Ultra Staff
21 Sep 2012







Mike Towrie,  Ian Clark,  Greg GreethamIgor SazanovichGabriel Karras​,   Marta Szynkie​wicz​,  Paul Donaldson​

Dr Greg Greetham - Head of ULTRA Facility

Greg Greetham

Greg gained academic experience in physical chemistry at the University of Leicester and ETH Zurich and industrial experience with ultrafast laser and CCD camera technology development in France and Germany.

Greg joined the CLF at the beginning of the STFC & BBSRC funded ULTRA project to develop the scientific application of ultrafast lasers and molecular dynamics spectroscopy techniques, such as 2D-IR and Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy. Since then, he has had a key role in developing all the ULTRA laser and experimental laboratories and their control systems, as well as supporting ULTRA’s diverse user program. He is currently working on technology overlaps between ULTRA and Artemis, the CLF’s XUV laser facility.


Email: greg.greetham@stfc.ac.uk;  Tel: 01235 446299


Prof Mike Towrie​


​​​​Strategy Development

Research Interests: Ultrafast photochemistry, physics & biology, time resolved linear and non-linear IR and Raman spectroscopy, ultrafast and imaging instrument development, detectors and laser sources.

Background: PhD University of Glasgow. Resonance Ionisation Mass Spectroscopy.

Honorary Professorship at the University of Sheffield.

Meggers Award 2002, 2006 & 2020

Mike joined the LSF in 1989 and his research has centred on development and scientific application of lasers, detectors and spectroscopic and imaging instrumentation including the Raman Kerr Gate, the PIRATE time resolved infrared facilities, the STFC & BBSRC funded ULTRA facility and the (STFC Technology Partnership) Tweezers Nanoprobe microscope.

He is author and co-author on over 190 publications and has 3 patents relating to optical tweezers and sensors.

Email: mike.towrie@stfc.ac.uk;   Tel: 01235 446141

Dr Ian Clark

Ian Clark

Instrument Scientist

Meggers Award 2006

Ian obtained his PhD in time-resolved infrared spectroscopy from the University of Nottingham in 1997 before joining the STFC in the same year. Since that time, Ian has worked using the majority of the facility’s time-resolved techniques.

Ian has recently worked on developing a micro-bolometer array for focal spot size measurement of one or more infrared beams (doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0085.v1).  This development is a great aid when it comes to the setup of time-resolved infrared and 2D-IR experiments saving many hours of time.

Email: ian.p.clark@stfc.ac.uk;  Tel: 01235 446807​

Dr Igor Sazanovich

Igor Sazanovich

Instrument Scientist

Igor graduated from Belarusian State University in Minsk, and obtained his Ph.D. from B.I. Stepanov Institute of Physics in Minsk. Igor joined the LSF in 2013 to support the maintenance of the ULTRA laboratory infrastructure, to provide visiting scientists technical and scientific support, to work with the team to develop instrumentation in time resolved spectroscopic and laser-based imaging techniques, and to support operation of lasers in the Laser Loan Pool. Igor has gained academic experience in time resolved laser spectroscopy applications and instrumentation development at B.I. Stepanov Institute of Physics, Institute of Physical Chemistry in Warsaw, Wageningen University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Sheffield.

Email: igor.sazanovich@stfc.ac.uk;  Tel: 01235 446285

Dr Gabriel Karras

Gabriel Karras

​​​​Research Interests: Vibrational Surface SFG, nonlinear optics, development of novel light sources, photo-electron spectroscopy of gas phase molecules, ultra-fast dynamics.

Background: Gabriel obtained his PhD degree in Physics in Greece. His expertise lies in the domains of AMO and Chemical Physics and he has been using and manipulating a wide range of laser light sources to study fundamental and applied physical phenomena.

Gabriel joined the Ultra team in August 2019 to lead the activity of the facility in the surface sum frequency generation spectroscopy and further develop its capabilities towards the ultra-short laser pulse regime. He is interested in developing new experimental approaches like the EVV 2D-IR spectroscopy, secondary sources and applications for the 100 kHz IR upgrade project and the rest of the Ultra lasers. In addition he maintains his curiosity and interest in more fundamental aspects like the study and control of ultra-fast dynamics in complex molecular systems using photo-electron spectroscopy.

ORCID: 0000-000-9629-8336

Email: gabriel.karras@stfc.ac.ukTel: 01235 446762

Marta Szynkiewicz

Marta joined the ULTRA Facility in Jul 2021. She coordinates ULTRA Facility operations and manages the chemistry preparation laboratory.

Prior to her role with ULTRA, Mar​ta worked for the sister facility Octopus, where she provided support to the Octopu​s core staff and users. She studied Fishery Science (Biotechnology, Aquaculture and Ecotourism) at the West-Pomeranian University of Technology in Poland.

Email: marta.szynkiewicz@stfc.ac.uk​;  Tel: 01235 567066

Chris Hutchison

​Christopher obtained his Ph.D in from Imperial College London in QOLS group in 2013, working on High Harmonic Generation and included a few experiments at Artemis. Went on to gain experience working with X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFEL) at the University of Kyoto, Japan and then came back to Imperial College to work in the van Thor group working ultrafast spectroscopy on solution and crystalline targets as well as time resolved serial femtosecond crystallography (TR-SFX) of light sensitive proteins, participated XFEL beamtimes at LCLS, SACLA & PAL-XFEL.

Christopher just joined the ULTRA group in June 2022 to provide user support, gain experience the techniques of ULTRA in particular time resolved vibrational spectroscopy and work on expanding relations between the XFEL community and ULTRA.


Email: Chris.Hutchison@stfc.ac.uk

Timur Avni

Research Interests:  Nonlinear Optics in Hollow Core Fibres (HCF), 2D Electron Spectroscopy (2DES), Ultrafast Dynamics, Development of Novel Light Sources, High Harmonic Generation (HHG)


Background: Timur is a Post-Doctoral researcher, having graduated from a Masters at the University of Bristol and currently completing his PhD at Imperial College on HHG, femtosecond-IR pulse compression in HCFs, and resonant dispersive wave emission (RDW) emission. He joined the team in 2021 to develop stretched-fibre apparatus' to generate broad-band, few-femtosecond pulses for 2DES in collaboration with Professor Steve Meech at the University of East Anglia. He is also keen to develop highly-stable, characterised, and reproducible ultrashort non-linear optical sources from the IR to the X-ray for a wide range of ultrafast spectroscopies.

Soha Ahmed

Soha is an industrial placement student working with the Ultra group. She is studying MEng Biomedical Engineering at the University of Reading. Her role in Ultra includes helping to design and develop improved set-ups for user experiments. 

Dr Paul Donaldson

Paul Donaldson

Further information on Paul and his UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship can be found here.

Email: paul.donaldson@stfc.ac.uk;  Tel: 01235 567878

Contact: Greetham, Greg (STFC,RAL,CLF)