Prof R Alan Cairns

Prof R Alan Cairns

Emeritus Professor

Researcher profile

123 MI
Mathematical Institute


Research areas

My research interests are in theoretical plasma physics, particularly in the hot plasmas relevant to nuclear fusion research, the interaction of high power lasers with matter and some problems in space and astrophysics. The common thread amonst these problems is that they involve the propagation and absorption of waves and acceleration of particles by waves. Recently I have been working in collaboration with UKAEA Fusion on heating and current drive in magnetically confined plasmas, and on two separate projects involving collaborations amongst a variety of institutions. Two successive linked grants from EPSRC to St Andrews and Strathclyde have supported a joint programme of research on theory and experiment related to the emission of radio waves from the Earth's auroral regions and other planets and stars.  A mechanism which we have investigated theoretically has been verified by the Strathclyde experiment to behave as predicted. Another project with which I have been involved is a large collaboration, led by Strathclyde and involving a number of UK institutions.  This £4.4 project, known as Alpha-X is aimed at using electrons accelerated by a laser to drive a free electron laser and produce intense coherent X-ray emission. Proof of principle of this idea is likely to be obtained soon. I am co-investigator on two EPSRC grants which have been awarded to support further investigation of some aspects of this work.

For further information, see the Plasma Physics Research Group site.

Selected publications


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