Matthew Charlwood - Student Profile
Current research project
Photo-ionised Plasmas in the Laboratory
Photo-ionised plasmas are frequently associated with accretion-powered astrophysical objects such as binary stars and black holes. The radiation fields of these astrophysical objects are such that photoexcitation and ionisation rates are relatively high compared to electron collisional excitation and ionisation rates. As large x-ray fluxes are required to achieve high values of the photoionisation parameter ξ, which characterises the distribution of ionisation, large laser facilities must be used to generate the extremely intense, nanosecond x-ray sources needed to drive the plasmas.
This research project will attempt to create photo-ionised plasmas in the laboratory, analyse their emission against computer models which usually model the emissions from astrophysical objects in order to produce a laboratory benchmark for photo-ionised plasmas under well-defined conditions.
Matthew Charlwood graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in June 2019, obtaining a Master in Science with First Class Honours in Physics and Astrophysics. Matthew was also awarded a Degree Plus in recognition of his contribution to University life beyond the programme of Academic study.
Matthew began his PhD research in August 2019 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for 6 weeks where he and researchers at Queens used the VULCAN Laser at Target Area West to generate intense X-ray sources that would drive plasmas. The results gained from this experiment (X-ray interaction with Foil and Gas Targets) will produce at least two academic papers for publication as well as being included in Matthew’s thesis.
Matthew’s PhD has been funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE).
- X-Ray Spectroscopy