I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physical Sciences at The Open University. My research is mainly on electron collisions with molecules and molecular clusters. Current research projects include:
- the development an application of a method based in Multiple-Scattering to the electron collisions with molecular aggregates. The technique has been successfully applied to the water dimer in various geometries (see our recent publications for more information).
- the application of the R-matrix method to the study of electronically inelastic processes in electron collisions with biologically relevant molecules. These molecules are bigger than those we normally treat with the R-matrix method and this poses some difficulties in the interpretation of the results.
- the re-engineering and development of a set of high-quality, developer- and user-friendly, Atomic and Molecular high performance computing codes to treat both electron photon interactions with polyatomic molecules (UK-RAMP project).
I am Chair of the Atomic and Molecular Interactions Group, one of around 50 IOP subject groups. Currently, I am involved in the redevelopment of our level 2 General Physics course (S207, The Physical world). I am also one of the postgraduate tutors in the Department of Physical Sciences.
PhD position available: Electron attachment to small molecular clusters. The aim of this project is to contribute, from a physics perspective, to the understanding of how low energy electrons affect cells, especially DNA. Ionizing radiation damages living animals and plants by, among other things, causing strand breaks in DNA. Electrons with energy below 20 eV are known to cause these breaks via the formation of temporary negative ions or resonances. We tackle this problem by looking at the interactions of free electrons with molecules of biological importance and their clusters. Studying clusters allows us to investigate how the presence of other molecules affects the outcome of the collision. We use well established theoretical methods and software (the UKRmol suite of programs) as well as being involved in the development of new techniques and codes to describe electron scattering from molecules and small molecular clusters. Our objective is to understand process like electronic excitation and resonance formation for larger molecules as well as determining cross sections that can be used for the modelling of radiation damage. The group of Dr. Sam Eden at the Open University will soon start performing experiments on clusters of biologically important molecules that model the biological environments. A strong link with this group is envisaged: we will choose for our studies molecules and clusters for which they will be performing experiments.