Dr. William John McConkey
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Dr. Gordon W. Drake, Chair
Ms. Petrona Parungo, Secretary
Department of Physics
Room 288-3 Essex Hall North
University of Windsor
Windsor, Ontario, Canada N9B 3P4
Phone (519) 253-3000 ext. 2647
Fax (519) 973-7075
Faculty & Staff Information Sheet
First Name: William John
Last Name: McConkey
Degrees: B.Sc., Ph.D. (Queen's University of Belfast), F.Inst.P. -1970, (Killam Research Fellow, 1986-1988), APS Fellow -1990, F.R.S.C -1998, CAP Gold Medallist -1999
Employee Type: Faculty
Rank/Job Title: University Professor
Office Location: 289-5 ESSX
Office Ext.: 2667 (LAB) ext 2654
Web site: http://www.cs.uwindsor.ca/units/phys/mcconkey.htm
Research Interests and Current Projects:
Electron and Photon Collisions
In this group, experiments are carried out with a mixture of fundamental and applied interests. Thus the excitement of new discovery is combined with relevance to the rest of the (scientific and industrial) community. The fact that a wide range of instrumentation and techniques has been developed enables rapid advance into exciting new areas and also allows new insight to be gained into a particular problem by looking at it in different ways.
Over the years considrable effort has been put into the measurement of absolute cross section for various processes involving electron and photon collisions. These measurements are now widely used throughout the world as secondary standards. Many important developing areas of science of technology require accurate measurements of this type. Such information is vital to an understanding of the processes occuring in gas lasers or etchant gas plasmas, to fusion energy source development, to novel space-vehicle propulsion schemes and to a basic understanding of upper atmosphere, planetary and astrophysical processes. A variety of targets is used and the individual processes occuring are indentified by studying the resultant photon, ion, scattered electron or neutral particle. A wide range of techniques including optical, electron , mass, time-of-flight and laser spectroscopy is used in these studies.
Excitation of atomic and molecular targets by electron impact followed by radiation in the vaccuum-ultraviolet has been a particularly fruitful field of study. Techniques have been developed to study the polarization characteristics of these emisions in addition to their intensities. New methods of absolute calibration of optical equipment in this spectral region are under study.
Combined electron-beam and pulsed laser excitation is being applied to molecular dissociation studies and to excitation and lifetime studies of excited states which are not optically accesssible from the ground state. Fine details of excitation processes are also being probed using a highly sophisticated electron-photon coincidence apparatus. Windsor is one of the few labrotaries equipped for this type of work
Novel techniques are being developed to monitor metastable atmospheric species such as those present in aurora, and thus allow a study of auroral excitation mechanisms to be made. The interaction of low energy electrons with water vapour is being studied. This is of great significance from a biological standpoint and is vital for a proper understanding of the interaction of radiation with living matter.
The significance of McConkey's research program has been recoginized by the award in 1986 of the prestigious Killam Fellowship, by the Canada Council, by election to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada in 1998, and by the award in 1999 of the Gold Medal of the Canadian Association of Physics for lifetime achievement in physics.
A study of the interaction of electrons with clusters is under way. This provides important clues regarding how collisional interactions change as the target progresses from the gaseous to the solid phase.
A novel magneto-optical trap is being used to study electron collisions with ultra cold atoms and molecules which have been trapped in a UHV vessel using counter-propagating laser beams. This represents new and exciting posibilities for the study of electron collisions particularly those involving excited targets.