Katherine Harkay received her Ph.D. in Accelerator Physics from Purdue University in 1993. She joined the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory that same year and served as group leader for Accelerator Physics from 2003-2008.
Since 1999, she has played a lead role in analyzing the electron cloud distribution in high-energy particle accelerators. She has championed the use of electron detectors known as retarding field analyzers (RFAs), developed and pioneered by Richard Rosenberg. RFAs have now become a standard electron cloud diagnostic in high-energy storage rings.
In addition to her work in studying electron cloud induced multipacting, she is working on novel schemes for producing ultrabright electron sources and ultrashort X-ray pulses in future synchrotron light sources.
She has served on the American Physical Society Division of the Physics of Beams Executive Board, the Physical Review Special Topics Editorial Board, and on various accelerator technical advisory committees.