Dr F Gonnella

Position:Senior Firmware Engineer
Projects:ATLAS, DUNE, NA62
Room:West 323



Francesco graduated in Physics and got his Ph.D. at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”.

His Ph.D. thesis was about the design and construction of a detector and data acquisition system for the study of gamma-gamma physics at the KLOE-2 experiment at Frascati National Laboratories (INFN), near Rome.


From 2011 to 2015 he worked as a Research Fellow in Frascati, in the NA62 experiment at CERN, mainly focusing on electronics and data-acquisition. Within this period he spent 18 months at CERN and served as run coordinator during the first NA62 physics run. Since the end of 2015, he has been working in the University of Birminghamv Particle Physics group, participating in the ATLAS, DUNE and NA62 experiments.

Francesco’s main fields of expertise are high-energy physics detectors and trigger / data-acquisition systems, with particular interest in digital electronics and FPGA programming.

In ATLAS Francesco is responsible for the study, specification, and implementation of the new algorithm firmware for the eFEX boards used in the upgrade of the L1-trigger system for the liquid argon calorimeter. Francesco is also responsible for the main eFEX firmware repository including FTM and ROD firmware.

In DUNE Francesco is involved in the developing of the data acquisition system for the far detector.

In NA62 Francesco in responsible for the trigger system of 2 detectors (RICH and large-angle photon vetoes) and developed many systems used in the NA62 data acquisition. He covered several positions of responsibility such as: Run coordinator, on-call expert for many systems (TDAQ, LAV, KTAG, Run control), and he was responsible for the training of NA62 operators (together with Chris Parkinson),

Francesco designed a system to maintain HDL code on Gitlab, that allows many developers to collaborate fruitfully in big FPGA designs. This system, called Hog: HDL on Git (cern.ch/hog) is currently developed by a team of 5 researchers and it's used in several high-energy physics experiments inside and outside CERN.


  • Holding a "Digital Electronic" course for graduate students (MPAGS)
  • Demonstrator in Physics Laboratory 2(year 2)
  • Demonstrator in Physics Laboratory 1 (year 1)
  • Outreach

    Francesco has always been involved in outreach activities: during his student years he conducted experiments for young students (10-15 years) and in Frascati he held a laboratory course on the measurement of Planck’s Constant for secondary-school teachers and for students.

    Francesco gave outreach talks in Malvern College and Shrewsbury School and is currently engaged in a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Mercian Trust schools.