Positron Research (the Surko group) - UC San Diego

Basic Plasma Science

Current projects include an effort to create an electron-positron plasma, study of plasma dynamics in traps with low degrees of symmetry, and vortex dynamics studied using a magnetized electron plasma.

Learn More


We are developing new methods to accumulate, store, manipulate, and deliver positrons. Recent work includes a multi-cell trap for large numbers of positrons and a cryogenic to make beams with narrow energy spread. Other tools include methods to compress positron plasmas radially and to move plasmas across a magnetic field.

Traps Beams Tools

Atoms and Molecules

The positron traps and tools are used to study aspects of positron-atomic physics, including the process of positron attachment to molecules, molecular dynamics in the positron-attached state, positron-molecule binding energies, and gamma-ray spectra from positron interactions with atoms and molecules.

Annihilation Positron Binding Scattering

Our research has its origins in the invention of the buffer-gas positron trap. First experiments measured atomic and molecular positron annihilation rates and Doppler-broadened annihilation spectra. The development of a trap-based beam enabled other studies. A positron plasma was created, later used to study the electron-beam positron-plasma instability.

The group's research now centers on developing plasma tools for antimatter research including novel methods to accumulate and store antimatter, and a range of positron-atomic physics and basic plasma studies.