Professor Paul McKenna

Head Of Department


Personal statement

Professor Paul McKenna is a laser-plasma physicist and presently Head of the Department of Physics. His research focuses on ultra-intense laser-plasma interactions, including the development and application of laser-driven particle and radiation sources, plasma optics and high field science.

After graduating with a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast and undertaking a short period of postdoctoral research at the University of Glasgow, Paul moved to the University of Strathclyde upon award of a Royal Society of Edinburgh personal research fellowship in 2002. He was appointed to an academic position in 2005, and promoted to Reader in 2008 and to Professor in 2011. He has also held a visiting position at the Central Laser Facility at Harwell and was an EPSRC Leadership Fellow from 2012-2017.


Determining the short laser pulse contrast based on X-Ray emission spectroscopy
Martynenko AS, Skobelev IYu, Pikuz SA, Ryazantsev SN, Baird C, Booth N, Doehl L, Durey P, Farley D, Kodama R, Lancaster Kate, McKenna P, Murphy C, Spindloe C, Pikuz TA, Woolsey N
High Energy Density Physics Vol 38 (2021)
Optimization of a laser plasma-based x-ray source according to WDM absorption spectroscopy requirements
Martynenko AS, Pikuz SA, Skobelev IYu, Ryazantsev SN, Baird C, Booth N, Doehl L, Durey P, Faenov A Ya, Farley D, Kodama R, Lancaster KL, McKenna P, Murphy CD, Spindloe C, Pikuz T A, Woolsey N
Matter and Radiation at Extremes Vol 6 (2021)
HPLSE editorial tribute to Professor David Neely
Danson Colin, McKenna Paul
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 9 (2021)
Bremsstrahlung emission and plasma characterization driven by moderately relativistic laser-plasma interactions
Singh Sushil Kumar, Armstrong Chris, Kang Ning, Ren Lei, Liu Huiya, Hua Neng, Rusby Dean R, Klimo Ondrej, Versaci Roberto, Zhang Yan, Sun Mingying, Zhu Baoqiang, Lei Anle, Ouyang Xiaoping, Lancia Livia, Garcia Alejandro Laso, Wagner Andreas, Cowan Thomas E, Zhu Jianqiang, Schlegel Theodor, Weber Stefan, McKenna Paul, Neely David, Tikhonchuk Vladimir Timofeevich, Kumar Deepak
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion Vol 63 (2021)
High-density electron-ion bunch formation and multi-GeV positron production via radiative trapping in extreme-intensity laser-plasma interactions
Capdessus R, Gremillet L, McKenna P
New Journal of Physics Vol 22 (2020)
Development of control mechanisms for a laser wakefield accelerator-driven bremsstrahlung X-ray source for advanced radiographic imaging
Underwood C I D, Baird C D, Murphy C D, Armstrong C D, Thorton C, Finlay O J, Streeter M J V, Selwood M P, Brierley N, Cipiccia S, Gruse J-N, McKenna Paul, Najmudin Z, Neely D, Rusby D, Symes D R, Brenner C M
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion Vol 62 (2020)

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Professional activities

Plenary Invited Talk at International Workshop on Laboratory Astrophysics
Co-Chair of the Superstrong field session of the International Conference on Laser Optics - ICLO2020
External Advisor for a new Physics UG course at the University of Birmingham
UKRI-EPSRC ARCHER2 Pioneer Projects Panel member (External organisation)
ELI-NP First Users Workshop
Talk at the International Conference on Laser Optics - ICLO2020

More professional activities


Cockcroft Institute Covid-19 Grant Extension (CoA) Allocation
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2021
Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-2021 University of Strathclyde | Bacon, Ewan
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Bacon, Ewan (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2024
STFC Strathclyde 2020 DTP
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 30-Jan-2024
PANAMA: Plasma Accelerators for Nuclear Applications and Materials Analysis (panama) - National Nuclear User Facility Phase 2
Renshaw, Joanna (Principal Investigator) Jaroszynski, Dino (Co-investigator) Lunn, Rebecca (Co-investigator) McKenna, Paul (Co-investigator) Bots, Pieter (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2023
Doctoral Training Partnership 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Goodman, Jack
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Goodman, Jack (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2023
Doctoral Training Partnership 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Dolier, Ewan
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Dolier, Ewan (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2023

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