Gianluca Gregori research group

Department of physics, university of oxford
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what we do

Our understanding of the Universe relies on particle physics (small scale, high energy) and astronomy (large scale, low energy). Laboratory experiments that exploit a range of different energy scales can provide further opportunities.


Magnetic fields are seen in every parts of the Universe. But where do they come from? We study plasma processes that results in the formation of such fields.


To understand the dynamics of plasmas we rely on large-scale computational  models. We use radiation-hydrodynamics simulations, as well as ab-initio codes to model quantum effects.


The interior of planets and white dwarfs consists of matter at very high density. Which are its properties? Can we measure their viscosity and thermal conductivity?


Electrons at the focus of a high intensity laser can reach enormous accelerations. This mimics Hawking's radiation from a Black Hole horizon. Can we also produce light (pseduo)scalar particles, such as axions?


Cosmic rays arrive on Earth with very high energies. Interstellar shocks and turbulence is believed to produce them. Can we recreate equivalent conditions in the laboratory?


Experiments are performed on a variety of laser facilities, spanning from the largest laser in the world - the National Ignition Facility - to our laser system here in Oxford. We also work with the next generation light sources.

FUSion energy

Fusion is widely researched because it is a clean and efficient way of producing energy. Fossil fuels are set to be in short supply in the future and with the world’s energy needs increasing rapidly, an alternative method of producing energy on a large scale is needed. Understanding the properties of dense and magnetized plasmas is key to the success of inertial fusion energy. Thus laboratory and astrophysical plasmas share a common goal.
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inertial confinement fusion

One of the approaches to fusion attempts to compress a fuel pellet using laser beams, whereby the matter is accelerated towards the centre by the rocket effect, which mimics gravity. Thus, this bears similarities with the core-collapse of a star.

complex target physics

Inertial confinement fusion research uses hohlraum (that is, gold tubes) targets to convert laser energy into x-rays. This x-rays are then used to compress a tiny hydrogen-filled capsule placed at its centre.

Laser-plasma interaction

As a high-power laser is focused on a target, high energy electrons, protons and even positrons are produced. These contribute to the transport of energy from the laser into the matter.

warm dense matter

Lasers can deposit a large amount of energy in the matter. At pressures exceeding 1 Mbar, the energy density becomes comparable to that of an electron in the hydrogen atom. Quantum effects must be accounted for - a new state of matter is reached.

The team

Professor of Physics
Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall

Prof Gianluca Gregori (head of the group)

Prof Gregori research interests cover laboratory astro-particle physics with high power lasers, dense plasmas as found in interior of stars and planets, and inertial confinement fusion (ICF) energy. He started at Oxford University in October 2007 as as an RCUK Fellow in the Department of Atomic and Laser Physics. In 2012 he became Fellow and Tutor of Physics at Lady Margaret Hall, and in 2013 he was appointed Professor of Physics.

From 2001 to 2005 Prof Gregori worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA), in the Fast Ignitor Physics group within the ICF Program. He was a post-doctoral researcher from 2001 to 2003 and then appointed as staff scientist. From 2005-2012, Prof Gregori has been holding a senior experimental scientist position at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

He received a Ph.D. and a M.S. from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, USA) and a M.S. from the University of Bologna (Italy). In 2007, Prof Gregori's team was awarded a 2007 Daiwa Adrian Prize for its research into ‘High energy density science: new frontiers in plasma physics’. In 2014 Prof Gregori was awarded the Edouard Fabre International Scientific prize for contribution to the physics of inertial fusion and of laser-produced plasmas. Prof Gregori was recipient of the 2019 and 2020 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics by the American Physical Society, and the 2022 Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin Medal and Prize by the  Institute of Physics Physics.

Prof Gregori is fellow of the American Physical Society (USA) and Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK).

Graduate students

Katerina Falk (DPhil 2011)

James Mithen (DPhil  2012)

Thomas White (DPhil 2014)

Nicholas Hartley (DPhil 2015)

Joseph Cross (DPhil 2015)

Jena Meinecke (DPhil 2016)

Pawel Kozlowski (DPhil 2016)

Paul Mabey (DPhil 2017)

Matthew Oliver (DPhil 2018)

Alexandra Rigby (DPhil 2018)

Archie Bott (DPhil 2019)

Brett Larder (DPhil 2020)

Konstantin Beyer (DPhil 2021)

Oliver Karnbach (DPhil 2022)

Charles Arrowsmith

Thomas Campbell

Hannah Poole

Pontus Svensson

Sam Iaquinta

Thomas Marin

Georgios Vacalis

Sifei Zhang

Vasiliki Stergiou

Charlotte Stuart

Ahmed Alsulami

Ting Yu Chu


Dr Christopher Murphy (2010-2012)

Dr Hugo Doyle (2012-2013)

Dr Thomas White (2016-2017)

Dr Laura Chen (2016-2018)

Dr Charlotte Palmer (2018-2020)

Dr Jack Halliday (2023-)

Research Scientists

Dr Francesco Miniati (2018-2021)


Prof Subir Sarkar (University of Oxford)

Prof Alexander Schekochihin (University of Oxford)

Prof Justin Wark (University of Oxford)

Prof Sam Vinko (University of Oxford)

Prof Bob Bingham (University of Strathclyde)

Prof Petros Tzeferacos (University of Rochester)

Prof Dustin Froula (University of Rochester)

Prof Sean Regan (University of Rochester)

Prof Don Lamb (University of Chicago)

Dr Hye-Sook Park (LLNL)

where next

Los Alamos National Laboratory

University of Surrey

Imperial College London

University of Osaka

BAE Systems

JRF at Christ Church (Oxford)

University of West Virginia

LULI Ecole Polytechnique

University of Nevada, Reno

Coanda Research & Development

Princeton University

Machine Discovery Ltd (CTO)

Max Planck Inst. for Nucl. Phys. (MPIK)

McKinsey & Company













where next

University of York (Tenure track)

First Light Fusion (Head of exp. physics)

U. of Nevada Reno (Tenure track)

EMBL Barcelona (Staff scientist)

Queen's U. Belfast (Tenure track)



A few examples of what we are doing

Taking shots at the National Ignition Facility

The NIF laser is used to generate a turbulent, magnetised plasma. This mimic the same plasma conditions we find in cluster of galaxies and our goal is to understand how magnetic fields behaves in such systems.

Our laboratory on campus

Even if very small compared to NIF, our campus lasers (a 10 J, 10 ns Nd:YAG plus a 50 mJ, 50 fs Ti:Sapphire) are essential for training and preparation for work in the largest systems.

Christmas party

Not just work...having a Christmas dinner in London.

Taking shots at the Omega laser

Preparing to load the next target and gathering invaluable data.

Our 30,000th shot on the Omega laser

A great achievement!

At CERN on an experiment to make pair beams

HOW to make a supernova: a showcase of our work

laboratory astrophysics: interview with prof gregori

LEcture at the 2019 summer school in high energy density sCience (UCSD)



Did magnetism shape the universe? An epic experiment suggests it did.
Check out what they say about our work.

Read the full article