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Research Fellows Directory

Matthew Levy

Mr Matthew Levy

Research Fellow


University of Oxford

Research summary

My research involves shining the most powerful light sources ever created on earth -- petawatt lasers -- onto dense materials and studying the rich absorption processes by which the laser energy is converted into matter energy.

Extreme states of matter are typically created in such an interaction, having temperatures exceeding 10 million degrees Celsius and pressures exceeding one billion earth atmospheres. Suitably harnessed, these conditions open the way to new cancer therapies, possible fusion energy sources, as well as many studies of fundamental high field physics.

At Oxford I hold a Royal Society grant to develop one such study -- to devise new methods to harness the immensely strong electromagnetic fields comprising high power laser light in order to test exotic aspects of the nonlinear quantum vacuum in the laboratory. Along the way, I intend to explore areas that have joint relevance to applications in inertial confinement fusion-based energy sources and novel laser-accelerated ion beam sources for cancer treatments.

Supporting these efforts, I hold concurrent appointments as Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, Affiliated Scientist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Member of the Jupiter Laser Facility User Group Executive Committee, and Visiting Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Probing the Quantum Vacuum Structure using Ultra-High-Power Laser Light

Scheme: Newton International Fellowships

Dates: Jan 2015 - Jan 2017

Value: £101,000