Shaun Doherty

University Of York

I did my integrated Masters at Newcastle University where I studied Theoretical Physics. My masters project was based around numerically simulating light rays in the region of a black hole. I have had an interest in fusion since before starting university and am very excited to contribute to this area of research.

My PhD project is studying ultra-relativistic plasmas using high intensity short pulse lasers. The physical properties of plasma as it is compressed via lasers are not fully known. At the highest laser intensities currently available the plasma is dominated by ultra-relativistic effects. In this regime the electrons in the plasma are accelerated to relativistic speeds, which causes their mass to increase, in turn causing a phenomenon known as relativistic transparency. The processes by which transparency occurs are poorly understood.

I will be using large scale numerical simulations and making potentially the first time resolved measurements of relativistic transparency in order to gain further insight into the mechanics of highly relativistic plasmas.