Dr Laura Gonella

School of Physics and Astronomy
Associate Professor in Particle Physics

Contact details

Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Laura in an expert on semiconductor detectors for High Energy Physics experiments, having worked on novel sensor concepts, radiation-hard CMOS technologies, hybridisation techniques, and powering schemes. She has a leading involvement in a wide range of instrumentation projects, including R&D and construction.

Laura is currently working on the upgrade of the ATLAS strip tracker at the HL-LHC, where she co-coordinates the UK module production. She is also heavily involved in the development of an experimental facility at the US-based Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), where she has been leading the R&D activities for the development of a silicon vertex and tracking detector for a number of years. She is currently Tracking Working Group co-convener for the EPIC detector collaboration and co-coordinator of the EIC Silicon Consortium.

Laura maintains a varied R&D portfolio on silicon detectors towards future colliders. She is working on the development of radiation-hard Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (MAPS) in commercial CMOS imagining technologies at the 180 and 65 nm nodes, and on the development of position sensitive fast timing detectors. In addition, she continues generic R&D on radiation-hard silicon sensors in the context of the RD50 collaboration.

Since October 2022, Laura is the leader of the Birmingham Instrumentation Laboratory for Particle physics and Applications (BILPA). She also manages the EURO-LABS irradiation programme at the MC40 cyclotron high intensity irradiation line of the University of Birmingham.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2018
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, University of Birmingham, 2018
  • PhD in Experimental Particle Physics, University of Bonn, Germany, 2013
  • MSc in Physics of Innovative Technologies, University of Turin, Italy, 2006
  • BSc in Physics, University of Turin, Italy, 2003


Laura’s career as a physicist started in the Electronics Systems for Experiments (ESE) group at CERN where she worked between 2005 and 2007 studying the radiation tolerance of the CMOS technologies used for the design of readout electronics at collider experiments.

In 2008, she moved to the University of Bonn, where she worked on technological improvements in power distribution schemes and detector module concepts to enhance the vertexing and tracking performance of the ATLAS experiment at the HL-LHC.

After completing her PhD in 2013, she became Junior Professor at the University of Bonn and started working on the application of CMOS imaging technologies to the development of Depleted Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (DMAPS), before moving to Birmingham in 2015.

Laura was appointed to a newly created academic post as part of the University’s programme of investment in its silicon detector R&D and construction capabilities. Since then, she worked to establish a programme of innovations in HEP instrumentation at Birmingham, through the development of advanced facilities and of a vibrant R&D programme on key technologies for experimental facilities at future colliders.

She had a leading role in the development and commissioning of the BILPA laboratory and in the qualification of the high intensity irradiation line at the MC40 cyclotron. At these facilities she pursues R&D activities on CMOS sensors and Ultra-Fast Silicon Detectors, as well as radiation hardness studies of solid-state detector components, in collaboration with colleagues in the UK and internationally.

She is currently a member of the ATLAS and RD50 collaborations, of the Electron-Ion-Collider Users Group, and of the EURO-LABS consortium.


  • Y2 Electronics
  • Y3 Nuclear Laboratory
  • Y1 Physics and Communication Skills
  • Y1 Academic Tutorials
  • Y4 Projects

Postgraduate supervision

Laura supervises students working on the upgrade of the Inner Tracker of the ATLAS experiment at CERN, on the development of a vertex and tracking detector for the EIC, and on generic R&D projects on silicon detector technologies for future collider experiments and medical applications.


Research interests

  • Silicon vertex and tracking detectors for particle and nuclear physics experiments
  • Radiation-hardness studies of silicon sensors and their associated microelectronics readout
  • Application of commercial CMOS technologies to the development of semiconductor detectors for collider experiments
  • Low mass, high efficiency powering schemes for semiconductor detector systems at high luminosity experiments

Research projects

  • ATLAS Inner Tracker upgrade
  • Precision Central Silicon Tracking & Vertexing for the EIC
  • EURO-LABS European Laboratories for Accelerator Based Science
  • STRONG2020 The Strong Interaction at the Frontier of Knowledge: Fundamental Research and Applications
  • Development of radiation tolerant Low Gain Avalanche Devices (LGAD) for fast timing application
  • Radiation-Hard Monolithic Active Pixels Sensors (MAPS) for Tracking in pCT and Beam Profiling
  • Development of a Reconfigurable Monolithic Active Pixel Sensor in Radiation-Hard Technology for Outer Tracking and Digital Electromagnetic Calorimetry

Other activities

Laura is a member of the Graduate Studies Committee for the School of Physis and Astronomy, and PhD admission tutor for the particle physics group.

Laura regularly serves on national and international experiment review committees and grant evaluation panels.


A full list of Laura's publications can be found online.