Atoms, beams & plasmas

Our research is broadly based on free electron physics, accelerator science, plasma physics and atomic and molecular spectroscopy. Current topics we're researching are listed below.

Free electron physics

  • Microwave amplifiers and oscillators based on free electron techniques
  • High frequency sources based on novel slow wave and fast wave systems to address the ‘THz gap’
  • Novel electron optical systems for forming low emittance electron beams

Particle accelerator technology

Plasma physics

  • Theoretical investigation of plasma wave propagation and evolution of non-linear structures using fluid and kinetic approaches
  • Investigation into non-linear wave interactions in the ionosphere
  • Experimental and numerical investigations of magnetospheric cyclotron instabilities, non-linear behaviour of instabilities in non-thermal plasmas and pseudospark discharges
  • Theoretical, numerical and experimental investigation of parametric instabilities in plasmas
  • Theoretical and numerical investigation of relativistic laser plasma interactions
  • Low pressure and low temperature experimental plasma physics
  • Particle in Cell (PiC) simulations of plasma dynamics
  • Theoretical and numerical simulations of quantum plasmas
  • Research relevant to inertial and magnetic confinement fusion and shock physics

Atomic & molecular spectroscopy

  • Fundamental atomic scattering theory and collisional-radiative modelling theory
  • Development of the ADAS software and database for computation of atomic energy levels and transition rate coefficients
  • Analysis of storage ring collision measurements
  • Analysis of spectra from laboratory (including fusion) and space plasmas

Who we work with

In the UK we've strong working relationships with:

Many members of the ABP group are also part of the Cockcroft Institute, working on accelerator science. Internationally we work with West Virginia and Maryland Universities in the USA and the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

We're engaged in the MICE collaboration, the ADAS project, JET, ITER and the UK Atomic Processes for Astrophysical Plasmas (APAP) network including the space missions Hinode and Solar Orbiter.

We also have strong links and long term partnerships with a number of leading UK high technology manufacturing companies.

Strathclyde Intense Laser Interaction Studies (SILIS)

The SILIS group investigate radiation-beam-plasma interactions at large field intensities for the production of high energy particle beams (electrons, protons, ions) and high brightness radiation pulses (X-rays, gamma-rays, THz).

Applications of these beams in medical, industrial and scientific fields is at the heart of the new Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators (SCAPA). SCAPA is a world-leading research centre comprising a suite of high-power femtosecond terawatt laser systems and shielded radiation bunkers.

Our research topics

  • Laser-driven accelerators (wakefield, target normal sheath, radiation pressure)
  • Coherent radiation sources (betatron, free-electron laser)
  • Laser-driven inertial fusion and nuclear physics (transmutation, isotope production)
  • Radiobiology and medical imaging
  • High field physics relevant to the new EU Extreme Light Infrastructure facilities

Related research groups

Useful links