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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
Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42026

(email at

PhD and Postdoc Opportunities *AVAILABLE NOW*

We are continually seeking high quality applications for Postdoctoral Research Assistants (PDRAs) and PhD students.

Application for PhD positions must be made online here if you wish to be associated with the Department of Physics, or here if you wish to be associated with the Department of Chemistry. To qualify for a PhD position, candidates should have a high quality degree in physics, chemistry or a related discipline. We welcome applications from those with paid scholarships as well as from those requiring funding.

Applications for PDRA (postdoc) positions must ultimately be made via the Durham University recruitment web site, but initial enquiries should be made to me by email (see above).


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 and Sebastian.

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:

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

Moving Trap Zeeman Deceleration

Under construction


Under construction

Quantum Simulation

Under construction

Controlled Cold and Ultracold Chemistry

Under construction

Research Groups

Department of Physics

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics

Department of Chemistry

  • Computational and Dynamics

Research Interests

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