Physics Research

Department of Physics News


Space radiation reproduced in the lab for better, safer missions

Man-made space radiation has been produced in research led by the University of Strathclyde, which could help to make space exploration safer, more reliable and more extensive.

May 2017

We acquire one of the world’s most powerful lasers

One of the world’s most powerful lasers – capable of bursts of light equivalent to twenty times all the power consumed on Earth, captured in fraction of a second – has been acquired by the University of Strathclyde.

May 2017


The Department congratulates Neil Hunt on his promotion to Professor and David McKee on his promotion to Reader.

May 2017

12th FluoroFest International Workshop commemorates 40th Anniversary of the Founding of IBH, the Department’s first Spin-out Company

The Glasgow FluoroFest was attended by over 100 delegates from 14 countries, who networked with, and listened to a diverse lecture program delivered by world-renowned speakers, student flash talks, vibrant poster sessions and experienced hands-on instrument training. Papers from the workshop will be published in a special issue of the IoP journal Methods and Applications in Fluorescence.

April 2017

Strathclyde gains full membership of The Cockcroft Institute

The University of Strathclyde is delighted to announce its full membership of the Cockcroft Institute (CI). The CI, a national centre for particle accelerator R&D in the UK, is a partnership between the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Strathclyde, and the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

April 2017

Where does laser energy go after being fired into plasma?

An outstanding conundrum on what happens to the laser energy after beams are fired into plasma has been solved in newly-published research at the University of Strathclyde.

March 2017

Ultra-Tight Light Pulses: Mode-Locked Spatial Solitons

The Strathclyde team led both the experimental realization and the theoretical confirmation of ultra-tight light pulses in the form of mode-locked spatial solitons.

March 2017

Strathclyde leads new project exploring and designing quantum dynamics

The Department of Physics at Strathclyde is leading a new research programme on "Designing out-of-equilibrium many-body quantum systems". This £5.8M project to run over five years involves highly interlinked experimental and theoretical research at the Universities of Strathclyde, Cambridge and Oxford.

February 2017

Three physics researchers at the University of Strathclyde have received an international award for their work on the ground-breaking discovery of gravitational waves.

February 2017

Strathclyde Professor appointed to Editorial Board of Physical Review Letters

Gian-Luca Oppo of the Department of Physics has been appointed by the American Physical Society to the editorial board of Physical Review Letters from 16 January 2017 to 15 January 2020.

January 2017

ColOpt – Collective Effects and optomechanics in ultracold matter

A new European Training Network will train early-stage researchers in fundamental science and applications in the areas of cold atom and quantum physics, optical technologies and complexity science to promote European competitiveness in emergent quantum technologies.

January 2017

Light Source Discovery 'challenges basic assumption' of Physics

A widely-held understanding of electromagnetic radiation has been challenged in newly published research led at the University of Strathclyde.

January 2017


Strathclyde joins Cockcroft Institute

The University of Strathclyde has become a full member of the Cockcroft Institute, the UK’s international centre for Accelerator Science and Technology at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Cheshire.

December 2016

Photons usually go straight, but their magnification power increases if they whirl

An international team of researchers, including Bob Bingham, has developed a concept to generate photons that whirl at high speed..

December 2016

Physics World's Top Ten Breakthroughs of 2016 - the Mesolens

Gail McConnell and her colleagues in SIPBS have been recognised by Physics World as one of the Top Ten Breakthroughs of 2016 for the Mesolens, a new microscope lens that offers the unique combination of a large field of view with high resolution.

December 2016

LIGO’s gravitational wave discovery is the Physics World 2016 Breakthrough of the Year

Physics World, the UK’s Institute of Physics magazine, announced recently that LIGO’s gravitational wave discovery is the "Physics World 2016 Breakthrough of the Year"

December 2016

Polarization Structured Beams go the Extra Mile

Alison M. Yao, Christopher Travis and Gian-Luca Oppo of the CNQO group, in collaboration with Robert Boyd’s group at the University of Ottawa in Canada, have demonstrated both numerically and experimentally that propagation of OAM-carrying beams is more stable if the polarization is spatially structured.

December 2016

IEEE Plasma Science and Applications (PSAC) Award 2017

Prof. Alan Phelps is the recipient of the IEEE 2017 Plasma Science and Applications Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of Plasma Science.

November 2016

President's Medal for gravitational wave research

Prof. Nicholas Lockerbie has been awarded a President’s Medal by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) for his significant contribution to the detection of gravitational waves.

November 2016

Fresnel Diffraction used to Control Laser-proton Acceleration

A team of researchers led by Prof. Paul McKenna have demonstrated that the diffraction of intense laser light passing through a relativistic plasma aperture self-generated in a thin target foil can be used to control the acceleration of protons.

September 2016

Some types of quantum entanglement cannot be both monogamous and faithful

As might be expected, the terms “monogamous” and “faithful” mean something a little different in the quantum world than they do in everyday language.

August 2016

Herald Higher Education Awards

Dr Nicholas Lockerbie attended the Herald Higher Education Awards ceremony on 14th July, to accept the award for Research Project of the Year made jointly to the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde for the detection of Gravitational Waves.

July 2016

High N00N for random loss affecting quantum states?

A theoretical prediction made by John Jeffers in 2000 suggested that loss may not be so random after all.

July 2016

Symposium on Quantum Information, Simulation and Metrology

A one-day Symposium was held recently in recognition of Sir Peter Knight receiving and honorary Doctorate

June 2016

Plasma optical modulators for intense lasers

Recently, Zheng-Ming Sheng and Dino Jaroszynski, together with collaborators in Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and UCLA in USA, have proposed the idea of a plasma optical modulator for intense lasers, that not only can change the temporal profiles of intense laser pulses but also produce extremely broad spectral bandwidths, even exceeding of the central frequency

June 2016

An international team of scientists has this week confirmed the detection of gravitational waves from a second instance of two black holes colliding, opening the door to a new age of astronomy.

June 2016

Satellite Tests Technology for Global Quantum Network

Dr Daniel Oi, as part of an international team from Singapore amd Strathclyde, has successfully tested in space key components for building an orbital quantum network.

June 2016

Exciting Times!

Strathclyde's David Birch leading industry collaboration also involving the University of Edinburgh

 June 2016

John Jeffers Promoted to Professor

The Department congratulates John Jeffers on his promotion to Professor

May 2016

Annual Teaching Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Prof Gian-Luca Oppo who won the award of 'Most Enthusiastic Teacher 2016' and to Prof Stefan Kuhr on the award of 'Best Teacher in the Faculty of Science' at the Annual Teaching Excellence Awards (TEAS).

 May 2016

Special Breakthrough Prize winners at Strathclyde

In the Department of Physics, three co-researchers are to share in the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the detection of gravitational waves: Nicholas Lockerbie (Head of Gravitational Physics), Kirill Tokmakov and Sharat Jawahar.

May 2016

Non-Conservative Interactions

A recent collaboration between Strathclyde and the University of Auckland in New Zealand has investigated the controlled collisions of two dissipative solitons in an optical fibre ring and found that they either merge or annihilate each other.

April 2016

Physicists quantify the usefulness of ‘quantum weirdness’

Quantum features have puzzled physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics, but such features are presently being tamed in the development of quantum information processing and of the next wave of quantum technologies, including quantum cryptography and quantum computers.

April 2016

Satellites Reveal Seasonal Variations of Suspended Particles in UK Coastal Waters

A recent paper from the Marine Optics and Remote Sensing Group reveals the role of mineral particles in determining seasonal variations in key optical properties of UK coastal waters.

March 2016

Entanglement Becomes Easier to Measure

Luca Tagliacozzo, together with researchers from Innsbruck and Munich, has developed a new protocol to detect entanglement of many-particle quantum states using a simple approach.

March 2016

LIGO opens new window on the Universe with observation of gravitational waves from colliding black holes. Strathclyde researchers contribute to international discovery proving Einstein was right.

February 2016

Freak Waves in an Optical Bathtub

In a recent Physical Review Letters researchers Christopher J. Gibson, Alison M. Yao and Gian-Luca Oppo of the CNQO group in the Department of Physics have shown that rogue waves can originate in the transverse area of externally driven lasers and quantum optical devices.

February 2016

Compact Synchrotron-like Radiation Sources

Feiyu Li and Zheng-Ming Sheng together with collaborators from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China have reported a scheme of achieving a palmtop SR source by the use of laser-plasma acceleration in a plasma channel.

February 2016

Researchers have found a novel way of creating intense optical tornados – a discovery that could revolutionise the understanding of how matter behaves under extreme conditions.

January 2016

New Twists in Diffraction of Intense Laser Light

In a recent publication in Nature Physics, a team of researchers led by Prof. Paul McKenna have discovered that diffraction of ultra-intense laser light passing through a normally opaque plasma can be used to control charged particle motion

January 2016


Fermi-type acceleration of interstellar ions driven by high-energy lepton plasma flows

In a recent paper it is found that Stochastic acceleration and shock acceleration can occur naturally in sequential two stages when a lepton flow propagates in a background interstellar plasma.

December 2015

Visiting Professor John Pickup receives Honorary Degree

Photophysics Visiting Professor John Pickup receives a Honorary DSc from our Principal Jim MacDonald at the November Graduation Ceremony.

November 2015

Hilbert's Hotel takes a quantum twist

An optical experiment realizes one of the room-changing operations in the Hilbert Hotel—a fictitious establishment that illustrates some perplexing properties of infinity.

19th October 2015

The electron bunches were produced by focusing a high-power laser pulse into a supersonic helium gas jet. These ‘bullets’ of charged particles have a length that is one 300th of the breadth of a hair and travel at a speed close to that of light. They are also 10 times shorter than those produced from conventional accelerators.

12th October 2015

EPSRC Quantum Technology Fellowship: Hybrid Quantum Interface

Jonathan Pritchard has become one of just 10 academics in the UK to secure a prestigious fellowship worth almost £1 million for the development of hybrid quantum technologies.

29th September 2015

Research boost for future fusion reactor

The EU Funded 4-year project ADAS-EU has helped researchers understand key behaviour of hydrogen in high temperature plasmas found in fusion reactors. The project was co-ordinated by emeritus professor Hugh Summers.

15th September 2015

Next generation High Power Lasers

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde are developing groundbreaking plasma based light amplifiers that could replace traditional high power laser amplifiers.

21 August 2015

Strathclyde researcher shows that classical observations of quantum systems are a fundamental part of quantum mechanics – no assumptions necessary.

13 August 2015

Quantum particles put under the microscope

Researchers at the Department of Physics have achieved imaging of individual fermionic atoms in an optical lattice. Such an optical lattice is made of interfering laser beams, creating an “artificial crystal of light” in which atoms can be held like marbles in the hollows of an egg carton.

13th July 2015

High Power Terahertz Radiation from Laser Plasma

Recently, Zheng-Ming Sheng and co-workers from China, USA, and Japan have demonstrated to produce such a kind of THz sources via a mechanism called linear mode conversion, in which electromagnetic waves are converted from electrostatic waves excited in plasma.

24th June 2015

Optomechanical Self-Structuring in a Bose-Einstein Condensate

A team of researchers from the Department's Optics division have recently published a paper on Optomechanical Self-Structuring in a Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) in Physical Review Letters.

27th May 2015

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships

Congratulations to both Marco Piani and Bruno Peaudecerf who were awarded prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships.

21st May 2015

Lossless Loss at the Quantum Level

John Jeffers and co-workers at Heriot-Watt, Singapore, Southampton and Troyes have performed an experiment that confirms a theoretical prediction made by John Jeffers in the Journal of Modern Optics way back in 2000.

21st May 2015

Keynote at EAP2015

David Birch was a Keynote Speaker at the Emerging Analytical Professionals conference held in Bristol on May 8th-10th 2015.

21st May 2015

SUPA Knowledge Exchange Fellowship

Congratulations to Philip Yip for being awarded a SUPA INSPIRE knowledge exchange fellowship for a secondment to Horiba Jobin Yvon IBH Ltd.

20th May 2015

Culham thesis prize winner - Dr David Maclellan

Dr David MacLellan has been awarded the Institute of Physics’ Culham Thesis Prize for 2015.

4th April 2015

Rapid-Fire Amplification beyond the Quantum Limit but without Quantum Resources

John Jeffers and recent CNQO PhD graduate Electra Eleftheriadou have recently published a paper on the State Comparison Amplifier in Physical Review Letters.

31st March 2015

Strathclyde physicist joins Scotland’s National Academy

The Department is pleased to congratulate Professor Dino Jaroszynski on his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

6th March 2015 

Noted Publications of 2014

Strathclyde Physics has been recognized for papers published in 2014.

2nd March 2015

Discriminatory optical force for chiral molecules

In a recent paper in New Journal of Physics, Robert Cameron, Stephen Barnett and Alison Yao demonstrated that readily producible types of light can be employed to exert a force that accelerates chiral molecules in opposite directions.

27th February 2015

“Spooky action at a distance” key in telling physical processes apart

In their paper, Necessary and sufficient quantum information characterization of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen steering, published in Physical Review Letters, Dr Marco Piani of the Department of Physics and Prof John Watrous, at University of Waterloo, break new ground in the study of the usefulness of quantum steering.

14th February 2015

APS Outstanding Referee

John Jeffers has been elected as an Outstanding Referee by the American Physical Society.

5th February 2015

Optics in 2014

A joint contribution between Strathclyde Physics and the Institut Non Linéaire (INLN) in Nice on Optomechanical self-structuring of cold atoms has been highlighted as the most exciting peer-reviewed optics research to have emerged over the past 12 months in Optics & Photonics News, published by the Optical Society of America.

15th January 2015


Inductive ring trap paper in Nature Communications

In a paper published in Nature Communications, physicists at the Universities of Sussex and Dr Aidan Arnold of Strathclyde show a way to make a new type of flexibly designed microscopic trap for atoms.

27th November 2014

Relativistic electron transport in melting solids

The transport physics of multi-mega-Ampere currents of laser-accelerated electrons in solids is of fundamental importance to many promising applications of high power lasers.

11th November 2014 

Tom Gibson Memorial Award 2014

The 2014 recipient of the Tom Gibson Memorial Award is Prof. Gail McConnell of the Centre for Biophotonics, SIPBS.

9th September 2014

Quantum sealing with classical wax

John Jeffers and co-workers at Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities, have implemented a quantum digital signature protocol that does not require the quantum signature to be stored in quantum memory.

23rd July 2014


We are pleased to announce Adrian Cross has been promoted to Professor. This reflects Adrian's many achievements in the ABP group that he now leads.

12th June 2014

Desktop Supernova

Laser beams 60,000 billion times more powerful than a laser pointer have been used to recreate scaled supernova explosions in the laboratory as a way of investigating one of the most energetic events in the Universe.

4th June 2014 

Entanglement in Space

Recent work by a Strathclyde physicist Dr Daniel Oi and others has been highlighted on the popular website The research, published in the New Journal of Physics, is a proposal to test the effect of acceleration and orbital manoeuvres on the entanglement shared between two Bose-Einstein condensates carried by CubeSats. 

2nd June 2014 

Green Honors Visiting Chair

Professor David Birch has been appointed to the Green Honors Visiting Chair in Physics at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Self-organized optomechanical patterns in Nature Photonics

The physics behind some of nature’s most spectacular structures have been observed in an atomic gas at very low temperatures - less than a thousandth of a degree away from absolute zero - by a collaboration of researchers from the Optics Division and the Institut Non Linéaire de Nice in Sophia-Antipolis, France.

24th March 2014

First Fraunhofer UK research chair announced

The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced the appointment of Professor Alan Kemp as the first Fraunhofer UK/RAEng research chair at the University of Strathclyde. Alan heads the Advanced Laser Group at the Institute of Photonics.

21st February 2014

Monochromatic X-ray production using Laser Back Scattering from an Electron Linac (Elbe)

In the early days of SUPA, Wilfred Galster and I won a SUPA award to build an advanced vacuum system to study monochromatic X-ray production. The principal application of monochromatic X-rays is in the field of medical diagnostics.

22nd January 2014