I first joined Queen's in 2006 as an undergraduate, and completed my Master's degree at the Atomistic Simulation Centre. In 2010 I moved to the Centre for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics as a PhD student to work with Professor Hugo van der Hart on ultrafast processes in intense laser atom interactions. I joined the staff as lecturer upon completion of my PhD in 2013.
My main research interest is in the crossover between traditional atomic physics and ultrafast dynamics. Processes evolving on the attosecond scale can provide us with an insight into the most fundamental inner workings of matter. In order to resolve those insights into meaningful understanding, workers at Queen's have developed 'time-dependent R-matrix theory', a computational method for the description of ultrafast processes from first principles. My research to date has been to extend TDRM theory to harmonic generation, an ultrafast process whereby an atom stimulated by a short, intense laser pulse re-readiates odd harmonics of the driving laser light. This research provided some of the world's first insights into how interactions between electrons can have a major impact on harmonic generation, and highlighted the need for a better theoretical description of the process.
The computational methods required to describe the very complex systems in question are extremely complex themselves, and in general have to be run on a massively parallel computer cluster. Recent research at Queen's has yielded the R-matrix with time-dependence code which has now been deployed successfully on more than 4000 cores. I have some considerable interest in high-performance computing in general, and I feel that pushing the limits of these computational methods has more far-reaching benefits than just in attosecond physics.