Thursday March 16, 2017

CTAMOP student in parliament

CTAMOP PhD student Kathryn Hamilton competed this week in the STEM for Britain (formerly SET for Britain) poster competition in the Houses of Parliament in London.

Her poster, 'Electrons under inspection', detailed her work using the RMT method to investigate electron dynamics in intense laser-atom interactions.

As part of her visit, Kathryn was entertained by her parliamentary representative, Ian Paisley Junior!

and Ian Paisley Junior

Monday March 13, 2017

IOP outstanding reviewer award

CTAMOP lecturer, Gabriele De Chiara has been chosen by IOP Publishing for their ‘Outstanding Reviewer’ awards, 2016.

Dr De Chiara was recognised for the “quantity, timeliness and quality of [his] reviews in 2016”- particularly for reviews written for the New Journal of Physics- and joins a list of outstanding reviewers from across the globe recognised in this award.

According to the IOP, “without the contribution and expertise of our reviewer community, it would be impossible to maintain the high standards of the journal”.

The full list of awardees, and more information on the IOP's partnership with peer reviewers can be found here.

Congratulations to Gabriele, and to our colleague Dr Gianluca Sarri in the Centre for Plasma Physics, who was also recognised in this years list.

Wednesday March 08, 2017

New job opportunity in CTAMOP

A new post-doctoral research assistant (PDRA) post has been advertised through the university's career's portal.

There are in fact two PDRA positions available to work in the intense laser-atom interactions area in the group of Hugo van der Hart and Dr Andrew Brown. The first is a three-year post to develop capability to investigate ultrafast, relativistic dynamics in atoms, and the second, a two-year position to investigate the interaction of arbitrarily polarised light with atomic and ionic targets.

All details and the application form can be found via the job listing on the Queen's website.

Wednesday March 01, 2017

More Grant success for laser-atom interactions

Following a triple success of grant awards for CTAMOP in January, Prof Hugo van der Hart and Dr Andrew Brown have been awarded another grant to pursue their work in strong-field atomic physics.

The grant is awarded by the EPSRC under the Software Flagship call, and provides funds to support the development of the groups' RMT (R-matrix with time-dependence) code suite.

The award will support two years of research both at QUB and the Open University (Jimena Gorfinkiel), with provision for a post-doctoral research assistant in both groups.

Friday January 27, 2017

More Grant success for CTAMOP

CTAMOP's Quantum Technology group (QTeQ) has been awarded a major research grant to help developing the new generation of non-classical states for photonics quantum technologies and applications.

Mauro Paternostro will lead the Northern Irish efforts of the project "QuNaNet". The work, which is funded by the DfE-SFI Investigators programme, brings together QTeQ, the group led by Dr. Emanuele Pelucchi at the Tyndall National Institute (Cork, RoI), and the group of Dr. Myriam Arredondo at Queen’s Centre for Nanostrucured Materials.

The goal is to characterise novel solid-state sources of quantum correlated light and design new protocols for the exploitation of such correlations for quantum communication tasks.

The grant, which will provide more than £800,000 to the Queen’s team to develop their part of the work programme, will last until 2022 and will bring one postdoctoral researcher and a PhD student to CTAMOP.

Wednesday January 25, 2017

STEM for Britain competition, 2017

STEM for

CTAMOP PhD student, Kathryn Hamilton, has been selected to showcase her research at the houses of parliament as part of the STEM for Britain (formerly, SET for Britain) poster competition. The annual event is judged by professional and academic experts and gives MPs an opportunity to engage with a wide range of the country's best young researchers.

Kathryn is the fourth CTAMOP member in as many years to attend the event, following her own PhD supervisor, Andrew Brown, in 2014 and Jack Wragg and Dermot Green at last year's competition.

Congratulations to Kathryn, and good luck!

Thursday January 19, 2017

Yet more grant success at CTAMOP

CTAMOP members Dr Catherine Ramsbottom and Dr Connor Ballance's contributions to astrophysics research have been recognised and awarded with two funded projects under a consolidated grant from the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC).

The first project, in collaboration with Prof. Francis Keenan (ARC) and Prof. Gary Ferland from the University of Kentucky is entitled with 'Integrating Atomic data for astrophysical applications: quasers, supernovae and other spectra'. It is expected that a new PDRA will be added to the group to assist with this project.

The second project titled "Modelling the cores of thermonuclear supernova to identify their explosion mechanisms" with collaborator Dr Stuart Sim (ARC) involves generating the atomic collisional data that underpins the production of synthetic spectra which shall be compared with supernovae observations, up to one year post-explosion.

The panel noted that "QUB also has a long-standing international reputation in atomic physics and this connects well with the expansion of research into supernovae physics and related topics".

Thursday January 19, 2017

First paper for CTAMOP PhD student

Congratulations to PhD student Kathryn Hamilton who today had her first paper published in the pages of the prestigious Physical Review A.

The paper reports on the application of the group's RMT code to novel techniques in laser-atom spectroscopy, and once again showcases the world-leading capabilities of the code (and the researchers who have developed it!)

Kathryn is co-supervised by Dr. Andrew Brown and Prof. Hugo van der Hart who are co-authors on the paper. Congratulations to all three.

Tuesday January 17, 2017

Funding success for CTAMOP researchers

The work of three CTAMOP researchers has been recognised with a substantial grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Connor Ballance (working in the atomic structure and collisions field), Andrew Brown and Hugo van der Hart (working in the laser-atom interaction area) were awarded the grant, worth £480,000 over three years, to advance their investigations into elucidating the signatures of multielectron dynamics in strong-field processes.

The proposed code developments will permit the group to investigate the role of the relativistic spin-orbit interaction in ultrafast processes such as high-harmonic generation and attosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. This will solidify the position of the world-leading RMT (R-matrix with time-dependence) code at the forefront of theoretical approaches to strong-field atomic physics.

The award includes provision for a three year funded postdoctoral researcher, so we look forward to welcoming new members to CTAMOP in the near future.

Tuesday January 10, 2017

PhD project project list published

Postgraduate study at CTAMOP Project proposals for PhD study in the Centre for Theoretical Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics (CTAMOP) have now been made available through the centre's website.

The projects span the full gamut of CTAMOP's resarch portfolio, with projects in Quantum information, Atomic physics, Ultrafast Laser-Atom interaction and Antimatter physics on offer.

Full funding (stipend and tuition fees) would be available for a number of UK nationals or EU nationals who have lived in the UK for over 3 years prior to their application. The closing date for funded studentship applications starting October 2017 is 17 February 2016. Applications for self funded applications can be received at any time.

The full list of projects- with detailed descriptions- can be found in the postgraduate studies section of the website and from there applications can be submitted online. We are happy to receive applications from all interested parties.

If you would like to discuss a project with a potential supervisor, contact details can be found in the project descriptions. For general queries about PhD study, please contact Prof. Mauro Paternostro.

Friday November 04, 2016

PhD viva success

Lorenzo Fusco

CTAMOP congratulates Lorenzo Fusco for passing his PhD viva today with a thesis on “Non-equilibrium thermodynamics in quantum many-body systems"! Dr. Gleb Gribakin (from CTAMOP) and Prof. Eric Lutz (Erlangen Universitaet), who examined Lorenzo’s thesis, recommended Lorenzo for the award of his PhD with minor corrections.

Lorenzo’s research at CTAMOP was funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Julian Schwinger Foundation.

Congratulations, Lorenzo, from the whole of CTAMOP.

Thursday November 03, 2016

New paper in Phys. Rev. A

American Physics Society CTAMOP PhD student Sam Law has published a paper in Physical Review A.

The paper reports on Sam's work with Dr Gleb Gribakin, modeling spin-orbit dynamics induced by photo-detachment of C-.

Thursday October 20, 2016

Gabriele de Chiara appointed founding editor for new journal 'Quantum'


Congratulations to CTAMOP member, Gabriele de Chiara, who has been appointed as a founding editor of the journal Quantum

A quote from the journal website explains:

"Quantum is a free and open access peer-reviewed journal for quantum science and related fields. It is an effort by researchers and for researchers to make science more open and publishing more transparent and efficient."

A full list of the founding editors can be found on the website. The journal opens for submissions in November 2016.

Tuesday October 18, 2016

John S Bell day: November 4th 2016

Bell Lecture

Queen's University and the Royal Irish Academy are delighted to announce their celebrations for the 2016 John S Bell Day.

On Friday 4 November 2016, Prof. Ronald Hanson (Delft University) will be hosted by the School of Mathematics and Physics to talk about the legacy of John Bell's work and its implications for the emergence of quantum technologies.

A morning interview and discussion between Prof. Hanson and Leonard Hobbs, former head of public policy at Intel, will be held at Riddel Hall starting from 8:30am.

Prof. Hanson will then give a public lecture at the Bell Lecture Theatre (IRCEP) at 13:00 entitled 'Bell's test of Einstein's spooky action'.

Attendance at both events is free, but attendees must register via the links below.

Register for the morning interview and discussion

Register for the public lecture

Monday September 26, 2016

Welcome new PhD students

CTAMOP is delighted to welcome the new cohort of PhD students to the centre.

Daniel Clarke is funded by the EPSRC to study intense-laser-atom interactions with Prof. Hugo van der Hart. Adam Hewgill will work with Dr. Gabriele De Chiara on many-body physics and non-locality.

Two students are funded by the Department for the Economy (Formerly the Department for Employment and Learning NI): Ryan Smyth will tackle atomic physics processes of astrophysical interest with Dr. Connor Ballance; and David Waide will join Drs. Gleb Gribakin and Dermot Green to study postiron physics.

Friday September 23, 2016

Professor Benno Moiseiwitsch BSc PhD MRIA FIoP

CTAMOP is sad to announce the passing of former member of the department Professor Benno Moiseiwitsch.

Professor Moiseiwitsch was initially appointed at Queen's as a lecturer, he was successively promoted to reader, received a personal chair in Applied Mathematics in 1968, was Dean of the Faculty of Science from 1972 to 1975, and became Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics in 1977. He was elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1969. He remained Head of Department until 1989, retiring in 1993.

Thursday September 08, 2016

PRL success for CTAMOP researchers

XIHHG Spectra of neon CTAMOP researchers in the intense-laser-atom interaction group have recorded another world-leading publication in the field of attoseond science.

The paper appears in the prestigious Physical Review Letters, and reports a new mechanism known as XUV-initiated high-harmonic generation.

Following on from the group's successful collaboration with experimentalists earlier this year, this work represents yet another step forward for highly accurate, ab initio theory, which previously has lagged behind experimental advances. The calculations reported represent, for the first time, theory leading experiment in attosecond physics.

Wednesday August 10, 2016

CTAMOP student awarded ‘best talk’ prize at renowned Summer School

Helena Majury Helena Majury, a joint PhD student of CSIT and CTAMOP, has been awarded the 3rd prize for best short-talk presentation at the recent "International School of Physics E. Fermi on Quantum simulators"

Helena's presentation, which focused on quantum random walks and their implications for quantum state engineering, was commended for the original perspective given to the topic, and the clear exposition.

The Fermi Summer Schools, which are organised in Varenna (Italy) by the Italian Physical Society, are among the most prestigious in physics, and usually involve internationally renowned lecturers.

Helena, who works at CTAMOP with Alessandro Ferraro and Mauro Paternostro and is supported by a DEL Strategic Scholarship, is interested in pushing the paradigm of quantum random walks towards the design of efficient schemes for quantum state and process engineering.

Wednesday August 10, 2016

Royal Society Newton Mobility Award to CTAMOPs member

Newton Fund Prof. Mauro Paternostro, member and Director of Research of CTAMOP, has been awarded a Royal Society Newton Mobility Grant for bilateral collaborations with the group of Prof. O. Mustecaplioglu at Koc University (Istanbul, Turkey).

The grant aims at establishing a formal link between CTAMOP's Quantum Technology Group (QTeQ) and Prof Mustecaplioglu's team in Istanbul on the topic of non equilibrium quantum thermodynamics, which is one of the research strengths of QTeQ.

The grant will support mutual visits between the groups: QTeQ and CTAMOP are looking forward to hosting Prof. Mustecaplioglu and his team members in the next year as part of the support provided by the Royal Society Grant.

Wednesday August 10, 2016

CTAMOP member to tackle quantum research in space

Cost Actions CTAMOP member and Director of research Mauro Paternostro is one of the main proponents of the successful COST Action proposal "Quantum Technology in Space (QTSpace)".

The Action, which aims at investigating the possibility of testing the pillars of quantum mechanics in space-based experiments, towards the assessment of both gravity-induced time dilation and gravity-induced quantum correlations, is the first coordinated initiative bringing together quantum mechanics and space-based research.

Paternostro will act as Vice-Chair of the Action, which already includes researchers from 21 European countries and will be active for 4 years. The Action will have a budget of about 0.5M Euros.

Wednesday June 08, 2016

Double Victory at AMIG meeting

Kathryn Hamilton Jack Wragg
Two young CTAMOP researchers have won the top prizes at an international meeting in Dublin.

Jack Wragg and Kathryn Hamilton won the prizes for best poster and best talk respectively at the summer meeting of the Atomic and Molecular Interactions Group: a sub-group of the Institute of Physics.

Jack's poster, entitled 'An RMT two electron outer region for modelling of ultrafast dynamics', was a summary of the work he has carried out during his PhD with Prof. Hugo van der Hart, which he defended succesfully in May.

Kathryn is a first year PhD student working with Dr. Andrew Brown, and her talk 'Electrons under inspection - Probing electron dynamics via harmonic generation' presented the first study she has carried out into ultrafast processes in two colour laser pulses.

The meeting was a strong showing for CTAMOP with five of the thirteen contributed talks given by PhD students in the group, and seven posters presented by CTAMOP members.

Congratulations to Jack and Kathryn, and to all the PhD students who took part.

Thursday May 05, 2016

CTAMOP on twitter


A new twitter account has been created to cover the life of CTAMOP.

All the news stories you usually find on these pages will be reported (albeit in 140 characters or less!), as well as pictures of the life of the department, seminar announcements and so forth.

Follow us @ctamop.

Monday April 25, 2016

Bates Lectures 2016: Prof. Sandro Stringari

Professor Sandro Stringari

CTAMOP is delighted to announce that the 2016 Bates Lectures will be given by Prof. Sandro Stringari (INO-CNR-BEC Center and Univ. of Trento).

Prof. Stringari is a world-leading expert in the physics of ultracold bosons and fermions with particular emphasis on superfluidity, collective oscillations and rotational properties of trapped BEC. With Lev Pitaevskii, he is the author of one of the most popular monographs on BECs.

The Bates Lectures are aimed at students and staff members in the School of Mathematics and Physics to provide insight into important topics in the Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics area. They are delivered on a yearly basis by an eminent scientist usually nominated by the staff members at CTAMOP.

The schedule, venue, and topics of this years Lectures are as follows:

Title: Superfluidity in ultracold atomic gases
Venue: Bell Lecture Theatre

Tuesday, 24 May 2016 at 11:00-12:30
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 at 11:00-12:30
Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 11:00-12:30

You are all cordially invited to the Lectures, whose attendance is free. PhD students are particularly encouraged to attend and participate actively.

Wednesday March 23, 2016

J. Phys. B: Highlights of 2015

Bucky Ball

Congratulations to Connor Ballance whose paper has been selected by the Editors of Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics for inclusion in the exclusive ' Highlights of 2015' collection.

The paper, entitled "R-matrix with pseudostates study of single photon double ionization of endohedral Be and Mg atoms" concerns the the single photon double ionisation of simple atoms enclosed within a C60 'bucky-ball'.

Dr Connor Ballance Articles are chosen as highlights on the basis of 'referee endorsement, novelty, scientific impact and broadness of appeal.'

Congratulations to Connor and his co-authors from Auburn University and Western Michigan University.

Tuesday March 15, 2016

APS outstanding referee list

APS logo CTAMOP researcher, Emeritus Professor James Walters has been recognised by the American Physical Society (APS) in its list of outstanding referees.

The list, published annually, selects 150 of the approximately 60,000 active referees used by APS, and is thus a highly prestigious honour recognising the referees whose efforts keep 'keep the standards of the journals at a high level'.

James joins Prof. Hugo van der Hart and Dr. Gleb Gribakin who were both awarded outstanding referee status in the 2011 list, and CTAMOP alumnus Myunshik Kim who led the way in 2008.

Monday February 15, 2016

CTAMOP paper in Scientific Reports

Equilibriation and nonclassicality of a double well potential

CTAMOP congratulates Steve Campbell, Gabriele de Chiara and Mauro Paternostro on their high profile publication in Scientific Reports.

The paper addresses a double well loaded with bosonic atoms: a system used to simulate thermalisation and equilibriation. Understanding the physics of ultracold atoms in such arrangements has far reaching implications for quantum technologies: the article lists ultra stable atomic clocks, metrology and quantum memories among among the practical applications.

However, the groups' primary interest is in the fundamental picture at the interface between thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. The work is part funded by an EU project, 'ThermiQ' (Thermodynamics of Mesoscopic Quantum Systems) whose purpose is to conduct fundamental research at this interface. This is just the latest in a series of publications to come from the ThermiQ project.

Congratulations to Steve, Gabriele and Mauro, and all the members of the QteQ group who contribute to this ongoing work.

Monday February 08, 2016

CTAMOP publication in Optics Letters

Attosecond Transient Absorption Spectrogram of Neon A study into the ultrafast absorption of light has broken new ground for CTAMOP researchers. Working with experimentalists at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Dr Andrew Brown and Prof. Hugo van der Hart have seen their work published in the pages of the prestigious, Optics Letters..

This is the first time that the intense laser matter group have collaborated directly with experiment, and one of the first examples of ab initio theory being applied to state-of-the-art experiment.

Traditionally, the dynamics of atoms driven by strong laser fields are beyond the capability of such detailed approaches, and theoreticians have instead used simple, semiclassical models to interpret experimental results. Now, because of the increasingly sensitive spectroscopic techniques employed in experiment there is an urgent need for detailed theory which takes account of atomic structure and multi-electron effects in the dynamics of laser driven atoms in a time-dependent fashion. The RMT technique developed within CTAMOP over the last several years is now uniquely placed to take on this role, as proven by this latest publication.

An exploration of the time-dependent absorption features of neon exposed to a combination of three time-delayed laser pulses (NIR-XUV-NIR) the study elucidates the dynamical pathways along which the atom is driven on the attosecond timescale. It also represents an important experimental step towards so-called two-dimensional spectroscopy, where three laser pulses with two independently controlled time-delays are used to probe ultrafast dynamics.

Tuesday February 02, 2016

Two CTAMOP researchers set for SET for Britain

SET for

Two CTAMOP researchers have been selected to attend a national poster competition in the Houses of Parliament.

EPSRC Fellow Dr. Dermot Green, and PhD student Jack Wragg will attend the event in the Palace of Westminster on 7th March to present their work to members of the parliamentary and scientific committee.

Dermot's poster "Antimatter annihilation in atoms and molecules" focusses on work performed in collaboration with Dr. Gleb Gribakin and former CTAMOP member Dr John Ludlow on determining the effects of complicated many-body correlations on the process of positron annihilation: important for materials science, astrophysics and PET (positron emission tomography).

Jack's 'Watching two electrons move' is an exploration of the stellar work he has done extending time-dependent R-matrix theory to describe double ionisation phenomena.

The competition, called SET for Britain, aims to "encourage, support and promote Britain's early-stage and early-career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians". The annual event is judged by professional and academic experts and gives MPs an opportunity to engage with a wide range of the country's best young researchers.

Congratulations to Jack and Dermot on being selected, and good luck!

Tuesday December 08, 2015

PhD project proposals now available

Postgraduate study at CTAMOP Project proposals for PhD study at CTAMOP have now been made available through the centre's website.

The projects span the full gamut of CTAMOP's resarch portfolio, with projects in Quantum information, Atomic physics, Ultrafast Laser-Atom interaction and Antimatter physics on offer.

Full funding (stipend and tuition fees) would be available for a number of UK nationals or EU nationals who have lived in the UK for over 3 years prior to their application. The closing date for funded studentship applications starting October 2016 is 12 February 2016. Applications for self funded applications can be received at any time.

The full list of projects- with detailed descriptions- can be found in the postgraduate studies section of the website and from there applications can be submitted online. We are happy to receive applications from all interested parties.

If you would like to discuss a project with a potential supervisor, contact details can be found in the project descriptions. For general queries about PhD study, please contact Prof. Mauro Paternostro.

Friday November 06, 2015

CTAMOP member unveils the thermodynamic arrow of time

Nuclear Spins point to arrow of time
Irreversibility is a key concept in physics: the breaking of time-reversal at the macroscopic level ? exemplified in a striking way by the second law of thermodynamics ? goes against the intuition provided by the intrinsic symmetry of the microscopic equations of motion that govern elementary processes at the atomic scale. So whence does the so called "arrow of time" emerge?

Mauro Paternostro, Professor of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information and member of the Quantum Technology Group at Queen's (QTeQ), as part of an international team comprising researchers at CBPF (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Universidade Federal do ABC (Santo André, Brazil) and the University of Erlangen Nuernberg (Germany), has addressed the emergence of the thermodynamic arrow of time by studying experimentally the non-equilibrium dynamics of a liquid NMR sample driven by time-gated microwave pulses. The team has shown that the process driving an initial equilibrium state of the sample towards a non-equilibrium final state is fundamentally and provably different from the reversed "backward" process: I.E. inverting the sign (direction) of time is definitely not sufficient, as witnessed by the emergence of a thermodynamic entropy associated with such a lack of reversibility.

The study has been published in the prestigious pages of Phys. Rev. Lett., where it has been selected as an Editors' Choice and featured in a "Viewpoint" article, authored by Dr. Alexia Auffeves (Institut Neel, Grenoble).

This is only the most recent outcome of the "Thermodynamics of quantum processes" project conducted at CTAMOP by members of QTeQ, who are leading the European network, TherMiQ. This project has received 2.5M Euros from the EU FP7 to investigate the thermodynamics of mesoscopic quantum systems, a burgeoning field in which CTAMOP is an international leader.

Monday November 02, 2015

Successful ARCHER bid for CTAMOP researchers

CTAMOP researchers are celebrating a successful bid for computational resource.

ARCHER- the UK's national supercomputing resource- called for bids which demonstrated leadership in High Performance Computing (HPC), specifically seeking proposals which pushed the boundaries of HPC and represented the potential for high impact research.

The CTAMOP group comprises Prof. Hugo van der Hart, and Drs. Connor Ballance and Andrew Brown who will continue a long standing collaboration with Dr. Jimena Gorfinkiel at the Open University. Their bid focussed on developing capability in the world-leading R-matrix approach, and applying their codes to calculations at the forefront of fusion energy, molecular dynamics and attosecond atomic physics.

The award will also sustain the research of five PhD students in CTAMOP, and two at the OU.

In awarding the 200,000 kAUs (equivalent to ~ 13.3 million CPU hours), the panel noted that they "were certain that this project would deliver high quality science on ARCHER".

Friday October 23, 2015

CTAMOP student publishes a paper in Phys. Rev. Lett.

Mr Ruari McCloskey
Mr. Ruari McCloskey, a third-year PhD student at CTAMOP has recently seen his work on the thermodynamics of open quantum systems published in the highly prestigious pages of Phys. Rev. Lett.

Ruari, who works with Mauro Paternostro within the Quantum Technology Group, has studied the link between information and thermodynamics as implied by the Landauer principle. By constructing a collision-based model for the description of an open quantum dynamics, Ruari, Mauro, and Collaborators from the group led by Prof. G Massimo Palma at the University of Palermo (Italy) have demonstrated the implications of non-Markovianity for general processes of logical irreversibility.

The paper is only one of the most recent research outcomes of the EU FP7-funded Collaborative Project "TherMiQ" led and coordinated at Queen’s by the Quantum Technology Group.

Monday October 19, 2015

CTAMOP welcomes EPSRC Fellow Dr. Dermot Green

Dr. Dermot Green
Dr. Dermot Green, a former PhD student of the Centre, will return to CTAMOP as an EPSRC PostDoctoral Fellow to study "Many-body theory of positron interaction with atoms and molecules". Dermot will be hosted at the Centre for three years, complementing the internationally recognised research on positron physics performed at CTAMOP by Dr. Gleb Gribakin.

The arrival of Dermot opens new, interesting perspectives for the 'many-body theory and positron physics' group at CTAMOP.

Welcome Dermot, and congratulations!

Thursday October 08, 2015

Landmark paper on circularly polarised attosecond laser pulses

Circularly Polarised Attosecond Pulses

A landmark paper in the field of strong field attosecond physics has been published by CTAMOP researchers.

Lukas Medisauskas, a PhD student of Prof. Mikhail Ivanov at the Max Born Institut in Berlin visited CTAMOP in early 2015 to work with Prof. Hugo van der Hart on the problem, and was ably assisted in the development of a new computer code by Jack Wragg.

The paper represents a key breakthrough in the theory of attosecond light-pulse generation. Linearly polarised attosecond pulses can be produced even with table top laser sources using high harmonic generation. For visible and IR lasers, crystals can be used to alter the polarisation, but no such materials exist for the high-energy, ultrashort pulses routinely used for precision measurements of attosecond-scale dynamics.

Prof. Ivanov recently visited the department to deliver the Bates lectures, and commented on the suprising nature of the project.

"When I first saw the results I said, 'This is a mistake... You must go to Belfast and write a new code.' But when two different codes give you the exact same result, you realise it must not be a mistake.".

Congratulations to Jack and Hugo- and their collaborators Lukas and Misha- on yet another excellent publication, which is sure to have a significant impact on the global scale.

Friday October 02, 2015

CTAMOP welcomes new PhD cohort

CTAMOP is delighted to welcome its new cohort of PhD students!

The 2015-2018 entry has brought 3 new students to the centre, while a fourth will work in collaboration with ECIT (Institute of Electronics, Communication and Information Technology).

Kathryn Hamilton will work with Andrew Brown and Hugo van der Hart on attosecond scale spectroscopy in laser-atom interactions, Christine Cartwright will investigate quantum simulation under the supervision of Gabriele De Chiara, while James Cormican will take a look at the thermodynamics of some elementary bimolecular processes in collaboration with Lorenzo Stella (ASC) and Mauro Paternostro.

Finally, Helena Majury will work with Elizabeth O’Sullivan (ECIT), Alessandro Ferraro and Mauro Paternostro on quantum walks affected by noise.

CTAMOP students are funded by DEL and the EPSRC DTA.

Thursday September 17, 2015

Bates Lectures Announcement

Professor Misha Ivanov

CTAMOP is delighted to announce that the 2015 Bates Lectures will be given by Prof. Mikhail Ivanov (Max Born Institut Berlin).

Prof. Ivanov is a world-leading figure in the field of ultrafast intense laser science, where he developed new computational methods to probe light-matter interactions at their fundamental level, all the way down to attosecond dynamics.

The Bates Lectures are aimed at students and staff members in the School of Mathematics and Physics to provide insight into important topics in the Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics area. They are delivered on a yearly basis by an eminent scientist usually nominated by the staff members at CTAMOP.

The schedule, venue, and topics of this years Lectures are as follows:

Tuesday 22 September 2015 at 15:00–16:00 (room DBB.01.006)
"Ionization in strong laser fields and tunnelling times "

Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 11:00–12:00 noon (room DBB.01.006)
"High harmonic generation and high harmonic spectroscopy of sub-femtosecond dynamics I"

Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 15:00–16:00 noon (room DBB.01.006)
"High harmonic generation and high harmonic spectroscopy of sub-femtosecond dynamics II"

You are all cordially invited to the Lectures, whose attendance is free. PhD students are particularly encouraged to attend and participate actively.

Tuesday September 15, 2015

PRA Kaleidoscopes: two good looking electrons

Two-electron Probability Distribution

An image from a recent publication by CTAMOP researchers has been selected by Physical Review A for their 'Kaleidoscopes' collection.

The image is taken from " Double ionization in R-matrix theory using a two-electron outer region" by Jack Wragg, Jonathan Parker and Hugo van der Hart.

It shows the two-electron probability distribution for helium after interaction with a soft x-ray laser pulse, and demonstrates the new capability to describe two-electron processes being developed by the researchers.

While the website notes that the image is chosen for its aesthetic quality, the science it represents is a significant step forward for computational physics. Congratulations to Jack, Jonathan and Hugo for their achievement.

Friday September 11, 2015

Viva la Viva- double success for CTAMOP researchers

Two PhD students in CTAMOP have completed their studies within a matter of weeks of each other.

Under the supervision of Prof. Hugo van der Hart, Ola Hassouneh and Hector Rey have been working in the department for the last three years and-- having negotiated their vivas and completing their theses-- have now moved on to new challenges.

Having been funded by the University of Jordan throughout her PhD, Ola now returns to her Alma Mater to take up a lectureship position commencing September 2015. Hector-- who came to Queen's as part of the EU-CORINF, initial training network-- is leaving academia behind, undertaking training for work in financial services.

Congratulations to Dr. Hassouneh and Dr. Rey. Thank-you for all you have contributed to the life of CTAMOP. We wish you all the best for the future.

Wednesday September 02, 2015

Prof Hibbert appointed member of Editorial Board

Prof Alan Hibbert
CTAMOP congratulates Professor Emeritus Alan Hibbert MBE MRIA on his recent appointment as a member of the Editorial Board of Atomic Data and Nuclear Data Tables. Alan will serve for a renewable five-year appointment. This is only one more token of Alan's outstanding international standing and academic profile.

Tuesday June 30, 2015

A poster by CTAMOP students awarded at Queen's Postgraduate competition

Great news from the Postgraduate Poster Competition 2015 at the newly launched Postgraduate School: The poster submitted by CTAMOP PhD students won first prize in both the Faculty and University categories! Congratulations to Matteo Brunelli, Lorenzo Fusco, Sam Law, Andrew Swann, Niall Tyndall, and Jack Wragg for the fantastic work and the great result. And, of course, congratulations to all the other PhD students at CTAMOP, whose work was presented in the poster. This is a clear acknowledgement of excellence of our students.

Tuesday June 09, 2015

Optics funding boost for CTAMOP

Jim McCann, a member of the QteQ group with research interests in Quantum Optics, has recently been awarded a 2-year grant to work with Crossbows Optical Ltd based in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Jim will be working within Knowledge Transfer Partnership to develop innovative mathematical models for customised lens design and manufacture.

Friday May 01, 2015

CTAMOP welcomes Dr. Connor Ballance

CTAMOP welcomes Dr. Connor Ballance, who joined the Centre on the 1st of May as a Senior Lecturer. Connor, formerly an Associate Professor at Auburn University (Alabama, USA) is an expert in the theoretical and computational analysis and modelling of AMO collisional physics. He has an extensive expertise in modelling electron-impact excitation/ionization of atomic and molecular systems. In the course of his career, Connor has developed rather fruitful collaborations with scientists working across the globe, from Europe to North & South America and Australia. CTAMOP is delighted to enhance its research expertise in the AMO area with such a valuable new member of staff.

Wednesday April 22, 2015

Prof. Alexander Dalgarno

It is with great sadness that CTAMOP reports the death of Prof. Alexander Dalgarno, FRS, in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA). Prof. Dalgarno, who passed away on the night of 9th April 2015, started his academic career in 1951 at Queen’s University Belfast, working with Prof. Sir David Bates, FRS, until 1967 when he moved to Harvard as a Professor.

During his career that spanned over 60 years, Prof. Dalgarno made fundamental contributions to theoretical atomic and molecular physics, theoretical chemistry, scattering theory, and atmospheric physics. He pioneered the field of molecular astrophysics. For his work, he was inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Science and awarded numerous prizes, including the Royal Society Hughes Medal, the Royal Astronomical Society’s Gold Medal, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics.

CTAMOP joins the numerous colleagues and friends of Prof. Dalgarno to express the most sincere condolences to his family.

Thursday March 12, 2015

Paper by Dr Shearer and S. Law on the cover of J. Phys. B

The Kelydsh model originally developed for long periodic laser pulses is extended to consider direct photodetachment of negative ions with half-filled np3 valence shells by few-cycle laser pulses. The theory is applied to study above threshold detachment of Si- ions by intense infrared femtosecond pulses. Photoelectron momentum maps of the direct electrons are found to exhibit a distinctive structure of concentric elliptical rings whose separation is dependent on the quantized frequency components of the few-cycle laser pulse. Angular distributions exhibit threshold effects associated with ponderomotive potential induced channel closings. Interference effects in the energy spectra are observable as multiphoton peaked structures whose positions are dependent on the threshold shifts determined by the laser vector potential. Additionally CEP effects manipulate all emission spectra, thus providing a critical tool for controlling the detachment process.
Photodetachment of Si- by mid-infrared few-cycle femtosecond laser pulses

Friday March 06, 2015

CTAMOP-Durham collaboration leads to a Phys. Rev. Lett.

A paper by a former CTAMOP Phd student Dermot Green (now at the Joint Quantum Centre (JQC) Durham/Newcastle, Department of Chemistry, Durham University) and Gleb Gribakin has just been published in Physical Review Letters: D. G. Green and G. F. Gribakin, γ-Ray Spectra and Enhancement Factors for Positron Annihilation with Core Electrons, Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 093201 (2015). The process of positron annihilation in atoms is strongly affected by the electron-positron correllations. The paper shows that these are described accurately by the many-body theory and the calculated annihilation γ-ray spectra for argon, krypton and xenon are in excellent agreement with experiment. The theory also establishes accurate values of the positron annihilation probability with core electrons, and shows that the correlation enhancement factors display a universal scaling with the electron orbital energy. These factors can be used to improve positron annihilation calculations in complex environments, e.g., in molecules or solids.

Friday February 06, 2015

CTAMOP paper on diagnostic applications in nuclear fusion reactors

Congratulations to Stefan Spencer, a third year PhD student in CTAMOP, who has recently published his first paper in J.Phys.B:At.Mol.Opt.Phys. alongside Professor Alan Hibbert and Dr Cathy Ramsbottom. The publication entitled “Oscillator Strengths and Transition Probabilities for the WXLV Ion” is of interest in diagnostic applications in nuclear fusion reactors such as the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER). The ITER experiment currently under construction in Cadarache, France is a global effort to build the largest magnetically confined tokamak. It is hoped that this large torus shaped device will bring fusion physicists and engineers one step closer to a commercially viable reactor. The material choice for the plasma facing components in fusion experiments must be determined by competing desirables; on the one hand the material should have a high threshold for melting and sputtering, and low erosion rate under plasma contact. On the other, as a plasma impurity it should not cause excessive radiative energy loss. Therefore tungsten has been chosen as one such wall material. All ionization stages of tungsten are of importance and the radiative data produced in this publication will be applicable to numerous diagnostic applications.

Friday February 06, 2015

KTP award to Dr Jim McCann

Dr Jim McCann has been awarded a Knowledge Transfer grant to work with Fluent technologies to develop a mathematical model of text analysis. The project includes a two-year fellowship in which the ‘associate’ works within the University and Company delivering the new software.

Thursday February 05, 2015

Coverage of CTAMOP papers on Nature Physics

The research from the Quantum Technology Group (QTeQ) on non-equilibrium many-body dynamics and quantum thermodynamics has been featured in a recently published ‘Insight’ issue of Nature Physics! A Commentary by Prof. Chris Jarzynski (University of Maryland), a Perspective article by Profs. P. Haenggi and P. Talkner (both at Universitaet Ausburg), a Review by Prof Eisert and co-workers and a Progress article by Prof. Jukka Pekola (Aalto University), reported on contributions given by Gabriele De Chiara and Mauro Paternostro, from QTeQ, to the advance of the burgeoning field of non-equilibrium many-body dynamics and quantum thermodynamics. The group’s experimental and theoretical work in this respect has been featured, thus giving a nice token of the impact that this is having in the community. Details of the Insight issue can be found at:
this address

Thursday February 05, 2015

IoP Seminar: Prof. Martin Plenio

Prof Martin Plenio from Universty of Ulm will give the IoP seminar on "Vibrations, Quanta and Biology", 11 February 2915, 4pm. Here's the abstract:
The exploration of quantum effects in biology is an emerging field of research that concerns itself with the experimental and theoretical exploration of quantum phenomena in biological systems. In this lecture I aim to bring out design principles that nature may be exploiting to make use of quantum effects and I will develop in particular one underlying theme - the dynamics of quantum dynamical networks in the presence of an environment and the fruitful interplay that the two may enter. I will aim to demonstrate that this interplay has a wider relevance for biology.

Monday February 02, 2015

Prof Arndt talks about quantum interferometry with microscopic objects

Prof Markus Arndt from University of Vienna will visit the School as part of the IoP in Ireland Seminar Series.
The seminar will be on 19 February at 4pm in the David Bates Building , Room 0G.005.

Title: Quantum interferometry with Nanobiological Matter: status and perspectives

Abstract: Quantum physics is the uncontested best description of the inanimate world but it leads to phenomena which are in radical conflict with our common sense perception of the world. While we have grown to accept this conundrum for electrons, neutrons or atoms it is intriguing to explore how the complexity of an object will influence the possibility of preparing it in genuine quantum states. We ask in particular how to enable quantum superposition experiments with the diverse set of biological nanomatter that nature provides, starting from simple vitamins, biodyes and amino acids over polypeptides and proteins to self-replicating molecules. This is an ongoing journey on a road with many branches. I will discuss how to teach complex molecules to fly in motional states compatible with state-of-the-art de Broglie experiment - and present advanced methods for their diffraction and detection.

Tuesday December 16, 2014

PhD projects: 2015 entry

Applications are invited for PhD studies at CTAMOP. A number of projects are available to pursue postgraduate studies in all the research areas currenty active within the Centre. More information available at:

Monday November 17, 2014

New paper on harmonic generation with RMT.

The second published paper of PhD student, Ola Hassouneh, marks a genuine landmark in the research of the intense-field members of CTAMOP. The RMT method, the latest incarnation of time-dependent R-matrix theory, has previously been applied only to relatively short-wavelength (<390nm) laser-atom interaction. While this is fairly typical of an ab-initio method, it is rather unsatisfactory from an experimental perspective, as state-of-the art techniques in ultrafast physics typically employ lasers in the micron-wavelength regime. Previously this was thought intractable from a computational standpoint, as in such long wavelength fields, electrons can absorb many hundreds of photons, gaining extremely high angular momenta, and travelling very far from the nucleus. While it was thought that RMT may eventually be able to describe wavelengths on the order of 800nm, Ola jumped ahead of her supervisors and started running calculations at 1800nm!

In particular, Ola was investigating high-harmonic generation (HHG) from krypton and xenon atoms, and the paper presents these results alongside experimental data from the group of Andrew Shiner in Ottawa, Canada. Such a favourable comparison with experiment was a little unexpected, given that the code models a single atom in a `clean' laser pulse, but the results show that the RMT code is now extremely well placed to lead the field of computational laser-atom physics in the coming years. So watch this space for more collaborations with experimental groups!

Link to the original paper

Monday November 10, 2014

Celebrating the life and work of John S. Bell

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of John S. Bell’s seminar paper on the EPR paradox, which posed the bases for the so-called Bell’s theorem. John Bell, who was born in belfats in 1928 and studied and worked at Queen’s, is a key figure in modern quantum mechanics. Queen’s celebrates his life and work with a series of events that will take place in November: an exhibition at the Naughton Gallery and a series of scientific talks embody the core of the celebrations. CTAMOP researchers, who work in problems closely related to Bell’s work, have contributed to the organisation of the events. Details of the programme can be found at the Naughton Gallery website.

Wednesday November 05, 2014

IoP Seminar: Prof. Tommaso Calarco

Prof. Dr. Tommaso Calarco from Ulm University will give the IoP Seminar on 14 November 2014, 13:00, David Bates Building 0G.005.
Title: Steering many-body quantum dynamics
Abstract: Optimal control techniques are known to enable steering the dynamics of few-body systems in order to prepare a desired state or perform a desired unitary transformation. I will present a recently developed optimal control method that allows doing so for a many-body quantum system undergoing e.g. a quantum phase transition in the non-adiabatic regime.  I will present detailed calculations we performed for different experimental scenario, together with the corresponding results obtained by experimental groups in different fields, from cold atoms to spin squeezing in atomic ensembles and diamond NV centers. I will conclude by showing some recent results we obtained in this context, as well as further questions opened by our investigations.

Friday October 17, 2014

“Quantum Work” by CTAMOP members picked by the Editors of Phys. Rev. Lett.

A paper by CTAMOP members Gabriele De Chiara and Mauro Paternostro has been published in Phys Rev. Lett. And selected as an “Editor’s Suggestion”! Details can be found at
T. B. Batalhao et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 140601 (2014)
The Letter reports the first experimental investigation of finite-time thermodynamics in a quantum system and is the result of a collaboration fir Brazilian and Italian institutions. The work on thermodynamics pursued by the Quantum technology group at Queen’s (QTeQ), of which De Chiara and Paternostro are members, is attracting international attention and recognition, and is supported by generous grants from the EU (project TherMiQ) and the John Templeton Foundation

Friday October 17, 2014

Prof Ignacio Cirac visits Queen's

Prof. J. Ignacio Cirac, director of the Max-Panck institute for quantum optics in Garching (Germany) has visited on October 15, 2014 the School of Maths and Physics at Queen's as part of an Irish tour organised by IOP in Ireland. Prof. Cirac gave a seminar entitled: "Quantum simulation with cold atoms: from condensed matter to high-energy models".

Thursday October 02, 2014

Cloudy Summer School 2014

A very successful Cloudy Summer School was held in the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's University Belfast from 18-22nd August 2014. This was the first European-based Summer School and provided a good opportunity for people in the UK and EU to attend at a relatively low cost. The workshop was oversubscribed and participants (pictured below) travelled from as far afield as the USA, South Africa, Europe, India and South America. The content of the Summer School covered the basics of spectroscopy, with an emphasis on emission-line regions such as star-forming regions, AGB stars, Active Galactic Nuclei and Starburst galaxies, and the intergalactic medium. Each session consisted of a mix of textbook study, application of the spectral-simulation code Cloudy to a variety of astrophysical problems, and projects organized by the participants. The workshop was run by Prof. Gary Ferland from the University of Kentucky who is on a years sabbatical at QUB working alongside Prof. Francis Keenan of the Astrophysics Research Centre and Dr Cathy Ramsbottom from CTAMOP. Due to popular demand a Winter School, already oversubscribed, is scheduled for January 12-16th 2015.

Monday September 29, 2014

Physics means business: KTP award to Jim McCann

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between researchers in the QteQ group (School of Mathematics and Physics) and Hughes Insurance has been named as the NI Regional Winner in this year’s KTP Awards, held last night (Thurs, 25 Sept) in The Merchant Hotel. Speaking about the award, Hughes’ Chief Executive, Gareth Brady, said: “Hughes Insurance has been working closely with Jim McCann at Queen’s for the last three years to develop new ways to improve our customer contact activities. The KTP was hugely successful for us, embedding new technology and expertise in our business, and contributing to a 4.5 per cent increase in customer retention figures.” “We found that ideas from entropy in complex systems theory can be used to search for patterns in customer data” said Dr McCann. “This simplifies the data in a scientific way and provides customers with the product they need”. Recognising the success of Queen’s in this year’s awards, Dr Mary Flynn, Head of KTP and Business Networks at Queen’s, added: “I am delighted to see so many of our Partnerships being recognised for their hard work and commitment. Queen’s is where business begins and it is now, more than ever, that businesses need to think of new ways to stay ahead of the competition. Our KTPs at Queen’s enable them to do that by giving unrivalled access to the world-class research and technology available here.”

Wednesday September 17, 2014

Two 'firsts' for CTAMOP researchers

Two young researchers in CTAMOP have had their first papers published in the prestigious Phys. Rev. A journal. Rian Morgan and Hector Rey are both PhD students working with Prof. Hugo van der Hart on applications of the R-matrix with time-dependence (RMT) approach to intense laser matter interactions. Hector's paper (follow this link) extends the RMT approach to investigate photoionisation of ground state atomic carbon with non-zero orbital magnetic quantum number: "We focus on how spin-orbit coupling modifies the ejected electron momentum distributions for ML = 0 and ML = 1. It has been found that both 2p and 2s electrons can be ejected during multiphoton ionisation, but for ML = 0 the emission of 2p electron can only occur at an angle to the laser polarisation axis. This provides us with a means of modelling the spin orbit dynamics. Our theoretical results are in good agreement with available experimental findings based on multiphoton ionisation of C following photodetachment of C-." Rian's paper (follow this link) focusses on two colour photoionisation of Ne+: "Varying the time-delay between the XUV and NIR pulses we observe modulations in the overall ionisation yield. These modulations can be attributed to population trapping in low lying Rydberg states with different states being populated at different delay times. The modulations can be attributed to the action of multiple electrons: a key aspect of the RMT approach. If the XUV pulse begins early in the IR pulse the modulations can be attributed to 3s electrons; when the XUV pulse occurs in the middle of the IR pulse the main contributors are from 3p electrons and finally 3d electrons play a significant role when the XUV pulse occurs at the end of the IR pulse."

Monday September 15, 2014

CTAMOP welcomes new PhD students!

We are delighted to welcome six new research students, who will soon start working at CTAMOP under support from the Deprtment of Employment and Learning and the EPSRC Doctoral Training Account granted to Queen’s. Andrew Swann will work with Dr. Gleb Gribakin on the fascinating physics of positron, while Michael Turkington will engage in a challenging project at the border of atomic physics and astrophysics under the supervsion of CTAMOP member Dr. Francesca Shearer and Prof. Francis Keenan, who work in the Astrophysics Research Centre. Connor Gallagher, Kenneth McAlpine, Sam McMillen and Brendan Reid will work on various aspects of quantum information processing, from the foundations of quantum mechanics to quantum communication, from ultra-cold atomic systems to quantum control. The whole CTAMOP wishes them al the best and lots of fun during the next few years!

Monday September 15, 2014

New PRL on positronium

A striking similarity between positronium and electron scattering from atoms and molecules observed experimentally [S. J. Brawley et al., Science 330, 789 (2010)] has been explained. Positronium (Ps) is a hydrogen-like neutral "atom" consisting of an electron and positron. A paper by Ilya Fabrikant (University of Nebraska) and Gleb Gribakin (CTAMOP) [Phys. Rev. Lett 112, 243201 (2014)] shows that when Ps scatters from noble-gas atoms at intermediate velocities (v=0.5-2 atomic units), the electron within Ps gives a dominant contribution to the Ps-atom interaction. The main reason behind this phenomenon is the distinct exchange interaction which affects the electron-atom scattering but is absent in the positron-atom system. Calculations performed in the Impulse Approximation support this understanding and show good agreement with experiment.

Monday September 15, 2014

Dr Sibasish Laha joins CTAMOP

A new Post Doctoral Research Associate, Dr Sibasish Laha, has recently joined the CTAMOP research division in the School of Mathematics & Physics at QUB. He arrived in July 2014 from the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in India where he worked on the X-ray observations of Active galactic Nuclei (AGN). The position, funded by STFC under grant number L0000709/1, will last for three years. Dr Laha will be working alongside Dr Cathy Ramsbottom from CTAMOP and Prof Francis Keenan from the Astronomy Research Centre (ARC). He will utilize the modeling code CLOUDY to analyse the spectra of a myriad of astronomical sources, ranging from gaseous nebulae to high red-shift quasars. We welcome Dr Laha to CTAMOP and look forward to working with him.

Monday June 16, 2014

CTAMOP congratulates Professor Alan Hibbert MBE

Professor Alan Hibbert, Deputy Chair Management Committee, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and Emeritus Professor at CTAMOP has been appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Astronomy (Carrickfergus, Antrim).

Saturday May 31, 2014

New Lecturership/Senior Lectureship post

A lecturer/Senior Lecturer position is available within the Centre for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (CTAMOP). Successful candidates will be expected to undertake internationally leading research in theoretical atomic and molecular physics with an emphasis on the development and application of theory and computer codes for the accurate description of atomic and/or molecular processes. The successful candidate will contribute to teaching in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and will be expected to undertake administrative duties as assigned.

Anticipated interview date: between 16 and 23 July 2014

Salary scale: Lecturer: £33,562 - £49,216 per annum (including contribution points)

Senior Lecturer: £47,787 - £60,495 per annum (including contribution points)

Please visit Queen’s University website for further information and to apply online – www.qub.ac.uk/jobs or alternatively contact the Personnel Department, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN. Telephone (028) 90973044 FAX: (028) 90971040 or e-mail on personnel@qub.ac.uk

The University is committed to equality of opportunity and to selection on merit. It therefore welcomes applications from all sections of society and particularly welcomes applications from people with a disability.

Friday May 30, 2014

CTAMOP Professor elected as Fellow of APS

Prof. van der Hart of the Centre for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics has been elected as Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). Professor van der Hart was nominated by the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics for innovative theoretical developments in the field of multi-photon processes, particularly in the context of ultra-short laser pulses, and for their successful application in the solution of problems involving electron-electron interactions. Professor van der Hart has been a member of staff at Queen’s since 1999. His primary research interest is to understand how atoms behave in state-of-the-art light fields. Over the last 15 years, great progress has been made in the generation and application of ultra-short light pulses, with the aim of visualizing and eventually guiding the motion of electrons inside atoms and molecules. Funded by EPSRC and the EU, Professor van der Hart and co-workers have developed new theoretical methods to study this motion computationally in atoms. The key characteristic of their method is that no approximation is made to the interaction between particles. This unique approach therefore allows the full atomic dynamics to be investigated in detail. The main criterion for election to APS Fellowship is “exceptional contribution to physics enterprise”, such as ouststanding physics research. Each nomination is evaluated by the Fellowship committee of the appropriate Division, and reviewed by the full APS Fellowship Committee. Fellowship status is limited to at most one-half of one percent of membership.

Monday April 07, 2014

Francesca Shearer awarded two Education Grants

Francesca Shearer has been awarded two Education Grants by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and by the London Mathematical Society to sponsor the Maths Teachers’ Conference to be held at Queen’s University Belfast on 5th June 2104. The conference will highlight the applications of mathematics in the cross sector areas of education, industry and public engagement. The main aim of this conference is to develop stronger cooperation between these sectors which is vital to engaging and inspiring the next generation of young mathematicians.
See the conference website.

Monday March 24, 2014

Francesca Shearer awarded a Royal Society International Exchange grant

Francesca Shearer has been awarded a Royal Society International Exchange UK-China Cost Share programme for 2014-2016 to work on Molecular photodetachment dynamics in intense few-cycle femtosecond laser fields in partnership with Dr Liang-You Peng, Department of Physics in Peking University,Beijing.

Tuesday March 18, 2014

Physics and Mathematics for Business

Scientists at Queen’s are helping business understand customers much better through the power of Physics and Mathematics. Jim McCann (CTAMOP) and Salissou Moutari (Censsor) have developed methods that help convert information to knowledge based on techniques used in Physics and Operational Research. They have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant from the Technology Strategy Board for a 2-year project with Hughes Insurance - Northern Ireland’s leading independent insurance company. Jim and Salissou work together on problems involving ‘big data’ and ‘data science’ at the University.

Thursday February 13, 2014

Gabriele De Chiara is awarded the First Grant from EPSRC

CTAMOP member Gabriele De Chiara has been awarded the First Grant scheme of EPSRC with the project: "Light-Matter interface detection of the full correlations distribution of a quantum many-body system". The grant, that will start 1 March 2014 and lasting for 18 months, will allow Dr De Chiara to design new ways to access correlations in many-body systems using light. A 1-year PostDoc position will be advertised soon to support the project.

Thursday February 13, 2014

Dr Felipe Arretche visits CTAMOP

In February 2014 CTAMOP is hosting a month-long visit by Dr Felipe Arretche from Grupo de Fisica Atomica e Molecular, Departamento de Fisica UFSC - Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil. Dr Arretche's visit is supported by the Queen's University through the International Engagement Fund. The purpose of the visit is to collaborate with Dr Gleb Gribakin on the problem of positron scattering and annihilation in molecules. Positron-molecule interactions are important in areas ranging from medical applications such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to the production of antihydrogen at CERN and the problem of antimatter in the Universe. On 12 February 2014 Dr Arretche gave a CTAMOP seminar on "Low Energy Scattering of Positrons by Molecules: A Comparison Between Schwinger Multichannel and Continued Fractions Methods".

Thursday February 13, 2014

Andrew Brown selected to showcase his work at the House of Parliament

Andrew Brown, a newly appointed lecturer in CTAMOP, has been selected to showcase his research at the houses of parliament as part of the SET for Britain poster competition. The annual event is judged by professional and academic experts and gives MPs an opportunity to engage with a wide range of the country's best young researchers. Dr Brown's poster 'Watching electrons move- ultrafast dynamics in multielectron atoms,' was selected from hundreds of applications, and has been entered into the Physics section of the competition, which will be held on March 17th.

Wednesday January 22, 2014

Cloudy Summer School
18-22 August 2014

Nearly all of the quantitative information we have about the cosmos is the result of the analysis of spectra. We can directly measure the temperature, density, pressure or composition of a cloud of gas or a star, using a telescope and a spectrometer. This Summer School will go over some basics of spectroscopy, with an emphasis on emission-line regions such as star-forming regions, AGB stars, Active Galactic Nuclei and Starburst galaxies, and the intergalactic medium.

We will cover both the theory of diffuse non-LTE matter, quantitative spectroscopy (the science of using spectra to make physical measurements), and using Cloudy to understand an object and its spectrum. The sessions will consist of a mix of textbook study (using Osterbrock & Ferland, Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei), application of the spectral-simulation code Cloudy to a variety of astrophysical problems, and projects organized by the participants. No prior experience with Cloudy is assumed.

For further information and to enroll please click here

Tuesday December 17, 2013

New PRL featured in APS Physics Viewpoint and APS Editors’ Suggestions

A paper reporting the first experimental demonstration of entanglement distribution without the use of any entanglement has been published in Phys. Rev. Lett. by CTAMOP visiting student Miss Margherita Zuppardo, and CTAMOP member Dr. Mauro Paternostro. The paper, which is the result of an international collaboration involving the University of Queensland (Australia), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and the Quantum Technology group at Queen's [ http://web.am.qub.ac.uk/wp/qo/] is the long-awaited experimental proof of a counter-intuitive feature of general quantum correlations in multipartite quantum systems. It opens up the way to quantum communication schemes that, contrary to naive expectations, do not require fragile entanglement to establish reliable quantum channels.
Ref.: A. Fedrizzi et al., Phys. Rev. lett. 111, 230504 (2013)

The article has been selected by the Editors of Phys.Rev. Lett. as a prestigious “Editors’ Suggestion” and featured for an authoritative 'Physics Viewpoint' authored by Prof. Christine Silberhorn (University of Paderborn). Remarkably, this is the second Letter in a row from the Quantum Technology group to be selected as an Editors' suggestion!

Tuesday December 17, 2013

Queen’s Financial Mathematicians on 2013 New York City summer placement

Summer placement students in New York included the Financial Mathematicians: Eoin Cunning, Catherine Rafferty, Ciara McGivern and Norman Sinclair. Follow this link for further information.

Thursday December 05, 2013

Networks and statistical mechanics

A partnership led by the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (Frank Emmert-Streib) with CTAMOP (Jim McCann) and CenSSOR (Salissou Moutari) has been awarded funds by invest-NI to develop analytic tools for network analysis and visualisation. Complex systems such as the biology and biochemistry of cells can be studied by making connections between the systems. These connections create a network of links which can be analysed by mathematical and statistical methods to better understand the operation of the system as a whole. The methods of statistical mechanics are being applied to determine how the system dynamics are determined at the microscopic and macroscopic levels. contact: Jim at j.f.mccann@qub.ac.uk for further information

Wednesday June 19, 2013

Paper by CTAMOP members highlighted by the Editors of Phys. Rev. Lett.

The research article:
L. Mazzola et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 230602 (2013)

recently published in Phys. Rev. Lett. by CTAMOP members L. Mazzola, G. De Chiara, and M. Paternostro has been selected for the prestigious "Editor's suggestions", which aim at highlighting a small number of papers based on their potential interest and the success of the paper in communicating its message. The paper reports on an innovative method to gather important statistical information regarding the work performed by/on a quantum mechanical system. The CTAMOP team, who are part of the Quantum Technology Group at Queen's is currently working towards an experimental demonstration of their scheme.

Thursday June 13, 2013

Former CTAMOP alumnus elected Fellow of the APS

Dr James Colgan (Los Alamos National Laboratory) has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society this year "for advancing fundamental understanding in the electron-impact ionization, few-photon multiple ionization, and ion-impact ionization of atoms and molecules found in astrophysical and laboratory plasmas." James did his PhD in CTAMOP on multiphoton processes with Prof. Phil Burke about 10 years ago.
Link to the announcement

Tuesday March 05, 2013

Photonics Ireland 2013

Photonics Ireland is the premier event for scientists and engineers working in optical science and industry on the island of Ireland. The 2013 conference will take place at Queen’s University Belfast from the 4th-6th September following the highly-successful events held in Galway (2007) Kinsale (2009) and Dublin (2011). Belfast is immensely proud to have been chosen to host the 2013 event. For further information visit: this link.

Tuesday February 12, 2013

CTAMOP organises the UK Positron Workshop 2013

For more information, please visit the Workshop website.

Tuesday February 05, 2013

CTAMOP organises the UK Positron Workshop 2013

The UK Positron Workshop 2013 will take place in Belfast on 27 March 2013. This event is organised by Dr Gribakin and Prof Walters from CTAMOP. The Workshop will be held at Stramillis College. It is expected to bring together about 40 members of the UK Positron Physics community. The scope of the Workshop includes antihydrogen and recent advances in its trapping at CERN, antiproton, positron and positronium interactions with atoms and molecules, applications of positrons in condensed matter studies, etc.

Tuesday February 05, 2013

CTAMOP summer student goes to Caltech

Chris Spalding spent 8 weeks in CTAMOP during the summer of 2012 working with Professor Taylor and Dr Parker and has now been accepted as a PhD student in Astronomy at Caltech. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has yet again maintained its first place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings via the 2012-13 list. Chris hails from Newtownards and is now in his final year of a first degree course at Cambridge where he is top student of his year in Astrophysics. In a recent email to Professor Taylor, Chris stated: `I thought you might like to know that Caltech have responded and they have offered me a place! I'd like to thank you so much for all your help and for urging me to aim high because it worked!'

Wednesday November 07, 2012


The proceedings for the XXVII ICPEAC conference are now available to view/download from the JPCS website.

Tuesday October 02, 2012

Andrew Carlisle is awarded the 2012 Bates prize!

Andrew Carlisle, a new PhD student at CTAMOP, has been awarded the 2012 David Bates Prize. This is awarded to the best final-year student at CTAMOP that decides to pursue PhD studies. The prize consists of a certificate and a lump sum to be spent on books!

Wednesday August 08, 2012

2012 QUAMP summer school

The 2012 QUAMP summer school is organised at Queen's University of Belfast, 9-13 September 2012. It is aimed at PhD students and young postdocs with interests in atomic and molecular physics as well as quantum optics and quantum information. CTAMOP is playing a major role in the organisation of this event, which will convene well known personalities from a widespread range of fields. Registration is open till the 20th of August 2012. Further information (including registration and a confirmed list of speakers) can be found here.

Wednesday July 04, 2012

Job Opportunities

At least one and possibly more positions are currently available in CTAMOP. For more information please see the job description.

Tuesday November 29, 2011

CTAMOP member André Xuereb awarded prestigious Research fellowship

Dr André Xuereb was awarded a prestigious three-year fellowship from the Royal commission for the Exhibition of 1851, starting from November 2011, to work in collaboration with Dr Mauro Paternostro on "nonlinear optomechanics". The young field of optomechanics studies the interactions between light and the motion of small objects such as nano and microfabricated mechanical structures. This work is intended to find new avenues to enforce and expose the quantum-mechanical nature of these systems and build up quantum-empowered sensors for position and motion that will beat the performance of the best of their classical counterparts.

André joined QUB after working as a post-doctoral researcher at Leibniz University in Hannover. He was awarded his PhD from the University of Southampton in 2011, after working with Dr Tim Freegarde.

See this link for more information.

Tuesday November 29, 2011

CTAMOP Prof. Philip G. Burke, CBE, FRS, MRIA awarded the 2012 Will Allis Prize

Emeritus Professor Phil Burke, has been recently awarded the prestigious Will Allis prize from the American Physical Society "for pioneering and sustained theoretical development of R-Matrix computational methods for electron-atom and electron-molecule collisions important in modelling ionized gases and plasmas".

Prof. Burke obtained his PhD in theoretical nuclear physics at University College London in 1956 and worked at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory Berkeley and at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment Harwell before being appointed Professor of Mathematical Physics at Queen's University of Belfast in 1967, where he led research in theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics.

As well as being a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society and the European Physical Society.

See this link for more information.

Monday June 13, 2011

Dermot Green from the Centre for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in the School of Mathematics and Physics was awarded the Rosse Medal by the Institute of Physics (IoP) in Ireland.

For more details see May/June 2011 issue of Queen's Now.

Saturday May 14, 2011

Successful research on mesoscopic quantumness at CTAMOP

A significant research output has been achieved by the Quantum Technology group at CTAMOP. A new scheme to engineer genuinely non-classical states of a massive mechanical system exposed to the influences of noise has been devised by Dr. Mauro Paternostro. The proposal merges two mature areas of quantum technology, cavity opto-mechanics and photon subtraction, and is currently under scrutiny by an experimental team. The work has been published in the current issue of Physical Review Letters as M. Paternostro, Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 183601 (2011)

Monday January 17, 2011

PhD Projects 2011

A list of PhD projects for 2011 can now be found on our postgraduate studies page.

Thursday July 08, 2010

Double success for the Quantum Information Science group at CTAMOP!

The team working on Quantum Information Science led by Dr. Mauro Paternostro has achieved a double success in June: two research papers, resulting from the collaboration with Italian, Spanish and UK institutions have been published in the same issue of the highly prestigious Physical Review Letters.

Details of the papers can be found below:

Paper 1 or Paper 2

Monday June 14, 2010

A "milestone" work in the study of photons by a member of CTAMOP

In a recent Milestones special issue, the Editors of Nature Publishing Group have valued the seminal paper on cavity optomechanics written by Dr. Mauro Paternostro in collaboration with researchers at Universitaet Vienna, University of Maryland and Johannes Kepler University Linz [S. Gigan et al. Nature 444, 67 (2006)] as the most recent milestone in the study of photons since the formalisation of Maxwell's equations in 1861.

More information at the Nature Milestones special (Direct Link to the article)

Thursday April 29, 2010

A major review paper by Dr Gleb Gribakin and his experimentalist colleagues Prof Cliff Surko and Dr Jason Young

Positron-molecule interactions: Resonant attachment, annihilation, and bound states, G. F. Gribakin, J. A. Young, and C. M. Surko has now been accepted in Reviews of Modern Physics http://rmp.aps.org/accepted

This paper summarises the results of the rapid development in the field of positron annihilation in molecules over the past 10 years. Thanks to a concerted effort of the experimental group of Prof Cliff Surko (University of California, San Diego), and theoretical work by Dr Gleb Gribakin and his PhD students at Queen's, we now have a much better understanding of the phenomenon of positron annihilation in polyatomic molecules and the effect of positron attachment via vibrational Feshbach resonances. These resonances are responsible for large (several orders of magnitude) enhancements of positron annihilation rates in polyatomic molecules.

Friday January 29, 2010

List of Upcoming Phd Projects Updated

We've added some further projects to the list of PhD projects for 2010. Please check out our postgraduate studies page for more information.

Sunday December 20, 2009

PhD Projects 2010

A list of PhD projects for 2010 can now be found on our postgraduate studies page.

Tuesday December 15, 2009

British Council Grant Awarded to CTAMOP member

Dr. Mauro Paternostro has been awarded a grant under the British Council Partnership Programme to conduct work in collaboration with an Italian institute.

Tuesday December 15, 2009

North-South Quantum Information School

Jan 25-27th at NUIM.

The annual Belfast-Cork collaboration on quantum gases and quantum optics will meet in Maynooth for a series of informal talks by students and staff.

Wednesday December 09, 2009

Success Hat-Trick for researchers

Three Ph.D. Students (Clara Cassidy, Martin McGovern and Linda Hamonou) from CTAMOP have received international acclaim at the XXVI International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions (ICPEAC), held in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their success is timely as the next ICPEAC conference will be held at QUB. Further information can be found at http://www.qub.ac.uk/icpeac2011

Tuesday December 08, 2009

Grant Awarded to CTAMOP for our work in HPC field

Professor Ken Taylor has won a grant for his work on high-performance computation from Numerical Algorithm Group (Nag).

Monday December 07, 2009

Former CTAMOP postgraduate selected for IRCF

Dr. Carlo Di Franco has been selected for an Irish Research Council Fellowship in 2009. He is to carry on with his existing research at University College Cork after spending 3 years of postgraduate studies with us.