Roger Falcone

Office: 301G Physics South
Main: (510) 642-8916
Falcone Research Site

Job title: 
Professor Emeritus of the Graduate School

Roger Falcone is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and an affiliated faculty member of Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group and Applied Science and Technology Program. He chaired the Physics Department from 1995-2000. As of January 2018 he is a Professor of the Graduate School at Berkeley. He received his A.B. in Physics (1974) from Princeton, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (1979) from Stanford, and was the Marvin Chodorow Fellow in Applied Physics (1980-83) at Stanford.

He was the Director of the Advanced Light Source x-ray synchrotron facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (2006-2017), was President of the American Physical Society (2018), and currently serves as Past President of AP (2019).

Research Interests

Our research group studies the dynamics of ultrafast processes in atoms, molecules, solids, and plasmas. We develop advanced technologies (pulsed sources of x-rays, high-speed x-ray detectors, and novel techniques), and we perform experiments at major facilities in the Bay Area and around the world. Currently, we are focusing on understanding the behavior of solids and plasmas that are under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature. We are studying how these materials respond to high stress (up to a billion atmospheres of pressure, or 1 GigaBar) and high temperatures (several million degrees, or hundreds of eV). We measure and control dynamics on the length and time scales of atomic motion (down to nanometers and femtoseconds). A particular area of interest is the “equation of state” of high energy density matter, which means understanding the relationship of pressure, density, and temperature under extreme conditions. Also important are electronic, structural, and thermodynamic properties, such as the relative amount of ionization, the local order, and the thermal conductivity in such matter. 

The questions we address are generally fundamental, since we are extending science into novel regimes. The applications of our work range from geophysics (what is the chemistry of materials under pressure?), to materials performance (can we design materials that will perform under extreme conditions?), to fusion energy (can we create plasmas at high enough density and temperature to undergo nuclear burn?), to astrophysics (can we understand the physics of giant planets and stars?).

In a separate area of research, we are helping develop novel methods of high-resolution, chemically-resolved, ultrafast, three-dimensional imaging at the nanoscale, using x-rays, in order to better understand the physics and chemistry of functional materials under more conventional conditions. 

Our tools involve advanced x-ray synchrotrons, the world’s highest energy lasers, free-electron x-ray lasers, and tabletop, ultrashort pulse lasers. Our team includes faculty and other scientists from many countries, theorists and experimentalists, as well as postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students.



Travis D. Frazer,  et al, "Engineering Nanoscale Thermal Transport: Size- and Spacing-Dependent Cooling of Nanostructures," Phys. Rev. Applied 11, 024042 (2019)

A. M. Saunders, et al, “Characterizing plasma conditions in radiatively heated solid-density samples with x-ray Thomson scattering,” Phys. Rev. E 98, 063206 (2018)

N. J. Hartley, et al, “Liquid Structure of Shock-Compressed Hydrocarbons at Megabar Pressures,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 245501 (2018)

T. Doppner, et al, “Absolute Equation-of-State Measurement for Polystyrene from 25-60 Mbar Using a Spherically Converging Shock Wave,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 025001 (2018)

D. Kraus, et al, “Formation of diamonds in laser-compressed hydrocarbons at planetary interior conditions,” Nature Astronomy 1, 606–611 (2017)

F. Albert, et al, “Observation of Betatron X-Ray Radiation in a Self-Modulated Laser Wakefield Accelerator Driven with Picosecond Laser Pulses,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 134801 (2017)