Positron binding in molecules: published in Nature.

Our many-body approach to positron binding in polyatomic molecules has been published in Nature [J. Hofierka, B. Cunningham, C. M. Rawlins, C. H. Patterson and D. G. Green, Nature 606, 688 (2022)]. (Jaroslav and Brian were joint-first authors.)

As well as providing the first accurate description of over two decades of measurements made by the pioneering group of Prof Cliff Surko at University of California San Diego, our ab initio method provides fundamental insight and predictive capability.

The approach is implemented in our state-of-the-art software EXCITON+, developed at QUB by heavily adapting the EXCITON all-electron many-body theory code of Charles Patterson (Trinity College Dublin).

The work was funded by Dermot’s ERC grant “ANTI-ATOM”.

See the associated news article on the Queen’s University Belfast website.

Stay tuned for more developments!

After 2+ years of working remotely the group finally meet in person!

Having worked remotely since ~ March 2022, more than 2 years later the group finally met in person! We climbed Cavehill (see the photos below with “Napoleon’s Nose” in the background, and of Brian scaling the wall to enter one of the caves. Unfortunately Sarah couldn’t make the walk, but everyone got together before on campus (bottom photo).

From left to right: Charlie, Brian, Jaro, Jack and Dermot (PI)
Brian successfully made the treacherous climb into the cave! Andrew, Jack and Jaro look on, concerned about Brian’s return journey.
From left to right: Sarah Gregg (PhD student), Brian Cunningham (Research Fellow), Dermot Green (PI), Jaroslav Hofierka (PhD student), Jack Cassidy (PhD student), Andrew Swann (Research Fellow), Charlie Rawlins (Research Fellow)

Charlie’s stint in the group ends: he moves to a new (~4-yr position) in molecular dynamics

Research Fellow Charlie Rawlins has taken up a new Research Fellow post at Queen’s focussing on developing molecular dynamics funded by US-Ireland programme. Charlie was a very welcome addition to the group: coming from Perth, Australia, he joined the group (as the second Research Fellow) winter 2019, not long before UK lockdown, and worked on developing our EXCITON+ positron-many-body code, in particular leading calculations of positron scattering on H2, N2 and CH4 (to be submitted). We wish him the best in his new role, and now he’s staying at Queen’s we’ll actually get to meet him in person!

Here’s a photo of Charlie showing my daughter a kitten that he’d rescued (one of a number).

Out in force at ICPEAC and EGAS 2021!


The group was out in force at ICPEAC International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions (vICPEAC) 2021, a flagship international conferences in the field, and EGAS 52 (European Group meeting on Atomic Systems)

Group member Dr Charlie Rawlins (Research Fellow) delivered a Special Report on our many-body theory of positron scattering and annihilation on polyatomic molecules.

Research Fellow Dr Brian Cunningham presented a poster talk on our Many-body theory of positron binding to polyatomic molecules;

Research Fellow Dr Andrew Swann presented a poster talk on our simulation of positron cooling via inelastic collisions in N2 and CF4 gases (including positron-positron interactions);

PhD student Jaroslav Hofierka presented a poster talk on his work on many-body theory calculations of positron binding to atoms.


At EGAS, PhD student Jaroslav Hofierka presented a talk on our recent work on many-body theory of positron binding to polyatomic molecules;

Research Fellow Dr Charlie Rawlins gave a talk on our most recent work on many-body theory of positron scattering and annihilation in molecules;

Research Fellow Dr Andrew Swann gave a talk on our work on positron cooling via inelastic collisions with N2 and CF4 gases (including positron-positron interactions).

Dermot becomes a Fellow of the Young Academy of Europe

The Young Academy of Europe (YAE) is a pan-European initiative of outstanding young scientists for networking, advocacy, scientific exchange, and science policy. The YAE is organised as a bottom-up initiative of a dynamic and innovative group of recognised European young scientists and scholars with outspoken views about science and science policy.

Dermot has been recognised for his outstanding leadership in the field of many-body theory for anti-matter interactions with atoms and molecules, but also for his roles in the international scientific community: he is a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board for the International Workshop for Positron and Positronium Physics (the flagship subject-specific conference in the field), Treasurer of the Institute of Physics Ireland and Secretary of the Institute of Physics Atomic and Molecular Interactions Group.