Reality is an asset in terms of design optimization and worker training. Calculating dose during these simulations would be an important contribution to discriminating between different options. The simulation methods currently used to calculate dose rates are in some cases imprecise and in others very costly in terms of simulation time.
The aim of this work is to propose a new method for dynamic dose rate estimation in reduced time (or even real time) as a function of the movements of both the activation sources of a fusion installation, the maintenance operator and the shield protecting the latter. These dynamic configurations are representative of real intervention conditions. This method will implement Artificial Intelligence techniques coupled with Neutronics methods, and should be able to be integrated into a Virtual Reality tool based on existing development environments such as Unity3D.