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 200 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/advisory 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, Fellow of the European Physical Society in 2017, and Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences, and Corresponding Member of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences in 2019.

Research Interests: Check my personal webpage here

Latest Publications:
  • Kinetic Model of Large-amplitude Oscillations in Neutron Star Pair Cascades, The Astrophysical Journal 908 (2021) p. 149
  • Magnetized current filaments as a source of circularly polarized light, Journal of Plasma Physics 87 (2021) p. 905870114
  • Collisionless shock acceleration in the corona of an inertial confinement fusion pellet with possible application to ion fast ignition, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 379 (2021) p. 20200039

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:
  • Magnetized current filaments as a source of circularly polarized light, Journal of Plasma Physics 87 (2021) p. 905870114
  • High-order harmonic generation in an electron-positron-ion plasma, Physical Review E 103 (2021) p. 013206
  • Plasma Wakes Driven by Photon Bursts via Compton Scattering, Physical Review Letters 125 (2020) p. 265001

Jorge Vieira  

Jorge Vieira is an assistant professor 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, held a Humboldt Fellowship at Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich during 2012-2013 and was am FCT researcher (development level) during 2016-2019. He has authored more than 80 papers and 1 patent. Jorge Vieira received the Technical University of Lisbon/DelloiteYoung Researcher Prize in the category of Physics in 2011 and received an excellent teacher award at IST in 2017.

Research Interests: My research employs advanced computing and theory to exploit the properties of intense lasers and particle beams towards compact plasma-based accelerators and light sources. The focus of my recent work is on structured light, on how it interacts with plasma at ultra-high intensity, and on superradiant emission mechanisms in plasma. I am involved in the AWAKE experiment at CERN, and, whenever possible, I collaborate with both theoreticians and experimentalists with whom I seek to participate and elaborate experimental proposals to test novel ideas.

Latest Publications:
  • Magnetized current filaments as a source of circularly polarized light, Journal of Plasma Physics 87 (2021) p. 905870114
  • Proton Bunch Self-Modulation in Plasma with Density Gradient, Physical Review Letters 125 (2020) p. 264801
  • Dissipation of electron-beam-driven plasma wakes, Nature Communications 11 (2020) p. 4753

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 dense target irradiated by intense laser (plasma expansion models) - Parametric instabilities related to inertial fusion (nonlinear and multiple dimensional effects associated with electron plasma waves) - Shear instabilities (magnetic field generation, particle acceleration) - QED effects in plasma in extreme high fields laser setup (pair cascades, gamma-ray emission) and in astrophysics (magnetic reconnection, neutron stars modeling)

Latest Publications:
  • 2020 roadmap on plasma accelerators, New Journal of Physics 23 (2021) p. 031101
  • Kinetic Model of Large-amplitude Oscillations in Neutron Star Pair Cascades, The Astrophysical Journal 908 (2021) p. 149
  • High-order harmonic generation in an electron-positron-ion plasma, Physical Review E 103 (2021) p. 013206

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Kevin Schoeffler  

Kevin Schoeffler is currently researcher in the group of laser plasmas (GoLP), part of Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN), at Instituto Superior Técnico, where he works with Luis Silva. From 2012 to July 2014 he worked under Nuno Loureiro as a postdoctoral researcher. Kevin completed his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Maryland in 2012, where he worked with James Drake. He also completed an undergraduate degree in physics, and one in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland in 2005.

Research Interests: Fluid dynamics, plasma physics where kinetic effects can play a role; Magnetic field generation and magnetic reconnection and their applications in understanding many systems in space and astrophysics, as well as in laser experimental setups; Recent focus on reconnection in extreme environments with strong magnetic fields, leading to both strongly radiative regimes as well as e-e+ pair production; Computer modeling of plasmas using parallel processing on supercomputers including Marenostrum, Supermuc, and Juqueen

Latest Publications:
  • Magnetized current filaments as a source of circularly polarized light, Journal of Plasma Physics 87 (2021) p. 905870114
  • High-order harmonic generation in an electron-positron-ion plasma, Physical Review E 103 (2021) p. 013206
  • Effects of collisions on the generation and suppression of temperature anisotropies and the Weibel instability, Physical Review Research 2 (2020) p. 033233

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 (http://www.petnica.rs/), 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:
  • Collisionless shock acceleration in the corona of an inertial confinement fusion pellet with possible application to ion fast ignition, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 379 (2021) p. 20200039
  • Scaling laws for direct laser acceleration in a radiation-reaction dominated regime, New Journal of Physics 22 (2020) p. 083058
  • Are we ready to transfer optical light to gamma-rays?, Physics of Plasmas 26 (2019) p. 053103

Thales Silva

Thales Silva is currently a Post-Doc at IST working on the subject of plasma-based accelerators. He received his MSc and Ph.D. in theoretical physics at the 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.

Research Interests: Density down-ramp injection in LWFA; ion motion, plasma heating, and long-time evolution in plasma accelerators; laser-plasma interaction.

Latest Publications:
  • Dissipation of electron-beam-driven plasma wakes, Nature Communications 11 (2020) p. 4753
  • Summary of WG6: Theory and simulations, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 1596 (2020) p. 012051
  • Anisotropic heating and magnetic field generation due to Raman scattering in laser-plasma interactions, Physical Review Research 2 (2020) p. 023080

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:
  • High-order harmonic generation in an electron-positron-ion plasma, Physical Review E 103 (2021) p. 013206
  • 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

Bertrand Martinez

From 2015 to 2018, Bertrand Martinez was a PhD student at the CEA institute (France) under the supervision of L. Gremillet. His main research topic was the numerical simulation of relativistic laser-plasma interaction, with a particular emphasize on high-energy photon and positron generation. In 2019, he took part in a six-month project at the École Polytechnique in the LULI laboratory. While he worked with Pr. J. Fuchs, his goal was to simulate the generation of secondary neutron sources based on a primary source of laser-accelerated protons. As of now, Bertrand joined the Group of Laser Plasmas and will be supervised by Pr. L. Silva.

Research Interests: Relativistic laser-plasma interaction, radiative and quantum electrodynamics processes, ion acceleration, neutron sources, particle-in-cell codes, high-performance computing, beam-plasma instabilities, fireball model, Gamma Ray Bursts

Latest Publications:
  • Synchrotron radiation from ultrahigh-intensity laser-plasma interactions and competition with Bremsstrahlung in thin foil targets, Physical Review Research 2 (2020) p. 043341
  • High-energy radiation and pair production by Coulomb processes in particle-in-cell simulations, Physics of Plasmas 26 (2019) p. 103109
  • Synchrotron emission from nanowire array targets irradiated by ultraintense laser pulses, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 60 (2018) p. 074009

Graduate Students

Fábio Cruz

Fábio 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 Dr. Paulo Alves (now at SLAC, USA) and Prof. Luís O. Silva. In is MSc., he studied how magnetized plasma flows interact with small-scale obstacles under astrophysical and laboratory conditions. He is currently a graduate student at IST within the APPLAuSE program. His work focuses on understanding how small and large scale plasma phenomena are connected in pulsar magnetospheres, one of the most exotic environments in the Universe. In 2018 he was a visiting student at the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, where he worked with Prof. Anatoly Spitkovsky. When not at work, Fábio likes to spend time with family and friends and working out.

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

Latest Publications:
  • Kinetic Model of Large-amplitude Oscillations in Neutron Star Pair Cascades, The Astrophysical Journal 908 (2021) p. 149
  • Filling the Magnetospheres of Weak Pulsars, The Astrophysical Journal 889 (2020) p. 69
  • Electron acceleration by wave turbulence in a magnetized plasma, Nature Physics 14 (2018) p. 475

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

Latest Publications:
  • Proton Bunch Self-Modulation in Plasma with Density Gradient, Physical Review Letters 125 (2020) p. 264801
  • On the use of the envelope model for down-ramp injection in laser-plasma accelerators, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 62 (2019) p. 024001
  • Proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration in AWAKE, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 377 (2019) p. 20180418

Rui Torres

Rui Torres was born in 1994 in Lisbon, Portugal. He started as an intern at the theory and simulation team of Group of Lasers and Plasmas (GoLP)/IPFN to investigate the role of 6-photon scattering processes in the polarization of vacuum. He obtained his MSc degree in Engineering Physics at Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa (IST/UL). The topic of his MSc thesis was realistic modelling of vacuum polarization induced light scattering scenarios in extreme intense fields under the supervision of Professor Luís O. Silva and Dr. Thomas Grismayer. Thereupon, he was awarded a grant to further study the effects of an imperfect vacuum or imperfect electromagnetic pulses in the characterization of the QED signatures induced. Currently, his PhD work intends to explore magnetospheric plasma dynamics in the vicinity of rotating compact objects with general relativistic considerations.

Research Interests: Extremely High-Intensity Laser Physics, Vacuum polarization, QED processes below the critical Schwinger regime, High Harmonic generation from light scattering scenarios in extreme intense fields, general relativity, astrophysical plasmas, pulsar and black hole magnetospheres.

Mariana Moreira

Mariana is pursuing a PhD in Engineering Physics in the field of plasma wakefield acceleration, under the supervision of Jorge Vieira (GoLP), Bernhard Holzer (CERN) and Patric Muggli (CERN). She was born in Lisbon in 1993. Mariana has been collaborating with the AWAKE experiment at CERN, a proof-of-principle experiment for proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration, since her MSc thesis. Her current doctoral work focuses on the physics behind two pivotal instabilities for AWAKE: the hosing and self-modulation instabilities. Before that, Mariana obtained a BSc degree in Engineering Physics from the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB), having simultaneously acquired some experience as a lab assistant and teaching assistant at TUB, and as an undergraduate student at CERN.

Research Interests: plasma wakefield acceleration, hosing instability, self-modulation instability

Latest Publications:
  • Proton Bunch Self-Modulation in Plasma with Density Gradient, Physical Review Letters 125 (2020) p. 264801
  • Proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration in AWAKE, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 377 (2019) p. 20180418
  • Experimental observation of plasma wakefield growth driven by the seeded self-modulation of a proton bunch, Physical Review Letters 122 (2019) p. 054801

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.

Bernardo Malaca

Bernardo was born in 1995 in Alcanena, Portugal. He is pursuing a PhD in Engineering Physics in the field of spatiotemporally correlated light and its interaction with particle beams, under the supervision of Jorge Vieira and Ricardo Fonseca (GoLP). Before that he obtained the MSc degree at IST. The thesis focused on using genetic algorithms for optimising laser-particle interactions.

Research Interests: Laser Plasma Wakefield Acceleration, spatiotemporal correlated light pulses, particle-in-cell codes.

Camilla Willim

Camilla received her master’s degree in physics in 2018 at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf (HHU), Germany. Her master’s project was directly related to laser–plasma physics and under the supervision of PD Dr. Götz Lehmann. She investigated two-dimensional plasma photonic crystals — plasma structures with unique optical properties. Camilla is currently a graduate student at IST. She is pursuing her PhD in the Group for Lasers and Plasmas (GoLP) under the supervision of Prof. Jorge Vieira and Prof. Luís O. Silva. Camilla’s work focusses on non-linear optics of plasmas in the critical density limit at high intensities driven by structured light.

Chiara Badiali

Chiara was born in 1995 in Rome. She got her bachelor's and master's degree from Sapienza, University of Rome. During these years she focused particularly on Theoretical Particle Physics, covering also the basics of General Relativity and Plasma Physics. She graduated with a thesis in collaboration with the ATLAS experiment at CERN, entitled "Truth Flavor Tagging Algorithm based on Recursive Neural Network Techniques for the ALTAS Experiment" under the supervision of prof. Marumi Kado. The dissertation was focused on data analysis and b-tagging using Machine Learning Techniques to optimize the latter. She's currently involved in a Ph.D. at Instituto Superior Técnico in the Group for Lasers and Plasmas (GoLP) under the supervision of Prof. Jorge Vieira.

Pablo Bilbao

Pablo received his master's in Physics in 2020 from Lancaster University in the UK. His work, supervised by Dr. Elisabetta Boella, was focused on proton acceleration via laser-plasma interaction. The main focus of his research was on understanding how different parameters affect Target Normal Sheath Acceleration and how to optimise them to achieve better proton beams. Pablo is currently pursuing a PhD within the Group for Lasers and Plasmas (GoLP) under the supervision of Prof. Luís O. Silva. He is studying the interaction between high energy radition and plasmas. Such setups can lead to novel acceleration and other interesting extreme plasma phenomena.

Research Interests: Laser-plasma interactions, Ion acceleration in dense target irradiated by intense laser, electron acceleration, astrophysical plasmas, particle-in-cell codes, high-performance computing

MSc. Students

Óscar Amaro

Óscar Amaro was born in Faro in 1998. He is currently developing his Master's thesis under the supervision of Dr. Marija Vranic on QED-Plasma Physics and Quantum Algorithms at Instituto Superior Técnico. This work addresses issues such as optimal positron production in laser-electron scattering in current and near-future Petawatt facilities and the possibility of using quantum computers to solve plasma physics problems. Other interests include Machine Learning and running.

Vladlen Galetsky

Vladlen Galetsky was born in 1998, in Ukraine. He is currently finishing his 3rd year of studies in his Master's programme in Physics Engineering at IST. At the same time, he is working under the supervision of Prof. Jorge Vieira in order to broaden his view on the topic of the Awake experiment. During his free time, he googles weird physics topics on the wiki.

Ana Ramalhete

Ana was born in Lisbon and she's currently studying at Instituto Superior Técnico where she's taking a Master's in Physics Engineering and working under the supervision of Prof. Jorge Vieira and Mariana Moreira. She is interested in various fields of physics, especially plasma and laser physics. She also enjoys programming and in her master's she decided to take some introductory classes on Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

Bernardo Barbosa

Born and studying in Lisbon, Bernardo Barbosa is currently doing his first year of Master's in Engineering Physics at Instituto Superior Técnico. At the moment, he is working on a project under the supervision of Marija Vranic in order to deepen his knowledge on the area of plasma physics and also to better understand the world of research in physics. Apart from physics, he also enjoys listening to music, and, if time allows, playing some videogames.

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