Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Dr Kieran O'Brien

Member of the Department of Physics

Contact Dr Kieran O'Brien

Research Interests (Astronomy)

My research focuses on the study of interacting binaries. These are systems that are comprised a compact object (Black Hole, Neutron Star or White Dwarf) in a close binary orbit with a (usually) less evolved star. I use the variability of the light emitted from such sources to probe the different components of the binary (the donor star, accretion disk, compact object and out-flowing jet). This involves observing the sources at a number of wavelengths to probe the different regions. These include X-rays (RXTE, SWIFT and XMM), Optical/UV (VLT, Keck, WHT, Palomar 200-inch and HST) and Infra-red (VLT) observations. I combine these observations to indirectly image the systems in order to better understand the interactions of light and matter in these extreme physical environments.

Research Interests (Instrumentation)

My research focuses on the development of instrumenation based around Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDs). These are superconducting detectors that are capable of measuring the arrival time of individual optical/near-IR photons to ~1microsecond and simultaneously measuring their energy to ~5-10%. I am working with teams in Europe and the US to develop uniquely powerful instruments based around arrays of 1000's of such devices.

Research Interests

  • Centre for Advanced Instrumentation

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  • Vincentelli, F. M., Casella, P., Maccarone, T. J., Uttley, P., Gandhi, P., Belloni, T., De Marco, B., Russell, D. M., Stella, L. & O'Brien, K. (2018). Characterization of the infrared/X-ray subsecond variability for the black hole transient GX 339-4. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 477(4): 4524-4533.
  • Dodkins, R., Mahashabde, S., O’Brien, K., Thatte, N., Fruitwala, N., Walter, A.B., Meeker, S.R., Szypryt, P. & Mazin, B.A. (2018). MKID digital readout tuning with deep learning. Astronomy and Computing 23: 60-71.
  • Wang, L., Steeghs, D., Casares, J., Charles, P. A., Muñoz-Darias, T., Marsh, T. R., Hynes, R. I. & O'Brien, K. (2017). System mass constraints for the accreting millisecond pulsar XTE J1814-338 using Bowen fluorescence. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 466(2): 2261-2271.
  • Kalamkar, M., Casella, P., Uttley, P., O'Brien, K., Russell, D., Maccarone, T., van der Klis, M. & Vincentelli, F. (2016). Detection of the first infra-red quasi-periodic oscillation in a black hole X-ray binary. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 460(3): 3284-3291.
  • Kendrew, S., Zieleniewski, S., Houghton, R. C. W., Thatte, N., Devriendt, J., Tecza, M., Clarke, F., O'Brien, K. & Häußler, B. (2016). Simulated stellar kinematics studies of high-redshift galaxies with the HARMONI Integral Field Spectrograph. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 458(3): 2405-2422.
  • Gandhi, P., Shaw, A. W., Pahari, M., Littlefair, S., Hardy, L., Dhillon, V., Marsh, T. R., Casella, P., Charles, P. A., Done, C., Russell, D. M., Shahbaz, T., Casares, J., Munoz-Darias, T., Tomsick, J., O'Brien, K., Kuulkers, E., Altamirano, D., Knigge, C., Motta, S. & Walton, D. (2015). Correlated Optical and X-ray variability in V404 Cyg. The Astronomer's Telegram 7727.
  • Dhillon, V. S., Marsh, T. R., Atkinson, D. C., Bezawada, N., Bours, M. C. P., Copperwheat, C. M., Gamble, T., Hardy, L. K., Hickman, R. D. H., Irawati, P., Ives, D. J., Kerry, P., Leckngam, A., Littlefair, S. P., McLay, S. A., O'Brien, K., Peacocke, P. T., Poshyachinda, S., Richichi, A., Soonthornthum, B. & Vick, A. (2015). Erratum: ULTRASPEC: a high-speed imaging photometer on the 2.4-m Thai National Telescope. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 446: 2870.
  • van Eyken, J. C., Strader, M. J., Walter, A. B., Meeker, S. R., Szypryt, P., Stoughton, C., O'Brien, K., Marsden, D., Rice, N. K., Lin, Y. & Mazin, B. A. (2015). The ARCONS Pipeline: Data Reduction for MKID Arrays. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 219.
  • Szypryt, P., Duggan, G. E., Mazin, B. A., Meeker, S. R., Strader, M. J., van Eyken, J. C., Marsden, D., O'Brien, K., Walter, A. B., Ulbricht, G., Prince, T. A., Stoughton, C. & Bumble, B. (2014). Direct detection of SDSS J0926+3624 orbital expansion with ARCONS. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 439: 2765-2770.
  • Dhillon, V. S., Marsh, T. R., Atkinson, D. C., Bezawada, N., Bours, M. C. P., Copperwheat, C. M., Gamble, T., Hardy, L. K., Hickman, R. D. H., Irawati, P., Ives, D. J., Kerry, P., Leckngam, A., Littlefair, S. P., McLay, S. A., O'Brien, K., Peacocke, P. T., Poshyachinda, S., Richichi, A., Soonthornthum, B. & Vick, A. (2014). ULTRASPEC: a high-speed imaging photometer on the 2.4-m Thai National Telescope. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 444: 4009-4021.
  • Russell, D. M., Russell, T. D., Miller-Jones, J. C. A., O'Brien, K., Soria, R., Sivakoff, G. R., Slaven-Blair, T., Lewis, F., Markoff, S., Homan, J., Altamirano, D., Curran, P. A., Rupen, M. P., Belloni, T. M., Cadolle Bel, M., Casella, P., Corbel, S., Dhawan, V., Fender, R. P., Gallo, E., Gandhi, P., Heinz, S., Körding, E. G., Krimm, H. A., Maitra, D., Migliari, S., Remillard, R. A., Sarazin, C. L., Shahbaz, T. & Tudose, V. (2013). An Evolving Compact Jet in the Black Hole X-Ray Binary MAXI J1836-194. The Astrophysical Journal Letters 768.
  • Mazin, B. A., Meeker, S. R., Strader, M. J., Szypryt, P., Marsden, D., van Eyken, J. C., Duggan, G. E., Walter, A. B., Ulbricht, G., Johnson, M., Bumble, B., O'Brien, K. & Stoughton, C. (2013). ARCONS: A 2024 Pixel Optical through Near-IR Cryogenic Imaging Spectrophotometer. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 125: 1348.
  • Strader, M. J., Johnson, M. D., Mazin, B. A., Spiro Jaeger, G. V., Gwinn, C. R., Meeker, S. R., Szypryt, P., van Eyken, J. C., Marsden, D., O'Brien, K., Walter, A. B., Ulbricht, G., Stoughton, C. & Bumble, B. (2013). Excess Optical Enhancement Observed with ARCONS for Early Crab Giant Pulses. The Astrophysical Journal Letters 779.
  • Marsden, Danica W., Mazin, Benjamin A., O'Brien, Kieran & Hirata, Chris (2013). Giga-z: A 100,000 Object Superconducting Spectrophotometer for LSST Follow-up. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 208.
  • Russell, D. M., Markoff, S., Casella, P., Cantrell, A. G., Chatterjee, R., Fender, R. P., Gallo, E., Gandhi, P., Homan, J., Maitra, D., Miller-Jones, J. C. A., O'Brien, K. & Shahbaz, T. (2013). Jet spectral breaks in black hole X-ray binaries. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 429: 815-832.
  • Russell, D. M., Curran, P. A., Muñoz-Darias, T., Lewis, F., Motta, S., Stiele, H., Belloni, T., Miller-Jones, J. C. A., Jonker, P. G., O'Brien, K., Homan, J., Casella, P., Gandhi, P., Soleri, P., Markoff, S., Maitra, D., Gallo, E. & Cadolle Bel, M. (2012). A late jet rebrightening revealed from multiwavelength monitoring of the black hole candidate XTE J1752-223. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 419: 1740-1751.
  • McHugh, Sean, Mazin, Benjamin A., Serfass, Bruno, Meeker, Seth, O'Brien, Kieran, Duan, Ran, Raffanti, Rick & Werthimer, Dan (2012). A readout for large arrays of microwave kinetic inductance detectors. Review of Scientific Instruments 83: 044702.
  • Mazin, Benjamin A., Bumble, Bruce, Meeker, Seth R., O'Brien, Kieran, McHugh, Sean & Langman, Eric (2012). A superconducting focal plane array for ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared astrophysics. Optics Express 20: 1503.
  • Cornelisse, R., D'Avanzo, P., Campana, S., Casares, J., Charles, P. A., Israel, G., Muñoz-Darias, T., O'Brien, K., Steeghs, D., Stella, L. & Torres, M. A. P. (2012). The nature of the X-ray transient MAXI J0556-332. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 420: 3538-3544.
  • Russell, D. M., O'Brien, K., Muñoz-Darias, T., Casella, P., Gandhi, P. & Revnivtsev, M. G. (2012). The near-infrared counterpart of 4U 1636-53. Astronomy and Astrophysics 539.
  • Russell, D. M., Belloni, T., Miller-Jones, J. C. A., O'Brien, K., Gandhi, P., Cadolle Bel, M., Markoff, S., Casella, P., Homan, J., Gallo, E., Fender, R. P., Shahbaz, T. & Corbel, S. (2011). Bright mid-infrared detections of MAXI J1836-194 with VISIR on the VLT: brightening of the compact jet. The Astronomer's Telegram 3689.
  • Durant, Martin, Shahbaz, Tariq, Gandhi, Poshak, Cornelisse, Remon, Muñoz-Darias, Teodoro, Casares, Jorge, Dhillon, Vik, Marsh, Tom, Spruit, Hendrik, O'Brien, Kieran, Steeghs, Danny & Hynes, Rob (2011). High time resolution optical/X-ray cross-correlations for X-ray binaries: anticorrelations and rapid variability. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 410: 2329-2338.
  • Patat, F., Moehler, S., O'Brien, K., Pompei, E., Bensby, T., Carraro, G., de Ugarte Postigo, A., Fox, A., Gavignaud, I., James, G., Korhonen, H., Ledoux, C., Randall, S., Sana, H., Smoker, J., Stefl, S. & Szeifert, T. (2011). Optical atmospheric extinction over Cerro Paranal. Astronomy and Astrophysics 527.
  • Moehler, Sabine, Freudling, Wolfram, Møller, Palle, Patat, Ferdinando, Rupprecht, Gero & O'Brien, Kieran (2010). Correction of Field Rotator-Induced Flat-Field Systematics--A Case Study Using Archived VLT-FORS Data. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 122: 93.
  • Casella, P., Maccarone, T. J., O'Brien, K., Fender, R. P., Russell, D. M., van der Klis, M., Pe'Er, A., Maitra, D., Altamirano, D., Belloni, T., Kanbach, G., Klein-Wolt, M., Mason, E., Soleri, P., Stefanescu, A., Wiersema, K. & Wijnands, R. (2010). Fast infrared variability from a relativistic jet in GX 339-4. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 404: L21-L25.
  • Muñoz-Darias, T., Casares, J., O'Brien, K., Steeghs, D., Martínez-Pais, I. G., Cornelisse, R. & Charles, P. A. (2009). Dynamical constraints on the neutron star mass in EXO 0748-676. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 394: L136-L140.

Other (Print)

  • Güver, Tolga, Mazin, Benjamin A., O'Brien, Kieran, Kay, Burak, Alis, Sinan, Yelkenci, F. Korhan, Yesilyaprak, Cahit, Yerli, Sinan K., Erol, Ayse. & Keskin, Onur (2016). A microwave kinetic inductance detector for the DAG telescope. 9915.
  • Allen, Jamie R., O'Brien, Kieran, Lynn, James D., Thatte, Niranjan A., Tosh, Ian A. J. & Tacon, Mike (2016). Characterizing the performance of cryogenic lens mounts for the HARMONI spectograph. 9912.
  • Kendrew, Sarah, Zieleniewski, Simon, Houghton, Ryan C. W., Thatte, Niranjan, Devriendt, Julien, Tecza, Matthias, Clarke, Fraser, O'Brien, Kieran & Häußler, Boris (2016). Simulated observations of high-redshift galaxies with the HARMONI spectrograph for the European Extremely Large Telescope. 9908.
  • Thatte, Niranjan A., Clarke, Fraser, Bryson, Ian, Shnetler, Hermine, Tecza, Matthias, Fusco, Thierry, Bacon, Roland M., Richard, Johan, Mediavilla, Evencio, Neichel, Benoît, Arribas, Santiago, Garcia-Lorenzo, Begoña., Evans, Christopher J., Remillieux, Alban, El Madi, Kacem, Herreros, Jose Miguel, Melotte, Dave, O'Brien, Kieran, Tosh, Ian A., Vernet, Joël., Hammersley, Peter, Ives, Derek J., Finger, Gert, Houghton, Ryan, Rigopoulou, Dimitra, Lynn, James D., Allen, Jamie R., Zieleniewski, Simon D., Kendrew, Sarah, Ferraro-Wood, Vanessa, Pécontal-Rousset, Arlette, Kosmalski, Johan, Laurent, Florence, Loupias, Magali, Piqueras, Laure, Renault, Edgar, Blaizot, Jeremy, Daguisé, Eric, Migniau, Jean-Emmanuel, Jarno, Aurélien, Born, Andy, Gallie, Angus M., Montgomery, David M., Henry, David, Schwartz, Noah, Taylor, William, Zins, Gérard, Rodríguez-Ramos, Luis Fernando, Cagigas, Miguel, Battaglia, Giuseppina, Rebolo López, Refael, Hernández Suárez, Elvio, Gigante-Ripoll, José Vicente, Piqueras López, Javier, Villa Martin, Montserrat, Correia, Carlos, Pascal, Sandrine, Blanco, Leonardo, Vola, Pascal, Epinat, Benoit, Peroux, Celine, Vigan, Arthur, Dohlen, Kjetil, Sauvage, Jean-Francois, Lee, Martin, Carlotti, Alexis, Verinaud, Christophe, Morris, Tim, Myers, Richard, Reeves, Andrew, Swinbank, Mark, Calcines, Ariadna & Larrieu, Marrie (2016). The E-ELT first light spectrograph HARMONI: capabilities and modes. 9908.
  • Kalamkar, M., Casella, P., O'Brien, K., Uttley, P. & Maccarone, T. (2015). Fast multi-wavelength broad-band and QPO variability in a black hole X-ray binary: accretion flow and/or a jet origin?
  • Mazin, Benjamin A., Becker, George, France, Kevin, Fraser, Wesley, Howell, D. Andrew, Jones, Tucker, Meeker, Seth, O'Brien, Kieran, Prochaska, Jason X., Siana, Brian, Strader, Matthew, Szypryt, Paul, Tendulkar, Shriharsh P., Treu, Tommaso & Vasisht, Gautam (2015). Science with KRAKENS. 1506.
  • Allen, Jamie R., O'Brien, Kieran, Lynn, James D., Thatte, Niranjan A., Bryson, Ian, Clarke, Fraser, Schnetler, Hermine & Tecza, Matthias (2014). Cryogenic testing of components for the HARMONI spectrograph. 9147.
  • Thatte, Niranjan A., Clarke, Fraser, Bryson, Ian, Schnetler, Hermine, Tecza, Matthias, Bacon, Roland M., Remillieux, Alban, Mediavilla, Evencio, Herreros Linares, José Miguel, Arribas, Santiago, Evans, Christopher J., Lunney, David W., Fusco, Thierry, O'Brien, Kieran, Tosh, Ian A., Ives, Derek J., Finger, Gert, Houghton, Ryan, Davies, Roger L., Lynn, James D., Allen, Jamie R., Zieleniewski, Simon D., Kendrew, Sarah, Ferraro-Wood, Vanessa, Pécontal-Rousset, Arlette, Kosmalski, Johan, Richard, Johan, Jarno, Aurelien, Gallie, Angus M., Montgomery, David M., Henry, David, Zins, Gérard, Freeman, David, García-Lorenzo, Begona, Rodríguez-Ramos, Luis F., Revuelta, Jorge S. C., Hernandez Suarez, Elvio, Bueno-Bueno, Alberto, Gigante-Ripoll, José Vincente, Garcia, Adolfo, Dohlen, Kjetil & Neichel, Benoît. (2014). HARMONI: the first light integral field spectrograph for the E-ELT. 9147.
  • Kendrew, S., Zieleniewski, S., Thatte, N., Devriendt, J., Houghton, R., Fusco, T., Tecza, M., Clarke, F. & O'Brien, Kieran (2014). Integral field spectroscopy of high redshift galaxies with the HARMONI spectrograph on the European Extremely Large Telescope. 9147.
  • O'Brien, Kieran, Thatte, Niranjan & Mazin, Benjamin (2014). KIDSpec: an MKID based medium resolution integral field spectrograph. 9147.
  • Plant, D. S., O'Brien, K. & Fender, R. P. (2014). Simultaneous independent measurements of a truncated inner accretion disc in the low/hard state of GX 399$-$4. 1411.
  • O'Brien, Kieran, Allen, Jamie R., Lynn, James D., Thatte, Niranjan A., Bryson, Ian, Clarke, Fraser, Schnetler, Hermine & Tecza, Matthias (2014). The spectrograph units for the HARMONI integral field spectrograph. 9147.
  • Clarke, Fraser, Thatte, Niranjan, Tecza, Matthias, O'Brien, Kieran, Houghton, Ryan, Tiee, Dan, Fletcher, Leigh, Irwin, Pat, Verma, Aprajita, Dekany, Richard, Rick, Burruss, Roberts, Jenny & Fini, Luca (2013). High resolution in three dimensions with SWIFT and PALM3K.
  • Mazin, Benjamin A., O'Brien, K., Bumble, B., Strader, M., Meeker, S., Stoughton, C., Marsden, D., Walter, A., Szypyrt, P. & Ulbricht, G. (2013). Preliminary Results from the Array Camera for Optical to Near-IR Spectrophotometry (ARCONS). 221.
  • O'Brien, Kieran, Mazin, Ben, McHugh, Sean, Meeker, Seth, Marsden, Danica & Bumble, Bruce (2012). ARCONS: a 1024 pixel superconducting integral field spectrograph. 8446.
  • O'Brien, Kieran, Mazin, Ben, McHugh, Sean, Meeker, Seth, Bumble, Bruce, Hanisch, Robert & Seaman, Rob (2012). ARCONS: a Highly Multiplexed Superconducting UV-to-Near-IR Camera. 285: 385-388.
  • Meeker, Seth, Mazin, B. A., O'Brien, K., McHugh, S., Bumble, B., Langman, E. & Navaroli, M. (2012). First Optical Observations with Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors. 219.
  • Marsden, Danica, Mazin, Benjamin A., Bumble, Bruce, Meeker, Seth, O'Brien, Kieran, McHugh, Sean, Strader, Matthew & Langman, Eric (2012). Optical lumped element microwave kinetic inductance detectors. 8453.
  • Mazin, Benjamin A., Marsden, Danica & O'Brien, Kieran (2012). SuperMOS: a new class of low resolution multiobject spectrographs. 8446.
  • Casella, Piergiorgio, Maccarone, Thomas J. & O'Brien, Kieran (2011). Fast multiwavelength variability from jets in X-ray binaries. 1104.
  • Mazin, Benjamin A., O'Brien, Kieran, McHugh, Sean, Bumble, Bruce, Moore, David, Golwala, Sunil & Zmuidzinas, Jonas (2010). ARCHONS: a highly multiplexed superconducting optical to near-IR camera. 7735.
  • Britt, Christopher T., Hynes, R. I., Mikles, V., Robinson, E. & O'Brien, K. (2010). Echo-mapping of Scorpius X-1. 11: 727.
  • Casella, P., Maccarone, T. & O'Brien, K. (2010). Fast multiwavelength variability from jets in X-ray binaries.
  • Casella, Piergiorgio, Maccarone, T., O'Brien, K., Fender, R., Russell, D., van der Klis, M., Pe'er, A., Maitra, D., Altamirano, D., Belloni, T., Kanbach, G., Klein-Wolt, M., Mason, E., Migliari, S., Soleri, P., Stefanescu, A., Wiersema, K. & Wijnands, R. (2010). Fast Multiwavelength Variability from Jets in X-ray Binaries, a New Powerful Tool. 11: 734.
  • Munoz-Darias, T., Martinez-Pais, I. G., Casares, J., O'Brien, K., Cornelisse, R., Dhillon, V. S., March, T. R., Steeghs, D., Charle, P. A. & Still, M. (2010). Mapping LMXBs with reprocessed X-ray bursts.
  • Cornelisse, R., Casares, J., Steeghs, D., Charles, P., Barnes, A., Hynes, R., O'Brien, K. & Muñoz-Darias, T. (2010). The Bowen Survey; detecting donor star signatures in low mass X-ray binaries.

Show all publications