Our People

Sciencelens DSF1433

Peter McDowall

Research Scientist

Mass and Pressure

Areas of expertise

Atomic, molecular and optical physics


PhD (Physics), University of Otago 2014



Prior to joining MSL in 2019, Peter spent 5 years researching air and moisture flow within homes and buildings for the Building Research Association of New Zealand. As part of this research he conducted experiments examining indoor air quality, ventilation and the efficacy of photo-catalytic oxidation as a process for reducing mould growth in New Zealand homes.

He received his PhD in atomic physics in 2014 from the University of Otago where he built an atom interferometer based on laser cooled atoms subjected to periodic pulses of near-resonant standing waves of light. The output of this interferometer was a determination of the fine structure constant α via the ratio of h/m obtained from direct measurement of the Talbot time.


S. Chai, J. Fekete, P. D. McDowall, S. Coop, T. Lindballe, and M. F. Andersen, Survival resonances in an atom-optics system driven by temporally and spatially periodic dissipation, Phys. Rev. A, 97, 033616 (2018).

P. D. McDowall, T. Grünzweig, A. Hilliard, and M. F. Andersen, An atomic beam source for fast loading of a magneto-optical trap under high vacuum, Rev. Sci. Instrum.83 055102 (2012).

P. D. McDowall, A. Hilliard, M. McGovern, T. Grünzweig, and M. F. Andersen, A fidelity treatment of near-resonant states in the atom-optics kicked rotor, New J. Phys.11 123021 (2009).

P. D. McDowall and M. F. Andersen, Acousto-optic modulator based frequency stabilized diode laser system for atom trapping, Rev. Sci. Instrum.80, 053101 (2009).