Italian, PhD theoretical physics, Bari University 1985.

Pantaleo Raimondi

Pantaleo Raimondi came to the ESRF from the world of particle physics, having bounced between major electron–positron colliders on both sides of the Atlantic during his 25-year career. Previously Raimondi was head of the accelerator division at Italy’s national institute for nuclear and particle-physics research in Frascati (INFN-LNF), where he headed up the “SuperB” project for an electron–positron collider that would study the differences between matter and antimatter by producing copious quantities of particles called B mesons, with plans to turn the facility into a third-generation light source thereafter.

Raimondi trained as a theoretical physicist, whetting his appetite for hardware during his PhD when he worked on the ALEPH detector at CERN’s Large Electron Positron collider (LEP). He made the transition to accelerator physics in 1986 when a position came up at the INFN in Frascati, and later moved to SLAC in the US where he became responsible for a project to focus the beam of SLAC’s linear collider to sub-micron levels. He took his experience back to LEP in the late 1990s before returning to SLAC to work on plans for the International Linear Collider alongside research into compact plasma-based accelerators, returning to Frascati in 2002.

His significant contributions to accelerator physics include novel ways to focus particle beams. His “crab waist” technique, first demonstrated at the INFN’s DAFNE electron–positron storage ring in 2008, uses a simple geometry of sextupole magnets to focus electron beams in much smaller regions. The resulting increase in luminosity, he points out, can increase the performance of future colliders by a factor 100 and extend the physics programme of these facilities by at least a decade.