Professor Paul McKenna

Head Of Department


Personal statement

Paul McKenna's research interests focus on high power laser-plasma interactions. His present research topics include: laser-driven ion acceleration; fast electron generation and transport in dense plasma, and application to the development of advanced schemes for inertial fusion energy; high field physics at the focus of ultra-intense laser pulses; plasma optics; and, laser-driven nuclear physics. 
He is an EPSRC Leadership fellow since 2012 and a Professor of Laser-Plasma Physics at the University of Strathclyde since 2011. He received his PhD at Queens University Belfast in 2000, before becoming a postdoctoral fellow at the university of Glasgow from 2000-2002. From 2002-2005, he held a Royal Society of Edinburgh Personal Research Fellowship at the University of Strathclyde, and was appointed to a Lectureship at the university in 2006, and a Readership in 2008.


Role of magnetic field evolution on filamentary structure formation in intense laser-foil interactions
King M, Butler N M H, Wilson R, Capdessus R, Gray R J, Powell H, Dance R, Padda H, Gonzalez-Izquierdo B, Rusby D R, Dover N P, Hicks G, Ettlinger O, Scullion C, Carroll D C, Najmudin Z, Borghesi M, Neely D, McKenna P
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 7 (2019)
Multi-millijoule coherent terahertz bursts from picosecond laser-irradiated metal foils
Liao Guoqiang, Li Yutong, Liu Hao, Scott Graeme G, Neely David, Zhang Yihang, Zhu Baojun, Zhang Zhe, Armstrong Chris, Zemaityte Egle, Bradford Phil, Huggard Peter G, Rusby Dean R, McKenna Paul, Brenner Ceri M, Woolsey Nigel C, Wang Weimin, Sheng Zhengming, Zhang Jie
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol 116, pp. 3994-3999 (2019)
Quantum electrodynamics experiments with colliding Peta-Watt laser pulses
Turcu ICE, Shen B, Neely D, Sarri G, Tanaka KA, McKenna P, Mangles SPD, Yu T-P, Luo W, Zhu X-L, Yin Y
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 7 (2019)
Laser pulse compression towards collapse and beyond in plasma
Wilson Thomas Cunningham, Li Fei-yu, Weng Su-Ming, Chen Min, McKenna Paul, Sheng Zheng-Ming
Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Vol 52 (2019)
DNA DSB repair dynamics following irradiation with laser-driven protons at ultra-high dose rates
Hanton F, Chaudhary P, Doria D, Gwynne D, Maiorino C, Scullion C, Ahmed H, Marshall T, Naughton K, Romagnani L, Kar S, Schettino G, McKenna P, Botchway S, Symes D R, Rajeev P P, Prise K M, Borghesi M
Scientific Reports, pp. 1-31 (2019)
An optically multiplexed single-shot time resolving probe of laser-plasma dynamics
Davidson Z E, Gonzalez Izquierdo B, Higginson A, Lancaster K L, Williamson S D R, King M, Farley D, Neely D, McKenna P, Gray R J
Optics Express Vol 27, pp. 4416-4423 (2019)

more publications

Professional activities

STFC, Rutherford Appleton Lab, CLF
Visiting researcher
Invited Talk at the 35th European Conference on Laser Interaction with Matter
SUPA Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (External organisation)
Invited Talk / Lecture at the Culham Plasma Physics Summer School 2018
PhD thesis examination at Queens University Belfast
Invited Talk / Tutorial at the 2nd International Conference on Nuclear Photonics

more professional activities


Industrial CASE Account - University of Strathclyde 2018 | Horne, Alana
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Horne, Alana (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2022
Advanced laser-plasma optics technology
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2022
Accelerating the Middle East -- EPSRC GCRF Institutional Sponsorship
Hidding, Bernhard (Principal Investigator) McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Principal Investigator) Jaroszynski, Dino (Principal Investigator)
Compact plasma accelerators for applications e.g. in life and space sciences with sustainable socio-economic benefit for Turkey and the Middle East are being developed.
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018
Harwell Imaging Partnership project | Frazer, Timothy
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Co-investigator) Frazer, Timothy (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2021
Nonlinear Optics and Dynamics in Relativistically Transparent Plasmas
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) King, Martin (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2021
EPSRC Global Challenges Research Fund Institutional Sponsorship Award 2017 (GCRF) / R171051-106
Hidding, Bernhard (Principal Investigator) Jaroszynski, Dino (Co-investigator) McKenna, Paul (Co-investigator) Sheng, Zheng-Ming (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018

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