Michael Litos - Assistant Professor

Mike Litos
Ph.D. 2010, Boston University
Gamow Tower - Room: F819
Phone: 303-492-6453


My primary research interest is in plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA), which lies at the intersection of plasma physics, laser physics, and particle beam physics. PWFA is an advanced method of particle acceleration that utilizes the strong electric fields in plasma waves to accelerate beams of electrons or positrons. It offers the promise to reduce the size of high-energy particle accelerators by two to three orders of magnitude, bringing otherwise inaccessible regimes of physics within reach of scientists at universities and national labs.

My research group utilizes a 10 TW laser system in our CU laboratory to perform research on laser-ionized plasma source development for PWFA. We are also collaborators in multiple PWFA experimental groups at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s FACET-II advanced accelerator research facility.  After commissioning of the new facility begins in late 2019, we will spend a significant amount of time at FACET-II carrying out PWFA experiments with the available high-energy electron and positron beams. Topics of particular interest to us include beam emittance preservation, ultra-high brightness beam generation, positron PWFA, high-energy and high-brightness radiation generation, ultra-strong beam focusing, and plasma and beam diagnostic development.


M. Litos, et al., “High-efficiency acceleration of an electron beam in a plasma wakefield accelerator”, Nature 515 92-95 (2014) [cover feature]

S. Corde, et al., “Multi-gigaelectronvolt acceleration of a positron Beam in a self-loaded plasma wakefield”, Nature 524 442-445 (2015)

S. Gessner, et al., “Demonstration of a positron beam-driven hollow channel plasma wakefield accelerator”, Nat. Commun. 7 11785 (2016)

S. Corde, et al., “High-field plasma acceleration in a high-ionization potential gas”, Nat. Commun. 7 11898 (2016)

C. Clayton, et al., “Self-mapping the longitudinal field structure of a nonlinear plasma accelerator cavity”, Nat. Commun. 7 12483 (2016)

A. Doche, et al., “Acceleration of a trailing positron bunch in a plasma wakefield accelerator”, Scientific Reports 7 14180 (2017)

M. Litos, et al., “9 GeV energy gain in a beam-driven plasma wakefield accelerator”, Plasma Phys. Contr. Fusion 58 034017 (2015)

N. Vafaei-Najafabadi, et al., “Beam loading by distributed injection of electrons in a plasma wakefield accelerator”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 112 025001 (2014)

N. Vafaei-Najafabadi, et al., “Evidence for high-energy and low-emittance electron beams using ionization injection of charge in a plasma wakefield accelerator”, Plasma Phys. Contr. Fusion 58 034009 (2015)

E. Adli, et al., “Long-range attraction of an ultrarelativistic electron beam by a column of neutral plasma”, New J. Phys. 18 103013 (2016)

C. Joshi, et al. “Plasma wakefield acceleration experiments at FACET-II”, Plasma Phys. Contr. Fusion 60 034001 (2018)