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Research Fellows Directory

Sam Vinko

Dr Sam Vinko

Research Fellow


University of Oxford

Research summary

My main research interests focus on investigating the properties of high energy-density matter using the latest, 4th generating X-ray Free-Electron Laser (FEL) light sources.

Matter is said to have a high energy-density if at a normal solid density it has a temperature exceeding about 10.000 degrees, or if it’s compressed to a pressure above a million atmospheres. Matter in these very extreme conditions is usually in the plasma state, and is surprisingly common in the universe in a range of forms, from the cores of giant planets to the interiors of stars.

X-ray FELs, such as the Linac Coherent Light Source in California, or the SPring-8 Angstrom Compact Free Electron Laser in Japan, are the brightest X-ray source ever made by man. Their unique characteristics allow us to use intense X-rays to create and study plasmas at temperatures and densities found half-way towards the centre of the Sun, with exquisite precision and control. These investigations in fundamental physics are important to better understand the structure and dynamics of high energy-density plasmas, of relevance to astrophysics, planetary physics and inertial confinement fusion research.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

From stars to proteins: unveiling material response in intense X-ray fields

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2014 - Dec 2019

Value: £482,091.84

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