Dr. Stewart McWilliams

Research Theme:
Condensed Matter and Photonics
Research Groups:
Hard Condensed Matter, Soft Matter, Statistical Physics and Biophysics
Email address:
Telephone number:
+44 (0)131 651 7771
School of Physics and Astronomy, James Clerk Maxwell Building, Peter Guthrie Tait Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3FD, United Kingdom

Research interests

I study high pressure and high temperature states of matter in the laboratory to address questions of scientific and technological interest.  I am interested in materials relevant to natural systems such as planetary interiors and to technologies such as energetic materials and inertial confinement fusion.  I develop and use ultrafast methods to create, sustain, and study extreme states.  These techniques use the diamond-anvil cell (static compression) and laser-driven shock compression (dynamic compression) to generate particular extreme states.  I visit facilities worldwide for access to high power laser systems, synchrotron radiation, and other special instrumentation.  I characterize fundamental material properties including strength, elastic moduli, optical properties, and melting points and examine how extreme conditions can be used to synthesize new materials.

Research outputs

  1. Femtosecond diffraction studies of solid and liquid phase changes in shock-compressed bismuth DOI
    M. G. Gorman, Amy Coleman, Richard Briggs, Ryan Mcwilliams, David McGonegle, C A Bolme, A E Gleason, Eric Galtier, H. J. Lee, E Granados et al., Scientific Reports (2018)
  2. Insulator-metal transition in dense fluid deuterium DOI
    Peter M. Celliers, Marius Millot, Stephanie Brygoo, R. Stewart McWilliams, Dayne E. Fratanduono, J. Ryan Rygg, Alexander F. Goncharov, Paul Loubeyre, Jon H. Eggert, J. Luc Peterson et al., Science, 361, 6403 , p. 677-682 (2018)
  3. Metallization and molecular dissociation of dense fluid nitrogen DOI
    Ryan Mcwilliams, Nature Communications (2018)
  4. Finite element modeling of melting and fluid flow in the laser-heated diamond-anvil DOI
    Natalia Gomez-Perez, John Rodriguez and Ryan Mcwilliams, Journal of Applied Physics, 121, p. 145904-145901 (2017)
  5. Ultrafast X-Ray Diffraction Studies of the Phase Transitions and Equation of State of Scandium Shock Compressed to 82 GPa DOI
    R Briggs, M G Gorman, A L Coleman, R S McWilliams, E E McBride, D McGonegle, J S Wark, L Peacock, S Rothman, S G Macleod et al., Physical Review Letters, 118, 2 (2017)
  6. Optical properties of fluid hydrogen at the transition to a conducting state DOI
    Ryan Mcwilliams, D. Allen Dalton, Mohammad F. Mahmood and Alexander F. Goncharov, Physical Review Letters, 116, 25 (2016)
  7. Direct measurement of thermal conductivity in solid iron at planetary core conditions DOI
    Ryan McWilliams, Zuzana Konôpková, Natalia Gomez-Perez and Alexander F. Goncharov, Nature, 534, 7605 , p. 99-101 (2016)
  8. Opacity and conductivity measurements in noble gases at conditions of planetary and stellar interiors DOI
    R. Stewart Mcwilliams, D. Allen Dalton, Zuzana Konopkova, Mohammad F. Mahmood and Alexander F. Goncharov, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 26 , p. 201421801 (2015)
  9. A flash heating method for measuring thermal conductivity at high pressure and temperature: application to Pt DOI
    Stewart Mcwilliams, Z. Konopkova and Alexander.f. Goncharov, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors (2015)
  10. Phase Transformations and Metallization of Magnesium Oxide at High Pressure and Temperature DOI
    R. S. Mcwilliams, D. K. Spaulding, J. H. Eggert, P. M. Celliers, D. G. Hicks, R. F. Smith, G. W. Collins and R. Jeanloz, Science, 338, 6112 , p. 1330-1333 (2012)
Last updated: 06 Mar 2019 at 10:01