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Personal profile

Research interests

My research exploits nonlinear optics to produce light that spans the visible to mid-infrared.  My research interests include:

  • Tunable pulsed lasers for multi-photon microscopy
  • Mid-infrared single-photon generation
  • Frequency combs for astronomical spectrograph calibration

I work closely with industry, including companies such as Chromacity, Laser Quantum, Radiantis and M-Squared Lasers, and I am part of the UK consortium to supply a wavelength ruler for the upcoming Extremely Large Telescope in Chile. I have collaborated with groups in Milan, Stanford, Tokyo and South Africa, and hope to work with researchers from all walks of life.

For more details please see my research group pages: https://mccrackenlab.squarespace.com


Richard McCracken received a BSc in Physics from the University of St. Andrews (2007) before studying for an MSc in Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices (2009).  From 2010-2017 he was a member of the Ultrafast Optics Group at Heriot-Watt, working with Prof. Derryck Reid as a PhD student and then a post-doctoral researcher.  He joined IPaQS as a Research Fellow in November 2017.

Roles & Responsibilities

Seminar organiser, Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences


  • B27MW, Mechanics, Fields & Forces (Y1)
  • B28AP, Astrophysics (Y2)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Richard Alexander McCracken is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2012 2019

Astrocombs: Recent Advances

Herr, T. & McCracken, R. A., 1 Dec 2019, In : IEEE Photonics Technology Letters. 31, 23, p. 1890-1893 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
extrasolar planets
parametric amplifiers

Towards a visible to mid-infrared astrocomb for the extremely large telescope

Cheng, Y. S., Xiao, D., McCracken, R. A. & Reid, D. T., 17 Oct 2019, 2019 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe and European Quantum Electronics Conference (CLEO/Europe-EQEC). IEEE, 8871925

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Infrared radiation

10-GHz Femtosecond Degenerate Optical Parametric Oscillator

McCracken, R. A., Cheng, Y. S. & Reid, D. T., 17 May 2018, CLEO: QELS_Fundamental Science 2018. FTh1M.1

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

parametric amplifiers

ELT -HIRES the High Resolution Spectrograph for the ELT: Fabry-Pérots for use as calibration sources

Huke, P., Schäfer, S., Reiners, A., Seemann, U., Riva, M., Pepe, F., Chazelas, B., Masłowski, P., Kowzan, G., McCracken, R. A. & Reid, D. T., 12 Jul 2018, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII. Evans, C. J., Simard, L. & Takami, H. (eds.). SPIE, 107029L. (Proceedings of SPIE; vol. 10702).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Open Access
High Resolution

Activities 2017 2017

  • 1 Membership of committee

Institute of Physics (External organisation)

Richard Alexander McCracken (Chair)
12 Oct 2017

Activity: MembershipMembership of committee