Atomic and Laser Plasma Research | School of Physical Sciences

Atomic and Laser Plasma Research (CLPR)

Group Members: Prof. John Costello, Dr. Jean-Paul Mosnier,  Dr Paul Van Kampen, Dr. Paddy Hayden, Prof. Eugene Kennedy (Emeritus) 

When a high power laser beam is focused onto a solid target in vacuum or an ambient gas, a high temperature, high density, short-lived, laser-produced plasma is formed. Plasma is one of the four fundamental states of matter. The spatial and temporal evolution of these plasmas has been the subject of much research at DCU.

Since the early 1980s, the Laser Plasma Research Group has also been researching the applications of laser-produced plasmas to problems in atomic physics. In particular, we have exploited the Dual Laser Plasma technique to study the inner-shell and multi-electron excitations of atoms and ions through photo absorption in the Vacuum Ultra-Violet (VUV) and Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) spectral regions. In recent years, our research experimental programme (Prof John Costello, Dr Jean-Paul Mosnier, Dr Paul VanKampen, Dr Paddy Heyden and Professor Eugene Kennedy (Emeritus)) has expanded to include: 

  • VUV/EUV absorption spectroscopy of atoms and ions
  • VUV imaging of transient plasmas and thin films
  • Laser-plasma short wavelength (VUV to X-rays) light source developments
  • Plasma diagnostics and the controlled generation of laser plasmas
  • Pulsed Laser Deposition of thin films
  • Optical characterization of thin films in the XUV/EUV spectral regions 

As our knowledge of these has developed, our research focus has diversified to include: 

  • Fast laser-plasmas/matter interactions
  • Optical plasma diagnostics
  • UV and soft x-ray imaging and spectroscopy 

All members of the Atomic and Laser Plasma Research Group are members of the National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology, and are also involved in a variety of research projects funded by national agencies, such as Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council. 


International Engagements

Members of the Atomic and Laser Plasma Research Group are embedded in the European research infrastructure, including three measures in European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST):

  • COST MP1203 – Advanced X-ray spatial and temporal metrology
  • COST CM1204 – XUV/X-ray light and fast ions for ultrafast chemistry
  • COST MP1204 – TERA-MIR Radiation: materials, generation, detection and applications
  • COST MP1208 - Developing the physics and the scientific community for Inertial Confinement 

Fusion at the time of NIF ignition:

  • LCLS – Linac Coherent Light Source at Stanford University
  • SOLEIL – the French national synchrotron facility


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