Steven Lidia

Senior Physicist and Adjunct Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Joined the laboratory in August 2016
  • Accelerator physics
  • Contact information

Education and training

  • PhD, Physics, University of California at Davis, 1999


Contemporary and planned accelerator facilities are pushing against several development frontiers. Facilities like the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), the European Spallation Source, FAIR@ GSI, IFMIF, SARAF, and others are currently expanding the limits of the intensity frontier of proton and heavy ion beams. These high-intensity hadron beams are intrinsically useful for nuclear science as they permit exploration of low cross section reactions with reasonable experimental data collection rates. These same beams, however, also present distinct hazards to machine operation from uncontrolled beam losses. Optimum scientific performance of these facilities requires us to predict and measure the behavior of intense beams.

The development of diagnostic techniques and advanced instrumentation allows the accelerator scientist to create and to tune beamlines that preserve beam quality measures while allowing for precise manipulation and measurement of the beam’s energy, intensity, trajectory, isotope content, and phase space density and correlations. We utilize sophisticated codes to model the dynamics of multi- component particle beams and their electromagnetic, thermal, and nuclear interactions with materials and devices. We design sensor devices and components that enable us to make specific measurements of beam parameters. These sensors are paired with electronic signal acquisition, analysis, and control systems to provide timely data that permit beam tuning and to monitor beam behavior and beamline performance. These systems are built and tested in the laboratory before commissioning with beam.

Like accelerator science in general, development of diagnostic and control techniques involve the understanding and utilization of diverse subject matter from multiple physics and engineering sub-disciplines.

How students can contribute as part of my research team

Current projects within the group are centered on measurements to understand the behavior of intense, multi-charge state ion beams; high sensitivity and high speed sensors and networks for beam loss monitoring; accurate beam profile monitoring and tomography; non-invasive beam profile measurement techniques; prediction and measurement of beam instabilities; and development of electronics, firmware, and software to interface with these sensors. Specific instrumentation developments will enable non-intercepting bunch length and profile measurements, monitors for ion beam contaminant species and diffuse beam halo, machine learning techniques for integrating loss monitor networks, and compact sources of soft x-rays for nuclear structure measurements.

Scientific publications