Accessibility statement

Dr Kate Lancaster



I am an experimental plasma physicist with expertise in inertial fusion energy and ultra-intense laser plasma interactions, industrial engagement, knowledge transfer, teaching, and science communication (speaking, broadcast, and written).


  • YPI Research Fellow for innovation and impact, York Plasma Institute, School of Physics, Engineering and Technology, University of York (January 2015-September 2018)
  • Plasma and Fusion Industry Officer, York Plasma Institute, School of Physics, Engineering and Technology, University of York (January 2012-August 2015)
  • Experimental research scientist (permanent post), Experimental Science Group, Central Laser Facility, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (2006-2012)
  • Postdoctoral position in under and over-dense laser plasma interactions, Plasma Physics Group, Central Laser Facility, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (2004-2006)
  • PhD entitled "Advanced Fast Ignition Studies"
  • Imperial College, 2001-2005 (based in the plasma physics group at the Central Laser Facility)
  • BSc Physics with Industrial placement, University of Surrey, 1997-2001 (Industrial placement at National Physical Laboratory)


Roles in the School of Physics, Engineering and Technology

  • Programme leader, MSc in Fusion Energy



My research is in the field of experimental laser-plasma interactions with emphasis on fast electron generation, transport, and heating of dense matter. This work underpins much of the fundamental physics of laser plasma interactions but is also highly relevant for alternative inertial confinement fusion schemes such as fast ignition. 


  • Ultra-intense Laser plasma interactions
  • Fast electron transport
  • Alternative Inertial Confinement Fusion schemes
  • Diagnostic development

Research group(s)

  • York Plasma Institute


  • Royal Society International Exchanges Award, “Hot dense matter creation via ultra-intense laser interaction with nano-engineered targets” with ILIL at the Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Pisa (2018-2020)


  • Damon Farley, (2015) , completed in April 2020
  • Emma Hume, (2018), expected completion date September 2022 
  • Christina Ingleby (2020), expected completion date September 2024



  • Supervision
  • Maths 1, year 1
  • Undergraduate projects


  • MSc Fusion: Inertial Confinement Fusion (Part 1)
  • MSc research projects
  • Supervision

External activities


  • Chair of STFC Physical Sciences and Engineering advisory panel (October 2020 to present)
  • Member of FuseNet academic council (2019 to present)
  • Member - Institute of Physics, Chartered Physicist (CPhys) - Institute of Physics

Invited talks and conferences

(UK) 45th IOP Plasma Physics Conference, Belfast – April 2018. Invited oral presentation, “Guiding laser produced fast electrons using large magnetic fields”.

(INT) 7th workshop on Direct Drive and Fast Ignition Physics, Prague - May 2009. Invited oral presentation, 'Review of UK HiPER relevant experiments'.

(UK) 36th IOP Plasma Physics conference, Warwick - March 2009. Invited oral presentation, 'Developments in Fast Ignition and the future of Inertial Fusion Energy'.

(INT) 50th APS Division of Plasma Physics meeting, Dallas, Texas - November 2008. Invited oral presentation, 'Energy transport in laser plasma interactions: a UK perspective'.

(INT) 9th International workshop on Fast Ignition of fusion targets, Boston – November 2006. Invited oral presentation, ‘Energy transport experiments on VULCAN PW’.

(INT) ECLIM, Madrid – June 2006. Invited oral presentation, ‘Measurements of electron beam divergence patterns in PW laser plasma interactions at solid density’.

(INT) 32nd EPS conference on Plasma Physics, Tarragona and the 8th International workshop on fast ignition of fusion targets– June 2005. Invited oral presentation, ‘Electron and ion energy transport in recent PW laser plasma experiments’.

(INT) ECLIM, Rome – September 2004. Invited oral presentation, ‘Energy transport studies for cone guided fast ignition at the VULCAN TW/PW facilities’.

Media coverage

I have been actively engaging in outreach to non-specialist audiences for many years through lectures (both local and national), demonstrations, science festivals, radio, and television. Please email me with any media inquiries.

Recent examples:

CrowdScience - Is nuclear fusion coming anytime soon? BBC World Service, March 9th 2018

In Our Time, Plasma, BBC radio 4, October 13th 2016


Please email me with any event inquiries.

Recent examples:

GCSE Science Live! Lecture series 2008-present
Since 2008 I have had the privilege to be part of these events, run nationally at theatres in various cities every year for year 10 students. I share the bill with such luminaries as Robert Winston, Jim Al-Khalili, Alice Roberts, and Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

The Royal Institution Friday Evening Discourse, April 24th 2015
I was invited to a talk at the RI on “The Extreme World of Ultra-intense Lasers” as a Friday evening discourse.

Dr Kate Lancaster

School of Physics, Engineering and Technology
University of York
YO10 5DD
Tel: +44 (0)1904 324911
Fax: +44 (0)1904 322214 
Room: G/N103