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Dr Kieran Obrien

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the Department of Physics


Research Interests (Astronomy)

My research focuses on the study of interacting binaries. These are systems that are comprised a compact object (Black Hole, Neutron Star or White Dwarf) in a close binary orbit with a (usually) less evolved star. I use the variability of the light emitted from such sources to probe the different components of the binary (the donor star, accretion disk, compact object and out-flowing jet). This involves observing the sources at a number of wavelengths to probe the different regions. These include X-rays (RXTE, SWIFT and XMM), Optical/UV (VLT, Keck, WHT, Palomar 200-inch and HST) and Infra-red (VLT) observations. I combine these observations to indirectly image the systems in order to better understand the interactions of light and matter in these extreme physical environments.

Research Interests (Instrumentation)

My research focuses on the development of instrumenation based around Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDs). These are superconducting detectors that are capable of measuring the arrival time of individual optical/near-IR photons to ~1microsecond and simultaneously measuring their energy to ~5-10%. I am working with teams in Europe and the US to develop uniquely powerful instruments based around arrays of 1000's of such devices.

Research interests

  • Centre for Advanced Instrumentation


Conference Paper

Journal Article

Other (Print)

Supervision students