Antonino Di Piazza

  • Professor of Physics
  • Distinguished Scientist, LLE

356 Bausch & Lomb Hall
(585) 275-4380



Professor Di Piazza received his Master (Laurea) in Theoretical Physics at the University of Palermo (Italy) in 2000, discussing a thesis on high-order harmonic generation in laser-atom interaction. He then moved to Trieste (Italy), where he received his PhD in Theoretical Physics in 2004 with a thesis on the production of electron-positron pairs and photons around black holes in the presence of time-dependent magnetic fields. From 2004 until 2023 he has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg (Germany) first as post-doc (from 2004 until 2008) and then as research group leader (from 2009 to 2023).

In 2011 Professor Di Piazza received the German habilitation and venia legendi at the Physikalisches Institut of the University of Heidelberg and in 2014 he received the Italian habilitation for full Professorship in Theoretical Physics of Fundamental Interactions.

Between 2012 and 2015 Professor Di Piazza served as Scientific Coordinator of the International Max Planck Research School for Quantum Dynamics in Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IMPRS-QD) at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics.

Research Overview

During my Master (Laurea) I mostly worked on non-relativistic atomic physics in strong laser fields by investigating analytically and numerically the radiation emission  spectra by model atoms (two-level atoms and atoms with a finite number of bound states and free states).

During my PhD I studied the production of particles like electron-positron pairs and photons in the presence of background time-dependent magnetic fields and/or gravitational fields. The research aimed at constructing a microscopic model of Gamma-Ray-Bursts (GRBs).

After my PhD I focused on studying a variety of electrodynamical processes in the presence of intense background electromagnetic fields, especially laser fields, electric fields of highly-charged nuclei, and crystalline fields. Among others, nonlinear Compton scattering and nonlinear Breit-Wheeler pair production have been studied in detail, as well as the properties of the quantum vacuum, like vacuum birefringence in the presence of strong background electromagnetic fields. Another topic I have investigated is radiation reaction, within both classical and quantum electrodynamics, i.e., the influence of the electromagnetic field produced by a charge on the dynamics of the charge itself. Finally, I have also worked on non-equilibrium quantum field theory by applying the so-called "2-particle irreducible" method to describe the out-of-equilibrium dynamics of a plasma of electrons, positrons, and photons in the presence of an external and intense laser field.

Research Interests

  • Quantum electrodynamics in the presence of strong background electromagnetic; Properties of the quantum vacuum; Classical and quantum radiation reaction; Laser-matter interaction at high laser intensities; Quantum electrodynamics at finite temperature; Quantum electrodynamics in curved spacetimes