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Dr. Allison Harris

Moulton Hall - MLT 312C
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


Dr. Harris has 3 main areas of research: Atomic Collisions, Ultrafast Physics, and Computational Neuroscience. Please see her website for more information.

Current Courses

388.001Advanced Computational Physics

102.007Atoms To Galaxies

102.008Atoms To Galaxies

102.013Atoms To Galaxies

102.014Atoms To Galaxies

Research Interests & Areas

Atomic collisions provide key insights into one of the most fundamental forces of nature – the Coulomb force. The study of atomic collisions is primarily used to understand the dynamics of charged particle interactions, but is vital to other areas of physics, such as plasma physics, astrophysics, and biophysics. Our research uses state-of-the-art high performance computing techniques to model various collision processes and provide guidance to our experimental colleagues. We are also studying how new matter wave forms, known as twisted electrons, interact with atoms and how these exciting and strange particles differ from their untwisted counterparts.

The goal of ultrafast physics is to understand electronic motion on its natural timescale. This is typically achieved by studying the interaction of atoms and molecules with short, high-intensity laser pulses. We use sculpted laser pulses to study processes such as above threshold ionization, tunneling ionization, and high-order harmonic generation. Sculpted pulses have unique properties that can be used to access physical properties of atoms and molecules that are otherwise inaccessible, such as their rotational properties. They can also be used to create atomic states useful in quantum computing applications. Our goals are to identify new techniques for the study of rotational properties of atoms and to find efficient methods of generating atomic states for use in quantum computers.

Migraine is a disease afflicting an estimated 1 billion people worldwide. For migraineurs, the effects can be debilitating and costly. While treatment options are improving, the underlying causes remain elusive. In collaboration with the Stein Lab at ISU, we use computational models to study neuronal interactions at the cellular level and examine the role of genetic mutations in triggering migraines. Our goal is to understand what happens at the onset of migraine and what initiates the process.

Ph D

Missouri University of Science and Technology


Drury University

Researcher to Know

Illinois Science and Technology Coalition

Shaw Teaching Fellowship

Illinois State University

Impact Award

Illinois State University

Outstanding College Researcher

Illinois State University

Outstanding College Teaching Award

Illinois State University

CAS Award for Outstanding Teaching

Illinois State University

Research Initiative Award

Illinois State University

Outstanding New Faculty Member

Henderson State University

Journal Article

Harris, A. Projectile coherence effects in twisted electron ionization of helium. Atoms 11 (2023): 79.
Harris, A. Single and Double Scattering Mechanisms in Ionization of Helium by Electron Vortex Projectiles. J. Phys. B 54 (2021): 155203.
Plumadore, A., & Harris, A. Electron Spectra for Twisted Electron Collisions. J Phys B 54 (2021): 235204.
Saxton, T., & Harris, A. Control of Arrival Time using Non-Gaussian Wave Packets. Phys. Lett. A 388 (2021): 127038.
Plumadore, A., & Harris, A. Projectile Transverse Momentum Controls Emission in Electron Vortex Ionization Collisions. Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics 53 (2020): 205205.


Attosecond Streaking Using Sculpted Laser Pulses. ISU Research Symposium. (2023)
Mechanisms of Initiation and Termination of Cortical Spreading Depression in Migraine Disorders. CAURS. (2023)
Mechanisms of Initiation of Cortical Spreading Depression in Migraine Disorders. ISU Research Symposium. (2023)

Grants & Contracts

RUI: Atomic Physics with a Twist. NSF. Federal. (2022)
RUI: Path Integrals and Charged Particle Dynamics. National Science Foundation. Federal. (2019)
Path Integral Approach to Ion-Impact Collisions. National Science Foundation. Federal. (2015)