Principal Investigator

Farhat Beg is the HEDP Group's Pricipal Investigator, a Director at the Center for Energy Research, and a Professor in UCSD's Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department.

Farhat received his Ph.D. degree in plasma physics from Imperial College, London. He was a Research Associate then a Research Fellow with Imperial College London. In 2003, he joined the faculty at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego, where he is currently the Vice Chair and a Professor of engineering physics. He has published 170 articles in high quality journals—including Nature, Nature Physics, and Physical Review Letters—and has been cited more than 4700 times in peer refereed journals. Dr. Beg has been fellow of the American Physical Society since 2009 and the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) since 2011. He received the Department of Energy Early Career Award in 2005 and IEEE Early Achievement Award in 2008.

Professor Beg is an expert in Z-pinch discharges and the interaction of very high power laser pulses with matter, and has been active in developing pulsed x-ray and neutron sources. In recent experiments, Beg pioneered the use of compact X-pinch as an x-ray backlighter source for Z-pinch experiments. Beg's work based on table-top plasma focus neutron source has generated considerable interest and has been cited in the American Institute of Physics news, in Nature and in Physics Today.

Research Interests:   inertial confinement fusion, high energy density physics, short pulse high intensity laser matter interactions, pulsed power Z-pinches, X-pinches, plasma focus, x-ray and neutron sources

Undergraduate Courses & Research

Professor Beg has taught several undergraduate courses over last several years. These courses include MAE 170, MAE 171A, and MAE 171B. He has also taught Freshman’s seminar MAE87 – Energy from fusion.

Undergraduate students perform research on various aspects of High Energy Density Physics. Professor Beg's undergraduate students have won best poster prizes at the Engineering Undergraduate Research conference and assembly, organized by the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Graduate Courses

Dr. Beg introduced a new course on High Energy Density Physics (MAE 207) at UCSD. This course was taught first time in Winter 2005. He also taught MAE 227B – Modern Topics in Plasma Physics. Both courses discuss various aspects of High Energy Density Physics and pertinent applications.

Email:      fbeg@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-822-1266
Office:    SERF 241

UCSD MAE Profile Page
CER Profile Page


Assistant Project Scientist

Research Interests:  ion/electron beam focusing and transport in plasma, laser-driven pair production and high-energy photons, laboratory astrophysics

Email:      jok035@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-534-4971


Assistant Project Scientist

Chris studies the interactions of ultraintense laser pulses with matter. Such interactions involve High Energy Density plasma physics, nuclear physics, and nonlinear optics. Of particular interest are experiments relevant to proton Fast Ignition Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), in which a laser-produced proton beam rapidly heats compressed fusion fuel. His projects include experiments and simulations to study how intense laser-produced proton beams transport through matter as well as development of experimental methods to characterize the matter in the path of the beams.

Research Interests:   x-ray spectroscopy, proton fast ignition, inertial confinement fusion, transport in plasmas, laser wakefield acceleration

Email:      cmcguffey@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-534-0754

Assistant Project Scientist

Research Interests:  Nuclear fusion, high energy density physics, Z-pinches, laboratory astrophysics, pulsed power, plasma diagnostics

Email:      jcval@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-534-2616


Postdoctoral Scholar

Mathieu studies acceleration and transport of electrons/ions in different media, from a vacuum boundary to compressed magnetized plasmas, through both experiments and simulations. This work encompasses several aspects of laser-matter interaction and plasma physics, with a particular interest in the role of magnetic fields to guide, confine or collimate the charge particles. He is contributing in several projects such as heavy-ion acceleration from ultra-thin nanostructured foils, strong shock propagation in a low-density system, proton-heating and thermal conductivity measurements or relativistic electron transport in shocked and/or magnetized plasmas.

Research Interests:   Magnetized high-energy-density plasmas, charged particles acceleration and transport, magnetic field generation, inertial confinement fusion, fast ignition, laboratory astrophysics.

Email:      mbaillygrandvaux@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-534-2616


Postdoctoral Scholar

Research Interests:  nuclear fusion , plasma dynamics, plasma diagnostics

Email:      fconti@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-534-2688


Postdoctoral Scholar

Maylis studies atomic physics processes through spectroscopy experiments in high energy density plasmas. Spectroscopy techniques can be applied to many plasma conditions and are used in different laser-produced experiments such as proton heated, compressed or magnetized plasmas. Her projects involve characterizing hot plasmas in extreme matter conditions which is of particular interest for Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), laboratory astrophysics and atomic physics code benchmarking. Her interests and contributions extend to proton acceleration from nanostructured targets and fast electron propagation in compressed plasmas.

Research Interests:  X-ray spectroscopy, atomic physics, matter under extreme conditions, inertial confinement fusion, warm dense matter, proton acceleration.

Email:      mdozieres@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-534-2608


Postdoctoral Scholar

Research Interests:  high energy density physics, short pulse high intensity laser matter interactions, Fast electron beam, Strong magnetic field generation, heavy ions acceleration

Email:      pforestiercolleoni@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-534-2616


Postdoctoral Scholar

Jun Li studies laser matter interactions through large scale particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations in two research fields. One is laser plasma instabilities (LPI) in inertial confinement fusion (ICF). The current focus is on the LPI and hot electron generation in the shock ignition scheme of ICF. The other field is ion acceleration in the interaction of a short pulse (

Research Interests:  laser plasma instabilities in inertial confinement fusion, laser-driven ion acceleration

Email:      j1li@ucsd.edu
Phone:   858-534-4971