My research concentrates on the design and analysis of experiments fielded on high-power lasers and pulsed-power machines. These experiments produce, in miniature and for a very short time, extreme plasma conditions similar to those found in a variety of astrophysical objects. This subject is known as High Energy Density Physics. For example recent experiments have investigated plasmas similar to those in the interior of the Sun.
As well as being of wide scientific interest this work is strongly connected to the study of Inertial Confinement Fusion in which thermonuclear fusion energy is generated in the laboratory using plasmas of high energy density. We have recently shown that Inertial Confinement Fusion provides new opportunities for experiments that probe fundamental physics ranging from particle physics through atomic and nuclear physics to stellar structure and on to cosmology.
Our work on using high-power lasers to create matter from light using the two-photon Breit-Wheeler process can be found in our Nature Photonics paper and an example of media coverage can be found in this BBC news website article and on the Wikipedia page. Recent experiments which have attempted to demonstrate the process are currently being analysed.