Christophe Vaillant

Joint Quantum Centre (JQC) Durham-Newcastle

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Tel/Ext: 0191 33 42103

Office: CG200

I was born in Liege, Belgium, however spent most of my childhood living in various countries including South Africa (where I originally learnt English), Saudi Arabia and the UAE. I finished my A-Levels at Dubai College and subsequently came to Durham to do my undergraduate degree. After my first year, I decided experiment was not for me, and switched to the theoretical degree, which I completed in 2010.

I did my PhD under Robert Potvliege and Matt Jones for the Strontium Rydberg project, for which I was the theorist. Specifically, I'm involved in calculating the dipole-dipole interactions between Rydberg (i.e. highly excited) atoms. These Rydberg atoms show incredibly strong dipole-dipole interactions, which are exploited within the wider group for a variety of applications.

Work I have already completed within the strontium project involved surveying these interactions in strontium, calcium and ytterbium, to place these atoms in the context of the wider Rydberg community who primarily exploit dipole-dipole interactions in alkali metals. Now I am in the process of investigating the effects of these dipole-dipole interactions, specifically examining the two-electron effects that can modify them.

In a closely related experiment, I am also calculating the exchange interactions for a thermal cell, in a project led by Ifan Hughes. These exchange interactions can cause atoms to change excited states when they collide, so when a laser of a specific colour is shone into the cell, many different colours are observed to come out.

Currently, I am starting a postdoc in Jeremy Hutson's group, working on cold molecular collisions.

For a list of my papers on the arxiv, please see my arxiv author page.