The Queen’s University of Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast is a member of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK research-intensive universities, providing worldclass education underpinned by world-class research. The University has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education on five occasions, four prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Awards further recognises the University’s contribution to society.

With more than 17,000 students and 3,500 staff, it is a dynamic and diverse institution, a magnet for inward investment, a patron of the arts and a global player in areas ranging from cancer studies to sustainability, and from pharmaceuticals to creative writing. Queen’s University coordinates about 30 FP7 projects and has been/is involved as partner in about 120 FP7 projects.

The Centre for Plasma Physics (CPP) at QUB currently hosts the largest grouping of academics in the UK in the field of laser-plasma physics and laser-matter interaction: 14 academics, 7 postdocs, 30 PhD students. The group has a state-of-the-art laser facility, which is used in two fully equipped interaction areas, for experiments in ion acceleration, radiobiology and ion irradiation of solid state materials. Members of the group are recognized international leaders in laser-ion acceleration and applications, HHG production and warm dense matter studies. The group holds a strong funding portfolio, from the UK Research Councils and a number of other sources.

The key persons are:

  1. Professor Marco Borghesi has broad experimental expertise in laser-plasma interaction physics, with particular interest in laserdriven ion acceleration, biomedical applications of laser-accelerated particles, transient field diagnosis in plasmas, collisionless shock studies.
  2. Professor Matt Zepf. His main interests involve understanding of ionised matter research with an emphasis on laser and electrically produced plasmas and a focus on femtosecond and high intensity laser, plasma and charged particle interactions with matter at the atomic scale.
  3. Dr Ioannis Kourakis has massive expertise in Nonlinear Physics and Applied Mathematics, as applied to complex plasma dynamics, materials science and nonlinear optics, among other areas. His current research focuses on the dynamics of solitary waves and shocks in high-power laser-plasma interactions and in multicomponent plasmas. He is Principal Coordinator of an EU-funded mobility network (IRSES grant) on Quantum Plasmas, combining 5 universities from 4 countries.
  4. Dr. Brendan Dromey has wide experience in high power laser plasma interactions. His main expertise is in the study of coherent extreme ultraviolet and x-ray generation using both gaseous and solid media with specific emphasis on attosecond pulse generation. More recently Dr. Dromey has developed novel experimental techniques for the study of ultrafast laser-driven ion damage in matter.
  5. Dr Brian Reville’s expertise covers a broad area of astrophysical and laboratory plasmas. Past research interests focussed primarily on non-thermal acceleration of particles at astrophysical shocks, using arange of analytic and numerical techniques. More recently, his focus has shifted towards laboratory plasmas, in particular novel methods of generating collisionless shocks in the laboratory, and how such experiments can extend our current knowledge of astrophysical sources. He is also involved in several discovery science experiments at NIF and OMEGA laser facilities, investigating plasma dynamo, as well as other methods, as a source of strong magnetic fields in the Universe.
  6. Dr. Gianluca Sarri is a young lecturer in Physics at the Queen’s University Belfast. His work predominantly focusses on experimental studies of high-intensity laser-matter interactions with particular attention to particle acceleration and laboratory astrophysics. In only 6 years of post-doctoral activity, he has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, of which 12 in Physical Review Letters and 1 in Nature Communications. Among other world-leading results, he has led experimental campaigns that generated, for the first time, neutral and high-density electron-positron plasmas in the laboratory.