William Barletta, Adjunct Professor of Physics

William A. Barletta
Adjunct Professor of Physics

EMAIL: barletta@mit.edu

PHONE: (617) 253-6502

OFFICE: 26-567


Area of Physics:

Intermediate Energy Physics

Research Interests

Accelerators are essential engines of discovery in fundamental physics, biology, and chemistry. Particle beam-based instruments in medicine, industry and national security constitute a multi-billion dollar per year industry. Great inventions such as colliders and, more recently, free electron lasers have transformed our abilities to investigate matter at atomic, nuclear and sub-nuclear scales.  Technologies such as superconducting magnets and superconducting radio frequency structures have become hallmarks of the many of the most modern major accelerator facilities. Accelerators of the future will be even more challenging to build and operate than the present generation if they are to remain affordable – whether as tools for science or for medicine or for industry.  Designing and building accelerators whether large or small requires a synthesis of beam physics, electrical and mechanical engineering, a practical knowledge of materials and fabrication techniques, and an understanding of the scientific or applied enterprise that the machine will serve. In addition to these instrumental applications of accelerators, the physics of particle beams is, in its own right, an area of research rich in intellectual challenges and rewards.

William Barletta maintains a broad range of professional research activities that include free electron laser physics for ultra-fast synchrotron radiation science, the design of colliders and high intensity linacs and cyclotrons for high energy and nuclear physics, ion beam technology for nanofabrication of integrated circuits, and compact plasma-based neutron and gamma sources for medicine, research and security applications. In addition he has a strong secondary research interests in international legal and policy aspects of cyber-security and cyber-conflict and in strategic management of research institutions.

Biographical Sketch

William Barletta received his Ph.D. in experimental high-energy physics from the University of Chicago in 1972. After a term as instructor of physics at Yale University, he joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he held several research and management positions. From 1993 – 2006, he was Director of the Accelerator Division and of the Homeland Security and Non-proliferation Program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. At Berkeley he was responsible for four major accelerator construction projects as well as for advances in ion-beam patterning of semi-conductors. Since 2006, he has been the Director of the U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS). As USPAS Director, he is responsible for a national graduate program that covers all aspects of accelerator science and technology that are crucial to facilities for accelerator-based science. He is also the inaugural director of the Korean Accelerator School.

Service to the Profession

As the coordinating editor-in-chief of the international journal, "Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research – A", he coordinates editorial policy and decisions and personally handles ~300 manuscripts annually. He is the Chair of the American Physical Society (APS) Panel on Public Affairs, and a member APS Physics Policy Committee and of the APS Council.  He is a past Chair of the APS Forum on International Physics and the Division of Physics of Beams and was Convener for Accelerator-based Capabilities for the "Snowmass 2013" study on the future of high-energy physics. He has been an active member of the APS Committee on Minorities (2004-2006), the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (2011 – 2013), and the American Bar Association Privacy & Computer Crime Committee.

Barletta been an organizer of more than 30 international conferences, schools, workshops in accelerator technology (including IEEE US Particle Accelerator Conferences), in coherent interactions of radiation and matter, and in innovative technologies to clean the environment.  He has edited and co-authored four books about accelerator science, and is co-author of four books concerning cybersecurity, privacy and international cyber-law, and most recently, "Averting Disaster: Science for Peace in a Perilous Age," "The Quest for Cyber Peace," and the "Quest for Cyber Confidence", the latter two in collaboration with the top leadership of the International Telecommunications Union. He holds four patents with three patents pending, and is author of >180 papers plus 30 internal reports on strategic technologies. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Selected Publications

  • "Future hadron colliders from physics perspectives to technology R&D," W. Barletta, M. Battaglia,, M. Klute, M. Mangano, S. Prestemon, L. Rossi, P. Skands , Nucl. Instr.and  Meth –A 764 (2014) 352–368
  • "Cyclotrons as Drivers for Precision Neutrino Measurements," A. Adelmann, J. Alonso, W.A. Barletta, J.M. Conrad, M.H. Shaevitz, J. Spitz, M. Toups, and L.A. Winslow,  Adv.High Energy Phys. 2014 (2014) 347097
  • "A Proposal for Electron Antineutrino Disappearance Search Using High-Rate 8Li Production and Decay," A.Bungau A. Adelmann, J. Alonso, W. Barletta et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. V. 109, Issue 14 (2012)
  • "Highly coherent and stable pulses from the FERMI seeded free-electron laser in the extreme ultraviolet," E. Alleria, R. Appio, L. Badano, W. Barletta, et al., Nature Photonics 6, 699–704 (2012)
  • "Educating and Training Accelerator Scientists and Technologists for Tomorrow," W.A. Barletta, S. Chattopadhyay, A. Seryi, Rev. of Accelerator Science & Technology, Vol. 5 (2012) 313–331
  • "Resource Letter AFHEP-1: Accelerators for the Future of High Energy Physics," W. A. Barletta, American Journal of Physics V. 80, Issue 2, pp. 102 (2012)
  • "Free Electron Lasers: Status and Challenges," W.A. Barletta, J. Bisognano, J.N. Corlett, et al., Nuc. Inst. and Meth. A 618, Issues 1–3, 1–21 June 2010, Pages 69–96
  • "Implementation and Science and Technology" W. A. Barletta, C. Flynn, F. Greene, H. Kowalski, B. Laybourne, B. Steinhardt, in International Strategy for Cyberspace Security, Jody R. Westby, ed, American Bar Association, August, 2003
  • "Micro-Ion Beam Reduction Lithography", K.N. Leung, W.A. Barletta, T. J. King, Y.Y. Lee, J. Vac. Sci. & Tech. B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures, 17, 6, p. 2783-2790 (1999)


  • Maskless Micro-ion Beam Reduction Lithography", W. A. Barletta, K.N. Leung, D. Patterson (1998), patent granted, May 2005, United States Patent 6888146
  • Ultra-short pulse Ion and Neutron Sources, W. A. Barletta, K.N. Leung, J. Kwan, patent granted Jan. 2006, United States Patent 6985553
  • "High Brightness – Multiple Beamlets Source for Patterned X-ray Production," K-N Leung. J. Qiang, W.A. Barletta, X. Jiang, L. Ji, Patent granted October 27, 2009, US Patent No. 7,609,815 B2
  • "Gamma Source for Active Interrogation," K.N. Leung, W. A. Barletta, and T. P. Lou, patent granted September 29, 2009, United States Patent No. 7,596,197 and 8,279,993

Last updated on March 11, 2015 9:33 AM