Berkeley Lab

BELLA People: Cameron Guy Robinson Geddes

Cameron Geddes

Cameron Geddes

Senior Scientist
Director, Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division
1 Cyclotron Rd MS 71-259
Berkeley CA 94720
telephone: 510-495-2923

Ph.D., Physics, University of California, Berkeley, Spring 2005.
B.A., Physics, Swarthmore College, Spring 1997.
High honors; Poli Sci. minor.

Cameron Geddes is a senior scientist and Director of the ATAP Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He joined Berkeley Lab in 2000, investigating the use of laser driven plasma waves to build compact next-generation particle accelerators and photon sources. His work includes compact sources of near-monochromatic MeV photons for nuclear applications as well as extending the future reach of high-energy physics and sources of radiation in the X-ray to THz bands.

Geddes’s work in the Center has established several key LPA properties, including high-intensity laser guiding for increased energies, narrow-energy-spread beams, and plasma-density gradient injection for control. His current project has demonstrated reliable low-energy-spread injectors using “colliding” lasers, as well as 250 MeV energies using 10 TW lasers of transportable size. It also established that LPAs produce low emittance using betatron radiation, and developed detector techniques for precise spectroscopy.

Geddes received the Ph.D. in 2005 at the University of California, Berkeley, supported by the Hertz Fellowship. He received the Hertz and APS Rosenbluth dissertation prizes for the first laser plasma accelerator producing mono-energetic beams, which was also featured on the cover and as a Top 10 discovery by Nature.

Previously he received the B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1997, and the APS Apker and Swarthmore Elmore prizes for thesis work on spheromak equilibria. Previous research has included Thomson scattering measurement of driven waves in inertial confinement fusion plasmas (LLNL), wave mixing (Polymath), small- aspect tokamaks (Princeton/University of Wisconsin), and nonlinear optics.

Professional experience

2021- present, Director, ATAP Division, LBNL, and senior scientist, BELLA Center, LBNL.

2019 – 2021, Senior scientist and deputy director for experiments, BELLA Center, LBNL.

2018 – 2019, Senior scientist, BELLA Center, LBNL.

8/2008 – 2018, Staff scientist, BELLA Center (formerly LOASIS Program), LBNL.

4/2005-8/2008, Research Scientist, LOASIS Program, LBNL.

6/2000 – 3/2005, Ph.D. Student Research Assistant, University of California, Berkeley.

9/1999 – 5/2000, Physicist contractor, Polymath Research.

11/1997-8/1999, Physicist, plasma group, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

6/1996-6/1997, Research Assistant, Swarthmore College.

9/1995-12/1995, Associate Scientist, LBNL.

6/1995-9/1995, Research Assistant, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory/University of Wisconsin. 6/1993-6/1995, Research Assistant, Swarthmore College.


  • 2016: Fellow of the American Physical Society
    “For research demonstrating the production of high quality electron beams from laser plasma accelerators.”

  • 2010: John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research
    “For experiments and theory leading to the demonstration of high-quality electron beams from laser-plasma accelerators.”
  • 2007: Outstanding Performance Award, LBNL.
  • 2006: APS Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award
    To provide recognition to exceptional young scientists who have performed original thesis work of outstanding scientific quality and achievement in the area of plasma physics.
  • 2005: Outstanding Performance Award, LBNL.
  • 2005: Hertz Thesis Prize, Hertz Foundation
    Awarded to certain Ph.D. dissertations completed by Hertz Fellows during the preceding academic year for their overall excellence and pertinence to high-impact applications of the physical sciences.
  • 2000-2004: Hertz Graduate Fellowship, Hertz Foundation
  • 1999: National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship, U.S. Department of Defense.
  • 1997: Apker Award, American Physical Society, for best undergraduate thesis in physics.
  • 1997: William C. Elmore Prize, Swarthmore College, for distinguished academic work in physics, astrophysics, or astronomy.
  • 1995: National Undergraduate Fellowship in Plasma Physics, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Selected publications

S. Steinke, J. van Tilborg, C. Benedetti, C.G.R. Geddes, C.B. Schroeder, J. Daniels, K.K. Swanson, A.J. Gonsalves, K. Nakamura, N.H. Matlis, B.H. Shaw, E. Esarey, W.P. Leemans, “Multistage coupling of independent laser-plasma accelerators,” Nature 530, pp. 190–193 (11 February 2016).

C.G.R. Geddes, S. Rykovanov, N.H. Matlis, S. Steinke, J.-L. Vay, E. Esarey, B. Ludewigt, K. Nakamura, B.J. Quiter, C.B. Schroeder, C. Toth, W.P. Leemans, “Compact quasi-monoenergetic photon sources from laser-plasma accelerators for nuclear detection and characterization,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 350, 116 (2015).

C.G.R. Geddes, S. Rykovanov, N.H. Matlis, S. Steinke, J.-L. Vay, E. Esarey, B. Ludewigt, K. Nakamura, B.J. Quiter, C.B. Schroeder, C. Toth, W.P. Leemans, “Compact quasi-monoenergetic photon sources from laser-plasma accelerators for nuclear detection and characterization,” in Proc. 23rd Conf. on Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry (San Antonio, Texas, US, May 2014), Nucl. Instrum. Meth. B 350 (31 January 2015), pp. 116-121; doi: 10.1016/j.nimb.2015.01.013.

G.R. Plateau, C.G.R. Geddes, D.B. Thorn, M. Chen, C. Benedetti, E. Esarey, A.J. Gonsalves, N.H. Matlis, K. Nakamura, C.B. Schroeder, S. Shiraishi, T. Sokollik, J. van Tilborg, Cs. Toth, S. Trotsenko, T.S. Kim, M. Battaglia, Th. Stoehlker, and W. P. Leemans, “Low-emittance electron bunches from a laser-plasma accelerator measured using single-shot X-ray spectroscopy,” PRL 109, 064802 (2012). See also this LBNL press release and a related SLAC Symmetry article.

C.G.R. Geddes, E. Cormier-Michel, E.H. Esarey, C.B. Schroeder, J-L. Vay, W.P. Leemans, and the LOASIS team, LBNL; D.L. Bruhwiler, J.R. Cary, B. Cowan, M. Durant, P. Hamill, P. Messmer, P. Mullowney, C. Nieter, K. Paul, S. Shasharina, S. Veitzer, and the VORPAL development team, Tech-X; G. Weber, O. Rubel, D. Ushizima, Prabhat, and E.W. Bethel, VACET; and J. Wu, SciDAC Scientific Data Management Center, “Laser Plasma Particle Accelerators: Large Fields for Smaller Facility Sources,” SciDAC Review 13 (2009), pp. 13-21; LBNL-2299E.

W.P. Leemans, B. Nagler, A.J. Gonsalves, Cs. Toth, K. Nakamura,3, C.G.R. Geddes, E. Esarey, C.B. Schroeder, and S.M. Hooker, “GeV electron beams from a centimetre-scale accelerator,” Nature Physics 2, pp. 696-699 (2006); LBNL-60105.

C.G.R. Geddes, Cs. Toth, J. van Tilborg, E. Esarey, C.B. Schroeder, J. Cary , W.P. Leemans, “Guiding of relativistic laser pulses by preformed plasma channels,” Phys. Rev. Letters 95, no. 14 (2005), pp. 145002/1-4; LBNL-57058.

C.G.R. Geddes, Cs. Toth, J. van Tilborg, E. Esarey, C.B. Schroeder, D. Bruhwiler, C. Nieter, J. Cary, W.P. Leemans, “High-quality electron beams from a laser wakefield accelerator using plasma-channel guiding,” Nature 431 (2004), pp. 538-541; LBNL-55732. See also the physics overview by T. Katsouleas in “Electrons hang ten on laser wake,” News and Views, Nature 431 (30 September 2004), pp. 515-6.