Dr Chris Sparling
Chris obtained an MPhys in Chemical Physics from Heriot-Watt in 2019. He also previously worked in the Townsend group as both a summer student and a final year project student. During his PhD developing Novel Image Processing Strategies for Probing Photoelectron Dichroism Effects in Chiral Molecules, Chris built and commissioned new a velocity-map imaging spectrometer and also developed methods for processing photoelectron imaging data using novel tomographic and machine learning approaches. He defended his thesis in May 2023 and is currently a postdoc. at Radboud University in The Netherlands.
Dr Stuart Crane
Stuart first joined the group as a final year MPhys Physics project student at Heriot-Watt, where he worked on designing a UV autocorrelator. He then commenced his PhD studies during the summer of 2014. Stuart worked on Time-resolved Spectroscopy of Non-volatile Biomolecule Analogues and graduated in November 2018. He then went on to work as a postdoc at the University of Bristol for Prof. Mike Ashfold between July 2018 and December 2020, investigating Coulomb explosion imaging of small molecules. Stuart subsequently re-joined the Townsend group in 2021 to work on the development of a new transient absorption spectroscopy set-up. He departed once again in February 2022 and now works as a research associate in the group of Prof. Peter Weber at Brown University in the USA.
Dr Nikoleta Kotsina
Nikoleta studied Physics at the University of Ionnina, Greece, graduating in 2008. In 2015 she obtained her PhD from the University of Ioannina where she investigated ionization/dissociation of small molecules with shaped intense laser pulses. She remained in Ioannina as a postdoc for 6 months before coming to Heriot-Watt in February 2016. In the group she performed time-resolved photoelectron imaging experiments exploiting fs-VUV pulses and novel schemes for broadly tuneable UV/VUV generation using hollow-core photonic crystal fibres and capillaries. Nikoleta left the group in December 2021 and now works as a PDRA for Prof. John Travers, a current collaborator who is also based at Heriot-Watt University
Dr Paul Lane
Paul studied for a BSc and Masters degree in Physics at the University of Liverpool prior to obtaining a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. He then took up PDRA positions developing an ultrafast electron diffractometer at Edinburgh and later York, and using multidimensional spectroscopy to study ultrafast dynamics in the solution phase. In 2015 Paul began working at Heriot-Watt in the group of Matt Costen applying frequency modulated spectroscopy to the gas-liquid interface. Paul joined the Townsend group in January 2020 working on the development of a transient absorption spectrometer and left in January 2021, returning to work with Prof. Costen once again.
Dr Lisa Saalbach
Lisa obtained her Masters degree in Chemical Physics from Heriot-Watt. During this time she also worked in the Townsend group as a summer student for three years. Following a final year MPhys project with Prof. Martin Paterson (our long-time theory collaborator) Lisa commenced her PhD studies in 2016. She completed her PhD on Time-Resolved Studies of Excited State Molecular Dynamics in April 2020. Lisa is currently working as a postdoc. in the single-photon group at Heriot-Watt, working with Prof. G. Buller.
Dr Omair Ghafur
Omair joined the ultrafast molecular dynamics group as a postdoc in July 2013 to lead the design and implementation of a novel laser desorption source for spectroscopy on non-volatile molecules. Omair has an MSc in Physics from the University of St Andrews and obtained his PhD from Radboud University, Nijmegen. Omair left the group in March 2017 and currently works for STFC at the Daresbury Laboratory.
Dr Magdalena Zawadzki
Magdalena studied Physics at the University of Würzburg and graduated as “Dimplom-Physikerin” in 2011. She then worked as a scientist in the ultrafast laser industry before joining the Townsend group in 2013 as a PhD student, working on generating short VUV pulses for Interrogating Non-adiabatic Molecular Dynamics using Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics. Magdalena obtained her PhD in June 2017 and now works for laser company Toptica back in Germany.
Dr Marco Candelaresi
Marco was an integral part of the fs-VUV project. He got his PhD at LENS (Laboratory of non-linear spectroscopy) in Florence in 2009. After that he worked in the group of Prof. Neil Hunt (then at Strathclyde University), performing 2DIR spectroscopy experiments, and in industry for a few years before joining the Townsend group as a postdoc at the end of 2013. Marco left the group in August 2015 and now works for ST microelectronics in Edinburgh.
Dr James Thompson
James obtained an MSci degree in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham before coming to Heriot-Watt to study the Time-resolved photoelectron Imaging of Model Biochromophores. He obtained his PhD in April 2015 before undertaking a short postdoc position with Prof. Eleanor Campbell at the University of Edinburgh. He then went on to a research associate position with Prof. Arthur Suits at Columbia University, Missouri before returning to the University of Nottingham in 2019 to start a postdoc with Prof. Katharine Reid. James is currently working as a staff scientist at the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory.
Dr Ruth Livingstone
Ruth obtained an undergraduate Masters degree in Physics from Heriot-Watt University in 2008. She obtained her PhD in 2012 for work on The Ultrafast Molecular Dynamics of Model Biological Systems. After leaving the group Ruth has held postdoc positions at the Max-Planck institute in Mainz, working with Dr Ellen Backus, and with Prof. Jöchen Kupper in Hamburg. She is currently back in Edinburgh working as a webpage designer.