Professor Paul McKenna


Personal statement

Paul McKenna is a Professor of Laser-Plasma 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.

He is a member of EPSRC's Capital Infrastructure Strategic Advisory Team since 2017 and a former member of STFC's Science Board (2017-20). He holds scientific advisory roles for several international high power laser facilities and held a visiting position at the Central Laser Facility at Harwell. He was an EPSRC Leadership Fellow from 2012-17 and was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2021.

Within the University, Paul is currently the Vice Dean Research in the Faculty of Science and a member of the Faculty Executive Team. He was Head of Department of Physics from August 2018 to July 2021. 


Magnetic field amplification by high power lasers in underdense plasma
Wilson T C, Sheng Z-M, Eliasson B, McKenna P
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion Vol 63 (2021)
Influence of target-rear-side short scale length density gradients on laser-driven proton acceleration
Higginson A, Wilson R, Goodman J, King Martin, Dance Rachel, Butler Nick, Armstrong Chris, Notley Margaret, Carroll David, Fang Yuan, Yuan Xiaohui, Neely David, Gray Ross, McKenna Paul
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion (2021)
Efficient bright γ-ray vortex emission from a laser-illuminated light-fan-in-channel target
Zhang Hao, Zhao Jie, Hu Yanting, Li Qianni, Lu Yu, Cao Yue, Zou Debin, Sheng Zhengming, Pegoraro Francesco, McKenna Paul, Shao Fuqiu, Yu Tongpu
High Power Laser Science and Engineering (2021)
A history of high-power laser research and development in the United Kingdom
Danson Colin N, White Malcolm, Barr John R M, Bett Thomas, Blyth Peter, Bowley David, Brenner Ceri, Collins Robert J, Croxford Neal, Dangor A E Bucker, Devereux Laurence, Dyer Peter E, Dymoke-Bradshaw Anthony, Edwards Christopher B, Edwart Paul, Ferguson AIlister I, Girkin John M, Hall Denis R, Hanna David C, Harris Wayne, Hillier David I, Hooker Christopher J, Hooker Simon M, Hopps Nicholas, Hull Janet, Hunt David, Jaroszynski Dino A, Kempenaars Mark, Kessler Helmut, Knight Peter L, Knight Steve, Knowles Adrian, Lewis Ciaran L S, Lipton Ken S, Littlechild Abby, Littlechild John, Maggs Peter, Malcolm Graeme P A, Mangles Stuart P D, Martin William, McKenna Paul, Moore Richard O, Morrison Clive, Najmudin Zulfikar, Neely David, New Geoff H C, Norman Michael J, Paine Ted, Parker Anthony W, Penman Rory R, Pert Geoff J, Pietraszewski Chris, Randewich Andrew, Rizvi Nadeem H, Seddon Nigel, Sheng Zheng-Ming, Slater David, Smith Roland A, Spindloe Christopher, Taylor Roy, Thomas Gary, Tisch John W G, Wark Justin S, Webb Colin, Wiggins S Mark, Willford Dave, Winstone Trevor
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 9 (2021)
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)

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Professional activities

Talk at the SPIE-2021 - Enhanced laser intensity and ion acceleration due to self-focusing in expanding ultrathin foils
Talk at the SPIE-2021 - High-order mode structure & spectral interferometry in ultrathin foils: underpinning physics of transparency-enhanced ion acceleration
Plenary Invited Talk at International Workshop on Laboratory Astrophysics
Co-Chair of the Superstrong field session of the International Conference on Laser Optics - ICLO2020
UKRI-EPSRC ARCHER2 Pioneer Projects Panel member (External organisation)
External Advisor for a new Physics UG course at the University of Birmingham

More professional activities


Cockcroft Phase 4
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Cross, Adrian (Co-investigator) Hidding, Bernhard (Co-investigator) McNeil, Brian (Co-investigator) Ronald, Kevin (Co-investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2025
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 | 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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