Professor H R J Walters PhD CPhys MRIA FInstP

Posted September 7, 2020 by Andrew Brown

It is with great sadness that we announce that long-time CTAMOP member, Professor H R James Walters passed away on 6th September 2020.

Professor Walters, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, has played a key role in the CTAMOP and the School more generally for nearly 5 decades, contributing significantly to the building up of Queen’s reputation as a centre of excellence for Theoretical and Computational Atomic Physics, and the training of generations of researchers active in this field.

Quantum Clocks in Nature Communications

Posted June 1, 2020 by Andrew Brown

A new paper on Quantum Clocks has been published in the prestigious Nature Communications.
A team of physicists led by Professor Caslav Brukner from the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) Vienna explored the temporal localisability of events when quantum systems influence space-time according to Einstein’s general relativity. Dr Alessio Belenchia, from Queen’s University Belfast, is among the authors of this new work.
The study develops a framework to define events and their localisation with respect to a quantum clock reference frame, also in the presence of gravitating quantum systems. The major results are that the time localisability of events becomes relative, depending on the reference frame, and that for each event there exists always a (quantum) clock according to which that event occurs at a sharp, precise time. This is useful because, using this clock as a reference, the time evolution of quantum systems can be described as it is in ordinary situations where all events are localised in time.

Postgraduate research position: applications open

Posted November 21, 2019 by Andrew Brown

A PhD position is available immediately to work at the Quantum Technology Group at Queen’s with Prof M Paternostro on non-equilibrium quantum thermodynamics enhanced by machine learning. The position will be funded by the Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellowship recently awarded to Prof Paternostro.

Applications through the portal will be accepted until 13 December 2020. All applicants will be interviewed and the successful candidate is expected to start in early 2020.

Computer time allocation on worlds fastest supercomputer

Posted November 5, 2019 by Andrew Brown

Congratulations to Connor Ballance, who has been awarded a large tranche of resource on the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit.

Connor is part of the “High-Performance Computation for Fusion Energy Wall Erosion Diagnostics” project– headed by Auburn University researcher, Stuart Loch– which has been awarded around 9 million CPU hours on the machine to investigate atomic physics problems relevant for the operation of nuclear fusion reactors.

The research team will use Summit to produce accurate tungsten erosion and redeposition diagnostics for fusion tokamak experiments such as the DIII-D tokamak in California. The project is also of relevance for world-wide efforts on fusion energy, such as the ITER experiment under construction in France.


Job opportunity in CTAMOP

Posted October 21, 2019 by Andrew Brown

A new Research Fellow position has been created in the Quantum Technology group for research into Quantum Thermodynamics.

The deadline for applications is 3 January, 2020.

Full details and application form can be found here.

CTAMOP academic Dermot Green awarded 2019 Institute of Physics David Bates Prize.

Posted October 17, 2019 by Andrew Brown

The Bates Prize is awarded biennially to an early-career researcher (within the first 12 years of a research career) for outstanding research in quantum, atomic and molecular, or plasma physics. Dermot was awarded the prize for his development of many-body-theory and computational approaches for low-energy positron scattering and annihilation in atoms. The prize included a plaque of David Bates, which was presented to Dermot by Prof Ed Hinds FRS at the 2019 International Conference in Quantum, Atomic and Molecular Physics (QuAMP), where Dermot gave the invited Bates prize talk. Full details can be found on the IOP webpage.

Sir David Bates FRS  was a pioneer of atomic and molecular physics. He spent much of his career at Queens, and under his leadership the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics grew into a leading international centre for theoretical atomic physics. It is great that Dermot brings the prize “home” to Queens.

Congratulations Dermot on yet another outstanding achievement.

Paper published in Phys. Rev. Lett.

Posted by Andrew Brown

Congratulations to CTAMOP post-doc Jack Wragg and colleagues on the publication of a landmark paper in Physical Review Letters.

The research is the fruit of the EPSRC funded ARMouReD project: (Atomic R-Matrix for Relativistic Dynamics), and details the first application of the relativistic time-dependent R-matrix (RMT) code to describe ultrafast spin-orbit dynamics. The paper is the first exploration of how the spin-orbit effect might be measured in time-resolved experiment, and showcases the capability of the RMT code for describing laser-atom interactions in unrivalled detail.

Well done to Jack and co-authors:  Daniel Clarke, Greg Armstrong, Andrew Brown Connor Ballance, and Hugo van der Hart.

Publication selected as ‘Editor’s Suggestion’

Posted September 11, 2019 by Andrew Brown

CTAMOP postdoctoral researcher Alessio Belenchia has had an article selected as an ‘Editor’s Suggestion’ in Physical Review A.

Dr Belenchia’s paper, entitled Talbot–Lau effect beyond the point-particle approximation is an exploration of the impact of size on the observation of quantum effects. In collaboration with CTAMOP director of research, Prof Mauro Paternostro, and others Dr Belenchia has developed the necessary theoretical tools to account for large particles in near-field matter-wave interferometric  experiments. Currently, these are the preferred context for the exploration of the interface between the quantum and classical worlds.

Editor’s suggestions are contributions that the editors and referees find of particular interest, importance, or clarity.

Congratulations to Alessio, Mauro and their co-authors on this recognition of their work.

Professor Emeritus Philip Burke CBE FRS MRIA

Posted June 4, 2019 by Andrew Brown

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of CTAMOP member Prof. Phil Burke.

Prof. Burke was instrumental in establishing CTAMOP as a leading group in AMO physics, particularly in the area of computational R-matrix theory on which he was the world’s chief authority. Despite spending most of his time at his home in England following his retirement in 1998, he was still active in the department until quite recently, and his work continues to have an impact through the use of the R-matrix codes he helped to develop which are still in use in CTAMOP today. He will be remembered fondly by all who knew him and worked with him.

Prof.  Burke obtained his B.Sc in Physics from University College Exeter in 1953 and his PhD in theoretical nuclear physics at University College London in 1956 under the supervision of Sir Harrie Massey. He was appointed Assistant Lecturer in the University of London Computer Centre in 1957. In 1959 Prof. Burke took up an appointment at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory Berkeley where he carried out research in Luis Alvarez’s Bubble Chamber group and in Ken Watson’s theory group. He returned to the UK in 1962 to take up an appointment at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment Harwell.

In 1967 he was appointed Professor of Mathematical Physics in Sir David Bates’s department at Queen’s University Belfast where he established his group which uses R-matrix computational methods in the study of collision processes in atomic, molecular and optical physics of importance in many applications including the analysis of astronomical observations and the modeling of ionized gases and plasmas.

Prof. Burke was a Fellow or Member of several societies including the Royal Society, the Royal Irish Academy, the Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society and the European Physical Society and has received a number of awards and honours including D.Sc Honoris Causa, University of Exeter in 1981 and Queen’s University Belfast in 1999, Fellow of University College London in 1986, CBE in 1993, the Guthrie Medal and Prize in 1994, and the David Bates Prize in 2000. Most recently, in 2012 he was honoured with the award of the 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”.

EPSRC grant for quantum engines

Posted April 18, 2019 by Andrew Brown

Many-body quantum engine

Congratulations to Dr. Gabriele De Chiara who has been awarded a grant from the EPSRC worth £350K for his research project “Many-Body Quantum Engines”.

The overarching challenge of this project is to design theoretical thermal machines, that use an ensemble of many interacting quantum particles as working substance.

The project entails a number of collaborations:

  • with J. Sherson (Aarhus) we will design an engine whose working substance and reservoirs are realised with ultracold atoms in optical lattice potentials.
  • with T. Donner (Zürich) we will design a refrigerator made of two atomic Bose-Einstein condensates that interact with the common mode of an optical cavity.

More information can be found here

Congratulations to Gabriele and his collaborators.


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We are a Research Cluster of the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. Our research interests are focused primarily on computational and theoretical physics.

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