Christopher David Arran

Christopher David Arran

Dr, Dr

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Physics
Former affiliation
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Physics

Personal profile

Research interests

I use high-intensity laser experiments to explore fundamental physics under strong electric and magnetic fields, such as the recoil of particles during the emission of radiation, and the production of matter and antimatter from light. These effects are thought to exist in some of the most extreme conditions in our universe and are typically only accessible at the world’s largest particle accelerators. In order to reach these strong-field conditions in the laboratory, I make use of laser wakefield acceleration to produce GeV electrons in plasma structures. Colliding these ultra-relativistic electron beams with a second laser pulse allows us to reach extreme field conditions using a particle accelerator which is just centimeters in scale.

I primarily work on the interface between theory and experiment, simulating interactions in the plasma, exploring what kind of measurements can be used to understand the key physics processes, and analysing the results to compare experimental work with our predictions. In the process I’ve taken part in laser experiments with both long and short pulse beams and run both particle-in-cell and fluid simulations on many kinds of plasma physics. Whether exploring stochastic scattering in electron-laser interactions or non-local effects in the scrape-off layer of tokamaks, I’m interested in finding the simplest ways to understand fundamental physics processes in real experiments.


I completed my PhD at the University of Oxford, working with Simon Hooker on ways to make laser wakefield acceleration more efficient and capable of operating at high repetition rates. I conducted experiments on resonantly driving plasma waves using multiple laser pulses and sensitively measuring the resulting plasma structure using holographic probing. Finally I looked at creating indestructible optical fibres by using long and low density plasma channels formed using above threshold ionization along the line focus from an axicon lens.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Techniques for High Repetition Rate Laser Wakefield Acceleration, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford Physics, Oxford University, Parks Road, Oxford, UK.

1 Oct 201413 Dec 2018

Award Date: 13 Jul 2019


  • QC Physics
  • Laser Physics
  • Laser Wakefield Acceleration
  • Quantum Electrodynamics

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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