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.


Control of laser light by a plasma immersed in a tunable strong magnetic field
Zheng Xiaolong, Weng Suming, Ma Hanghang, Wang Yuanxiang, Chen Min, McKenna Paul, Sheng Zhengming
Optics Express Vol 27, pp. 23529-23538 (2019)
Multi-stage scheme for non-linear Breit-Wheeler pair-production utilising ultra-intense laser-solid interactions
Duff M J, Capdessus R, Ridgers C P, McKenna P
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion Vol 61 (2019)
Features of the generation of fast particles from microstructured targets irradiated by high intensity, picosecond laser pulses
Sedov MV, Faenov AYa, Andreev AA, Skobelev IYu, Ryazantsev SN, Pikuz TA, Durey P, Doehl L, Farley D, Baird CD, Lancaster KL, Murphy CD, Booth N, Spindloe C, Platonov KYu, McKenna P, Kodama R, Woolsey N, Pikuz SA
Laser and Particle Beams Vol 37, pp. 176-183 (2019)
Simultaneous polarization transformation and amplification of multi-petawatt laser pulses in magnetized plasmas
Zheng Xiaolong, Weng Suming, Zhang Zhe, Ma Hanghang, Chen Min, McKenna Paul, Sheng Zheng-Ming
Optics Express Vol 27, pp. 19319-19330 (2019)
Ultra-short, beamed source of laser-driven epithermal neutrons
Mirfayzi S R, Mori T, Rusby D, Armstrong C, Ahmed H, Borghesi M, Brenner CM, Clarke RJ, Davidson ZE, Doria D, Jones C P, McKenna P, Neely D, Scott T B, Yogo A, Kar S
Applied Physics Letters (2019)
Bremsstrahlung emission from high power laser interactions with constrained targets for industrial radiography
Armstrong C D, Brenner C M, Jones C, Rusby D R, Davidson Z E, Zhang Y, Wragg J, Richards S, Spindloe C, Oliveira P, Notley M, Clarke R, Mirfayzi S R, Kar S, Li Y, Scott T, McKenna P, Neely D
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 7 (2019)

more publications

Professional activities

Plenary Talk at the International Laser-Plasma Accelerator Workshop 2019
Invited Talk at the International Conference on High Energy Density Science 2019
SPIE Optics symposium
Program Committee for European Physical Society Plasma Physics Conference
EPSRC Physical Sciences Prioritisation panel (External organisation)
STFC, Rutherford Appleton Lab, CLF
Visiting researcher

more professional activities


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
Advanced laser-plasma optics technology | Lofrese, Antonio
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Lofrese, Antonio (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2022
Doctoral Training Partnership 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Lofrese, Antonio
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Lofrese, Antonio (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 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

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