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Dr Connor Ballance's research interests involve the fundamental exploration of atomic and molecular structure, associated collisional processes and their application to plasma interpretation.    

Their group at Queen's involves first principle investigations of atomic and molecular structure, subsequent atomic collisional calculations such as electron-impact excitation, ionisation and recombination and alsophotoionisation. This allows the associated collisional rates to be integrated within astrophysical modelling packages such as CLOUDY or XSTAR. 

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Open to PhD applications in the field of 

  • The interface between fundamental atomic physics and astrophysics.
  • Candidates should be also interested in taking first principle fundamental research through to application.
  • High performance computing is a significant component of the work.


  • We are part of the ADAS consortium and the international Iron Project working toward updated stellar opacities.
  • We also hold workshops at Queen's both in fundamental atomic physics and spectroscopy in astrophysics. 


Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

School of Mathematics and Physics


Research students

PhD title: Fe II emission as a chronometer for high red-shift quasars  

Name: Ryan Smyth
Years of Study: 2016 - 2019
Country: United Kingdom

PhD title: Application of Fe spectra within CLOUDY

Name: Andrew Conroy 
Years of Study: 2017-2020
Country: Northern Ireland


Alumni: where are they now?

Dr Niall Tyndall

PhD title:  A Detailed study of astrophysical elements for important astrophysical elements

Years of Study: 2012 - 2015
Country: United Kingdom
Current position: Cyber-security Industry

 Dr Michael Turkington

PhD title:  Heavy Species R-matrix Calculations in support of Fusion Diagnostics

Years of Study: 2003-2006
Country: United Kingdom
Current position: Lecturing at Stranmillis College

Research at Queen's

Postgraduate research

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