Gianluca Gregori Research Group

Department of Physics, University of Oxford


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.



Dense plasmas

Particle acceleration

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

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

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?

Numerical simulations

Beyond the standard model?

Laser facilities

In order to simulate the behavior of plasmas we rely on large-scale computational  models. We use radiation-hydrodynamics simulations, as well as ab-initio codes to model quantum effects.

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?

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 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.

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 center.

Laser-plasma interactions

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.


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).


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 2015)

Pawel Kowlozski (DPhil 2016)

Paul Mabey (DPhil 2016)

Matthew Oliver (DPhil 2018)

Alexandra Rigby (DPhil 2018)

Archie Bott

Brett Larder

Konstantin Beyer

Jacob Topps-Mugglestone


Los Alamos National Laboratory

University of Surrey

Imperial College

University of Osaka

BAE systems

JRF at Christ Church (Oxford)

University of West Virgina

LULI Ecole Polytechnique

University of Nevada, Reno

After graduation:


Post docs

Dr Christopher Murphy (2010-2012)

Dr Hugo Doyle (2012-2013)

Dr Thomas White (2016-2017)

Dr Laura Chen (2016-2018)

Dr Charlotte Palmer (2018-)

University of York (Tenure track)

First Light Fusion (Senior scientist)

University of Nevada, Reno (Tenure track)

European Molecular Biology Lab (Scientist)



Current position:



How to make a supernova: a showcase of our work
Laboratory astrophysics: interview with Prof Gregori




Clarendon Laboratory

Department of Physics

University of Oxford

Oxford, OX1 3PU

United Kingdom

We acknowledge support from funding agencies:

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High Energy Density

Laboratory Astroparticle Physics