Find out who were the former students and graduates of GoLP and where they are now. Alumni

Principal Investigators

Luis O. Silva  

Luís O. Silva is Professor of Physics at Técnico Lisboa (IST). He obtained his degrees (Lic. 1992, PhD 1997 and Habilitation 2005) from IST. He was a post-doc at UCLA from 1997 to 2001. His scientific contributions are focused in the interaction of intense beams of particles and lasers with plasmas, from a fundamental point of view and towards their applications for secondary sources for biology and medicine. He has authored more than 160 papers and 3 patents, was awarded two Advanced Grants from the ERC (2010 and 2015), served on the program/selection committees of conferences and prizes worldwide, and on the scientific committee of several EU infrastructures. He has supervised 7 PhD students and 7 post-doctoral fellows whose work was recognized with several prizes. Luís O. Silva was awarded the 2011 Science Prize of TU Lisbon, the IBM Scientific Prize 2003, the 2001 Abdus Salam ICTP Medal for Excellence in Nonlinear Plasma Physics by a Young Researcher, and the Gulbenkian Prize for Young Researchers 1994. He was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and to the Global Young Academy in 2009, and Fellow of the European Physical Society in 2017.

Research Interests: Check my personal webpage here

Latest Publications:
  • Acceleration of collimated 45 MeV protons by collisionless shocks driven in low-density, large-scale gradient plasmas by a 10^20 W/cm^2, 1 µm laser, Scientific Reports 7 (2017) p. 16463
  • Collimated protons accelerated from an overdense gas jet irradiated by a 1 µm wavelength high-intensity short-pulse laser, Scientific Reports 7 (2017) p. 13505
  • Ponderomotive beatwave ion acceleration using twisted light, Physics of Plasmas 24 (2017) p. 103131

Ricardo Fonseca

Ricardo Fonseca was born in Lisbon, Portugal on September 11th, 1973. He received his degree in Physics Engineering from the Instituto Superior Técnico in 1996 and joined the Laser and Plasma Group at this institute. In 2000 he spent one year at the University of California Los Angeles working on the numerical modelling of high intensity laser plasma interactions. He obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from the Technical University of Lisbon in 2002, on the subject of Laser-Plasma Electron Accelerators. He is a researcher for the Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear and in 2003 he took up a teaching position at ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute, where he is currently a teniored Full Professor. He has over 100 publications in leading scientific journals. He was awarded the Oscar Buneman award in 2000. He is currently the Dean of Technology and Architecture at ISCTE-IUL.
Latest Publications:
  • Horizon 2020 EuPRAXIA design study, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 874 (2017) p. 012029
  • Robustness of raman plasma amplifiers and their potential for attosecond pulse generation, High Energy Density Physics 23 (2017) p. 212
  • Mitigation of the Hose Instability in Plasma-Wakefield Accelerators, Physical Review Letters 118 (2017) p. 174801

Jorge Vieira  

Jorge Vieira is an invited assistant professor and FCT researcher (development level) at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in Lisbon. He received his Licenciatura in Physics Engineering from IST. He was a visiting scholar at University of California and Los Angeles in 2006 and 2008 and received the PhD in Physics in 2010 from IST. Jorge Vieira was a post-doctoral fellow at IST from 2010-2012 and held a Humboldt Fellowship at Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich during 2012-2013. He has authored more than 50 papers and 1 patent. Jorge Vieira received Best Poster Prizes at the European Physical Society meeting and at the Physics Summer School in St. Andrews in 2005, and the Technical University of Lisbon/DelloiteYoung Researcher Prize in the category of Physics in 2011.

Research Interests: At the intersection of photonics and plasma science, my research employs advanced computing and theoretical modeling to exploit the properties of structured, intense light to attain the ultimate physical limits of plasma accelerators and associated light sources, envisioning beam phase spaces tailored for specific applications. Whenever possible, I collaborate with leading theoreticians and experimentalists with whom I seek to participate and elaborate experimental proposals to test novel ideas.

Latest Publications:
  • Ponderomotive beatwave ion acceleration using twisted light, Physics of Plasmas 24 (2017) p. 103131
  • Stable multi-GeV electron accelerator driven by waveform-controlled PW laser pulses, Scientific Reports 7 (2017) p. 10203
  • Horizon 2020 EuPRAXIA design study, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 874 (2017) p. 012029

Thomas Grismayer

Thomas Grismayer received a Master's Degree in Plasma Physics in 2003 at University Paris VI (France) with a specialization in Laser-Plasma interaction. Thomas Grismayer completed a PhD degree in Plasma Physics at the Centre de Physique Théorique of Ecole Polytechnique in 2007 under the supervision of Prof. Patrick Mora. Right after in 2008, Thomas Grismayer moved to the United States to work as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Warren Mori, in the Plasma Simulation Group at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2011, Thomas Grismayer received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) and started to work in the Group for Lasers and Plasmas (GoLP) at Instituto Superior Técnico. In 2013 he was awarded a Starting Grant from FCT (Researcher) and he is currently continuing his research at GoLP.

Research Interests: Ion acceleration in plasma expansion, particle acceleration in dense target irradiated by intense laser, parametric instabilities related to inertial fusion, nonlinear and multiple dimensional effects associated to electron plasma waves, magnetic field generation in shear instabilities and QED effects in plasma in extreme high fields.

Latest Publications:
  • Seeded QED cascades in counterpropagating laser pulses, Physical Review E 95 (2017) p. 023210
  • Electron–positron cascades in multiple-laser optical traps, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 59 (2017) p. 014040
  • Quantum radiation reaction in head-on laser-electron beam interaction, New Journal of Physics 18 (2016) p. 073035

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Kevin Schoeffler  

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN) at Instituto Superior Técnico, where I now work with Luis Silva. From 2012 to July 2014 I worked under Nuno Loureiro, who I now continue to work with as well. I completed my Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Maryland in 2012, where I worked with James Drake. I also completed an undergraduate degree in physics, and one in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland in 2005.

Research Interests: I am generally interested in fluid dynamics in nature, and in particular plasma physics. I have a particular interest in magnetic reconnection, and its applications in understanding many systems in space physics. I work on computer modeling of plasmas using parallel processing on supercomputers including Supermuc and Juqueen.

Latest Publications:
  • Magnetic turbulence in a table-top laser-plasma relevant to astrophysical scenarios, Nature Communications 8 (2017) p. 15970
  • The generation of magnetic fields by the Biermann battery and the interplay with the Weibel instability, Physics of Plasmas 23 (2016) p. 056304
  • Magnetic-Field Generation and Amplification in an Expanding Plasma, Physical Review Letters 112 (2014) p. 175001-1

Marija Vranic

Marija Vranic is currently a Post-Doctoral researcher at IST. She had her PhD from IST under supervision of Luis O. Silva. After the PhD, she spent some time in ELI Beamlines, working on laser-matter interactions at extreme intensities. She obtained her MSc degree in physics at the University of Belgrade, under supervision of Prof. Zoran Lj. Petrovic. During the undergraduate studies, she has done an internship in the area of laser-matter interaction at Queen's University of Belfast, with Prof. Marco Borghesi.   "My interest for physics was triggered at Petnica Science Center (, a unique out-of-school learning facility where the students have an opportunity to do an independent scientific project, write a paper and even have their own interdisciplinary annual conference where they present their work. Here, one could hear about many "hot" topics of today's science, because most of the Serbian successful scientists around the world are Petnica alumni, and they are always happy to come back to talk about the science they are doing today. "   Extra curricular activities: tennis and dancing.

Research Interests: radiation reaction, wakefield acceleration, classical-QED transitions in plasma

Latest Publications:
  • QED cascade with 10 PW-class lasers, Scientific Reports 7 (2017) p. 15302
  • Collimated protons accelerated from an overdense gas jet irradiated by a 1 µm wavelength high-intensity short-pulse laser, Scientific Reports 7 (2017) p. 13505
  • Table-top laser-based proton acceleration in nanostructured targets, New Journal of Physics 19 (2017) p. 033004

Thales Silva

Thales Silva is currently a Post-Doc at IST working on the subject of laser wakefield acceleration. He received his MSc and PhD in theoretical physics at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Brazil. In his time at UFRGS, he worked with wave-particle interaction in magnetized plasmas, statistical mechanics of systems with long-range interactions, in particular, mismatched intense particle beams, and the envelope beam dynamics for intense bunched beams in LINACs.
Latest Publications:
  • Horizon 2020 EuPRAXIA design study, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 874 (2017) p. 012029
  • Nonlinear stability in the transport of intense bunched beams, Physics of Plasmas 23 (2016) p. 113102
  • Halo formation and emittance growth in the transport of spherically symmetric mismatched bunched beams, Physics of Plasmas 22 (2015) p. 023102

Wenlong Zhang

Wenlong Zhang (张文龙) is currently a post-doc at the Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN) at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), with Prof. Luis Silva. In June 2012, he completed his bachelor degree in physics in Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China. After that, in July 2017, he received his Ph. D degree in plasma physics from Peking University, Beijing, China. His Ph. D research focused on laser ion acceleration under the supervision of Prof. Bin Qiao. Now in the post-doc phase, he will focus on the laser absorption in the pair plasmas, particularly in the extreme fields where QED effects play an important role. Wenlong is the recipient of the First Prize Scholarship (2010, Lanzhou University) and the National Scholarship (2016, Peking University).

Research Interests: Theoretical and numerical study in laser ion acceleration, including the collisionless electrostatic shock acceleration and magnetic vortex acceleration in near-critical plasmas; laser interaction with the pair plasmas in the presence of extreme fields where QED effects play an important role.

Latest Publications:
  • Monoenergetic ion beam acceleration from transversely confined near-critical plasmas by intense laser pulses, Physics of Plasmas 24 (2017) p. 093108
  • Generation of quasi-monoenergetic heavy ion beams via staged shock wave acceleration driven by intense laser pulses in near-critical plasmas, New Journal of Physics 18 (2016) p. 093029
  • Quasi-monoenergetic ion beam acceleration by laser-driven shock and solitary waves in near-critical plasmas, Physics of Plasmas 23 (2016) p. 073118

Graduate Students

Nitin Shukla

Nitin Shukla received his Master in Physics engineering at Institute Superior Técnico in Lisbon under the supervision of Dr. Anne Stockem and Prof. Luis O. Silva. Currently, Nitin Shukla is pursuing his doctoral degree in the field of beam - plasma interaction at the Group of Lasers and Plasmas at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, Portugal.

Research Interests: Wave and plasma instabilities: Fireball beams interacting with plasmas, Multidimensional effect of the spherical fireball expansion into vaccum/background plasma, Fireballs from solid targets and role of solid target ion dynamics.

Latest Publications:
  • Generation of neutral and high-density electron–positron pair plasmas in the laboratory, Nature Communications 6 (2015) p. 6747
  • Enhancement in the electromagnetic beam-plasma instability due to ion streaming, Journal of Plasma Physics 78 (2011) p. 181-187

Fábio Cruz

Fábio Cruz was born in 1992 in Lisbon, Portugal. He obtained his MSc. degree in Physics Engineering in 2015 from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), under the supervision of Paulo Alves and Prof. Luís O. Silva. In his thesis, he developed large-scale PIC simulations of magnetized plasma flows interacting with small-scale, magnetic obstacles under astrophysical and laboratory conditions. The role of the kinetic-scale physics investigated in his work are important, for instance, in the design of future experiments.
As an undergraduate student, he was a member of Pulsar, a portuguese science communication magazine nationally distributed. He has also organized several science/physics fairs at IST, visited annually by more than a thousand high school students. In his free time, Fábio enjoys playing sports (mainly football, squash) and exploring his creativity in graphic and web design.

Research Interests: Kinetic-scale plasma instabilities, miniature bow shocks, laboratory astrophysics, scientific visualization.

Latest Publications:
  • Formation of collisionless shocks in magnetized plasma interaction with kinetic-scale obstacles, Physics of Plasmas 24 (2017) p. 022901
  • 3D PIC Simulations of Collisionless Shocks at Lunar Magnetic Anomalies and Their Role in Forming Lunar Swirls, The Astrophysical Journal 830 (2016) p. 146

Fabrizio Del Gaudio

Fabrizio Del Gaudio was born in Turin in 1990. He is a master student in Energy and Nuclear Engineering at Politecnico di Torino. He joined GoLP, at Istituto Superior Técnico, in February 2015 for his master thesis project work on “Numerical simulations of disruption effects from the interaction of electron-positron beams”. His supervisors are Prof. Luís O. Silva and Prof. Thomas Grismayer.

Anton Helm

Anton Helm was born in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 1987 and later on he migrated to Germany in 1996. He received his Diploma degree (equivalent to MSc) in Physics by the Technische Universität Dresden in the year 2014. His strong interest in physics started in high school, which was acknowledged with a special award Anerkennungspreis für Besondere Lernleistung. Alongside his studies at the university, he was working at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) on the theoretical modeling of laser particle acceleration, including an external research internship at Centre Lasers Intenses et Applications (C.E.L.I.A) in Bordeaux, France. His thesis topic was on laser-plasma interaction, especially the influence of spatial-temporal changes in laser pulses on laser-driven ion acceleration. At the current stage, he is pursuing a doctoral degree focused on three-dimensional modeling towards the tera-electronvolt under the supervision of Prof. Ricardo Fonseca and Dr. Jroge Vieira.

Research Interests: parallel computing, efficient numerical modeling of particle-in-cell codes, laser-plasma interactions, numerical modeling of plasma-based accelerators, particle acceleration in collisionless shocks, numerical modeling of astrophysical scenarios

Giannandrea Inchingolo

Giannandrea Inchingolo was born in 1990 in Andria, Italy. He graduated in Plasma Physics at the University of Pisa, Italy, in collaboration with the University “La Sapienza” of Rome. His master thesis is focused on the propagation of shock fronts throughout ICF targets, analyzing different transport models both theoretically and numerically, using the hydrodynamic code DUED. Currently he is pursuing his doctoral degree in the field of generation and amplification of magnetic fields in astrophysical scenarios, at the Group of Lasers and Plasmas under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Grismayer and Pr. Luis O. Silva.

Research Interests: Magnetic field generation via plasma micro instabilities: Weibel instability, Firehose instability, shear instability; Magnetic field generation via Biermann battery; Magnetic field amplification via kinetic turbulent dynamo.

MSc. Students

Bernardo Malaca

Miguel Pardal

Born 1995 near Lisbon, Started an internship in the summer of 2017. Currently working in that same internship and starting the thesis project under the supervision of Jorge Vieira.

Rui Torres

Rui Torres was born in 1994 in Lisbon, Portugal. He started as an intership at the Group of Lasers and Plasmas (GoLP) in March 2016 and is now completing his Master degree in Physics Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST). He is working under supervision of Thomas Grismayer and Pedro Carneiro.

Mariana Moreira

Mariana is a student of the Master's programme in Physics Engineering at IST, after obtaining a Bachelor's degree in the same subject at the Technical University of Berlin. She was born in 1993 in Lisbon and is now preparing her master thesis at GoLP with the supervision of Jorge Vieira. She is interested in plasma wakefield acceleration and in the AWAKE experiment at CERN in particular.

Rui Calado

Rui Calado was born in 1994 in Lisbon, Portugal. He is currently enrolled in the Master's programme in Physics Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST). He is working on his master thesis at GoLP.

Lucas Sá

Lucas Sá is an Integrated Masters Student in Physics Engineering at IST. In 2016 he started an undergraduate internship at GoLP, under the supervision of Jorge Vieira, working on the interaction of multiple ultra-intense lasers in plasmas. This internship will help him decide where to do his Master's thesis.

Diogo Cruz

Diogo Cruz is currently doing his Master's degree in Physics Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST). This year he participated in a summer internship at GoLP, under the supervision of Fábio Cruz and Luís O. Silva, studying the motion and spectrum of emitted radiation of a charged particle under several magnetic fields, in particular the one of a magnetic dipole. He is currently continuing this analysis for the magnetosphere of pulsars.

High Performance Computing Support

Paulo Abreu

Born in Lisbon in 1968. PhD in Physical Engineering at the Technical University of Lisbon in 2010. Working currently at JET, Culham Center for Fusion Energy, UK.

Research Interests: Plasma Physics, Numerical Simulation, Large-Scale Visualization, CUDA, OpenCL, Scientific Computing, Parallel Computing

Paulo Ratinho

Paulo Ratinho maintains and administers all computer systems at GoLP and provides support for the entire team on subjects from operating systems to parallel programming. Prior joining the Group of Lasers and Plasmas in 2010, he worked in the computer and telecommunications industries, developing software, building, integrating and administering systems, and setting up remote networks for data and voice over satellite and land links. His favorite sports are snowboarding, scuba and sailing.