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Department of Physics

Staff profile

Dr David Carty

Lecturer in the Department of Physics
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43817
Room number: 106
Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42026

(email at

Opportunities *AVAILABLE NOW* - One postdoc position and one PhD position

We have a large new EPSRC Programme Grant entitled MMQA: MicroKelvin Molecules in a Quantum Array that started in December 2010 and runs for 5 years. MMQA is a joint grant with fellow experimental groups in Durham (led by Dr Simon Cornish and Dr Eckart Wrede and at Imperial College London (led by Prof. Ed Hinds, FRS and Dr Mike Tarbutt ) and with the theory group of Prof. Jeremy Hutson, FRS in Durham. For a brief view of the programme motivations please see the news item at

As part of the MMQA programme, there is one postdoc position and one PhD position available in my group. Further information on the project, which is entitled Cooling Molecules to MicroKelvin Temperatures: Deceleration, Trapping and Sympathetic Cooling for Quantum Simulation, is available here.

The postdoc position is for 2 years initially, but may be extendable to 3 years, and is available immediately, or as soon as the applicant wishes to start. The funding places no restrictions on nationality, though it will be subject to the normal UK immigration rules. Applications must finally be made via the Durham University recruitment web site, but initial enquiries should be made to me by email (see above). The web page also includes the essential and desired person specifications of an appropriate candidate.

To qualify for the PhD position, candidates should have a high quality degree in physics, chemistry or a related discipline. Subsistance of £13,590 per annum is paid for by the grant for 3.5 years. If the candidate is a UK or a European Union national, or has been a resident of the UK or EU for 3 years or more, then university fees are also paid for. If the candidate does not meet these requirements, it may still be possible to arrange for university international fees to be paid for, but candidates should contact me in the first instance. UK immigration rules will still apply.


David Carty carried out his undergraduate MChem degree at The University of Edinburgh where he worked on research project with Prof. Robert Donovan and graduated in 1999. He then carried out his PhD at the University of Birmingham (1999 - 2003) where he was supervised by Prof. Ian R. Sims (now at the Université de Rennes 1) and Prof. Ian W. M. Smith FRS (now Emeritus Professor at the University of Cambridge). His work focused on the kinetics of neutral gas-phase chemical reactions relevant to the interstellar medium at temperatures down to 10 K. The highlight of his PhD work was in the technically challenging study of the O + OH reaction (J. Phys. Chem. A, 2006, 110, 3101) where he ruled out the possibility of that a low rate for that reaction could explain the low observed abundance of molecular oxygen in outer space.

Following his PhD, David worked as a postdoc for Prof. Gerard Meijer at the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin where he worked on a molecular synchrotron storage ring for neutral polar molecules (Nature Physics, 2007, 3, 115).

In 2005, David moved to the University of Oxford to work as a postdoc for Prof. Tim P. Softley where he worked on Stark deceleration of neutral polar molecules for use in cold ion-molecule reactions.

In Sepember 2007, David was appointed as Lecturer in a joint position between the Chemistry and Physics departments. Since then, David has attracted considerable research funding, as part of a consortium from Durham and Imperial College London, through an EPSRC Programme Grant entitled MMQA: MicroKelvin Molecules in a Quantum Array.

David is a husband to Annabel and a father to Madeleine (born April 2010) and Sebastian (born April 2012).

Research Interests

It has been a long-standing goal of physicists and physical chemists to gain full control over the external and internal degrees of freedom of molecules in the gas phase. Advances in state-selection of molecules using molecular beam, laser, and electric and magnetic field based techniques have reached a stage where it is almost routine to produce intense samples of molecules in a single, selected, rovibronic state. However, only relatively recently have techniques been demonstrated where all of the translational degrees of freedom of molecules can be manipulated and controlled. Fine control is easier the slower the molecules are moving, and since velocity is proportional to temperature, control is also easier at low translational temperatures.

Many techniques have been explored to produce molecules with low translational temperatures and for many applications. For details, see the recent review by Carr et al. The techniques that my group is actively engaged with are:

  • Moving trap Zeeman deceleration.
  • Photostop.

The applications that we are interested in are:

  • Quantum simulation of many body problems in condensed matter physics.
  • Controlled cold and ultracold chemistry.
  • Quantum information processing.

Moving Trap Zeeman Deceleration

Under construction


Under construction

Quantum Simulation

Under construction

Controlled Cold and Ultracold Chemistry

Under construction

Quantum Information Processing

Under construction

Research Groups

Department of Physics

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics

Department of Chemistry

  • Computational and Dynamics

Research Interests

  • Cold and Ultracold Molecule Production
  • Quantum Simulation
  • Controlled Cold and Ultracold Chemistry
  • Quantum Information Processing


Journal Article