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Dr Amelle Zaïr
Dr Amelle Zaïr

Dr Amelle Zaïr

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Senior Lecturer

Research subject areas

  • Physics

Contact details


Amelle is a Lecturer in advanced photonics in the Physics Department at King’s College London. She is Head of Ultrafast Laser Sciences and Attosecond Physics.

After a MSc in laser-matter interaction at Orsay-Ecole Polytechnique France, She was awarded her PhD  on “Production and characterisation of XUV attosecond pulses” in 2006 from University of Bordeaux ‘Centre for intense lasers and applications’; which she obtained with the highest distinction.

These attosecond pulses are known to be the shortest flash of coherent light ever achieved and the attosecond community is growing stronger worldwide in the last decades. Amelle is contributing to the UK effort on Attosecond Physics.

After her PhD she joined  world recognised groups in ultrafast physics (ETH Zurich and USAL ) for postdoctoral studies where she discovered of Quantum Path Interferences “QPI” in high order harmonic generation process at the heart of the attosecond control of matter under strong electromagnetic fields.  

Following her postdoctoral studies, she was awarded an EPSRC CAF fellowship in 2011 and she built her own group at Imperial College London where she led two novel investigation lines:  capturing  attosecond dynamics in atoms and molecules using attosecond quantum path interferometry,  and  new generation of high repetition rate Yb femtosecond laser for high repetition rate attosecond physics.

She recently joined our Department and she leads the AttosecondPhysics@King's initiative.

She has a keen interest in equality and diversity and is a member of the JUNO committee.

Research interests:

Ultrafast laser sciences and Attosecond Physics

1. Ultrafast laser sciences:

We develop state of art femtosecond ultra-short and intense lasers that are essential for driving strong field- matter interaction with unprecedented conditions. We are focusing our research into the development of high repetition rate Ytterbium CPA femtosecond laser that are now cutting edge technology. The CPA technology was recognised by the Nobel prize in Physics 2018 and is an important topic of advanced light technology. We are investigating innovative schemes to enable the production of few-cycle femtosecond pulses that cover a large range of photon energy from IR to far IR and the synthetisation of new electromagnetic laser fields waveforms.

2. Production, characterisation and control of attosecond pulses:

We currently produce the most advanced table-top source of XUV and X-ray coherent pulses. These pulses are the shortest ever produced (100 asec; 1 asec= 10-18 sec). Our research is focused on the production, characterisation and control of these attosecond pulses, taking advantage of high harmonic generation high non-linear phenomena. High harmonic generation is a process that enable the up conversion of the CPA femtosecond source to the XUV-X-ray range. In order to achieve the full capability of these sources, we combine our expertise of femtosecond laser technology and strong field physics to provide the optimum attosecond source.

3. Capturing ultra-fast dynamical process in atoms and molecules using attosecond pump-probe technique:

Electronic and nuclear motions are extremely fast and trigger many photo-induced processes’ initial steps from few tens of attosecond to few femtosecond, such as damages in RNA basis, properties in chromophores, ultrafast current in nanoscale samples and dynamics at the quantum level. We have pioneered the “quantum path interferometry” technique that is an in situ pump-probe method enabling capture ultra-fast charge migration with temporal accuracy down to 10 attosecond. Our current research aims to extend this technique to larger molecular systems and to explore condensate phase material, i.e.  Periodic crystals, nanofilms and metamaterials.

quantum path interferences

Fig: quantum path interferences

Link to Networks and Facilities:

Amelle is actively involved in Laserlab EU initiative (H2020):

She is participating to the high repetition rate Attosecond Physics EU initiative at ELI-ALPS facility (H2020):