Professor Paul McKenna

Deputy Associate Principal


Personal statement

Paul McKenna is Deputy Associate Principal (Research & Knowledge Exchange). He leads activity in the areas of Research and Knowledge Exchange, with associated roles aligning with the University’s Postgraduate Research portfolio and Researcher Development. He was Vice Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Science from September 2021 to January 2023 and Head of the Department of Physics from August 2018 to August 2021.

Prof. McKenna’s research focuses on ultra-intense laser-plasma interactions, including the development and application of laser-driven particle and radiation sources, plasma optics and photonics, 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 (e.g. the Program Advisory Committee for the Extreme Light infrastructure-Nuclear Physics facility) 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.


Automated control and optimisation of laser driven ion acceleration
Loughran B, Streeter M J V, Ahmed H, Astbury S, Balcazar M, Borghesi M, Bourgeois N, Curry C B, Dann S J D, DiIorio S, Dover N P, Dzelzanis T, Ettlinger O C, Gauthier M, Giuffrida L, Glenn G D, Glenzer S H, Green J S, Gray R J, Hicks G S, Hyland C, Istokskaia V, King M, Margarone D, McCusker O, McKenna P, Najmudin Z, Parisuaña C, Parsons P, Spindloe C, Symes D R, Thomas A G R, Treffert F, Xu N, Palmer C A J
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 11 (2023)
Optimisation and control of synchrotron emission in ultraintense laser-solid interactions using machine learning
Goodman J, King M, Dolier E J, Wilson R, Gray R J, McKenna P
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 11 (2023)
Versatile tape-drive target for high-repetition-rate laser-driven proton acceleration
Xu N, Streeter M J V, Ettlinger O C, Ahmed H, Astbury S, Borghesi M, Bourgeois N, Curry C B, Dann S J D, Dover N P, Dzelzainis T, Istokskaia V, Gauthier M, Giuffrida L, Glenn G D, Glenzer S H, Gray R J, Green J S, Hicks G S, Hyland C, King M, Loughran B, Margarone D, McCusker O, McKenna P, Parisuaña C, Parsons P, Spindloe C, Symes D R, Treffert F, Palmer C A J, Najmudin Z
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 11 (2023)
Self-focusing, compression and collapse of ultrashort weakly-relativistic Laguerre Gaussian lasers in near-critical plasma
Wilson T C, Sheng Z-M, McKenna P, Hidding B
Journal of Physics Communications Vol 7 (2023)
Probing bulk electron temperature via x-ray emission in a solid density plasma
Makur K, Ramakrishna B, Krishnamurthy S, Kakolee K F, Kar S, Cerchez M, Prasad R, Markey K, Quinn M N, Yuan X H, Green J S, Scott R H H, McKenna P, Osterholz J, Willi O, Norreys P A, Borghesi M, Zepf M
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion Vol 65 (2023)
Laser Wakefield accelerator modelling with variational neural networks
Streeter MJV, Colgan C, Cobo CC, Arran C, Los EE, Watt R, Bourgeois N, Calvin L, Carderelli J, Cavanagh N, Dann S JD, Fitzgarrald R, Gerstmayr E, Joglekar AS, Kettle B, Mckenna P, Murphy CD, Najmudin Z, Parsons P, Qian Q, Rajeev PP, Ridgers CP, Symes DR, Thomas AGR, Sarri G, Mangles SPD
High Power Laser Science and Engineering Vol 11 (2023)

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Professional activities

Program Committee member for the 2023 SPIE International Conference on Applications of Laser-Driven Particle Acceleration
Invited Talk at the Cockcroft Institute Scientific Advisory Committee meeting 2022
Invited Talks (Lectures) at the ELI-Nuclear Physics autumn school 2022
External examiner for a PhD candidate at École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, Paris
SUPA Board of Directors - Member (External organisation)
Future accelerators for biomedical applications Workshop Program Committee member (External organisation)

More professional activities


The Laser-hybrid Accelerator for Radiobiological Applications
Whyte, Colin (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) McKenna, Paul (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2024
Industrial CASE Account - University of Strathclyde 2022
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2027
STFC Lancaster Cockcroft 2022 DTP - Christopher McQueen
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2026
DTP 2224 University of Strathclyde
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2028
Optimisation and control of laser-driven radiation sources using machine learning
Gray, Ross (Principal Investigator) McKenna, Paul (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2026
Industrial CASE Account - University of Strathclyde 2022 | Torrance, Ben
McKenna, Paul (Principal Investigator) Gray, Ross (Co-investigator) Torrance, Ben (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2026

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