UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy

Prof Gaetana Laricchia

Prof Gaetana Laricchia

Professor of Physics

Dept of Physics & Astronomy

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 1986

Research summary

My major research interests are in experimental studies of positron and positronium interactions with simple atomic and molecular systems. Recently, focus has been the production of ions via positronium formation, positron impact ionization (including threshold and differential studies), annihilation, the production of positronium beams, positronium scattering and positronium impact ionization. 

Teaching summary

I have delivered core lecture-courses of the full-time 1st, 2nd and 3rd years Physics undergraduate programmes, including Quantum Physics (>200 students),  Atomic and Molecular Physics (>130 students), Modern Physics, Astronomy and Cosmology (>130 students) and Nuclear and Particle Physics (>75 students). 

I have also taught Experimental Physics across all 4 years of our degree programmes, including as Laboratory Course Director, Project Supervisor, Mini-Project Coordinator, Laboratory Staff Demonstrator.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1986
University College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1983


Born in Barletta (Italy), I was an undergraduate in Physics at UCL from 1980 to 1983 and then a postgraduate obtaining a PhD in positron physics in 1986. From 1986-1988 I worked as a postdoctoral research assistant at UCL and Aarhus University in Denmark. In 1988, I was appointed to the UCL staff as a Lecturer. In 1994-1995 I held a Science Research Fellowship awarded by the Nuffield Foundation. I was promoted to Reader in 1996 and to Professor in 2003. From 2004-2013, I headed the Atomic, Molecular, Optical and Positron Physics (AMOPP) group.

have published around 150 articles and book chapters and delivered invited talks worldwide. I have served on the International Advisory Board of Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics and the Editorial Board of The European Physical Journal D Molecular, Optical and Plasma Physics. I am the recipient of the Occhialini Medal and Prize 2009 (jointly awarded by The Institute of Physics and Societa' Italiana di Fisica) and of the Thomson Medal and Prize 2010 (awarded by The Institute of Physics). In 2015, I was elected Honorary Member of the Roland Eotvos Physical Society of Hungary.