Rodney Yoder

Associate ProfessorPhysics and Engineering Science

Rodney Yoder is Associate Professor of Physics at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. He completed a doctorate in experimental particle accelerator physics at Yale University in 2000, where he built and operated a new type of electron accelerator as his dissertation project, and was a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA.  He has been a faculty member at liberal-arts colleges since 2004, and came to Goucher in 2012, where he teaches across the physics curriculum.  He is dedicated to promoting active and hands-on learning, and is particularly committed to developing creative and effective student laboratories. 

Dr. Yoder’s research focuses on experimental methods for creating, controlling, and using charged-particle beams, especially on novel methods for particle acceleration.   His past work includes contributions to several laser- and plasma-based accelerator prototypes, including a multi-year collaboration with UCLA that successfully demonstrated a laser-powered microacceleration structure only a few millimeters in size.  His current project is an experimental exploration of electron acceleration using arrays of pyroelectric crystals.

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Research, Scholarship, Creative Work in Progress

My current research project investigates the properties and possible applications of an unusual class of materials—pyroelectric crystals—which have potential as microscale electron emitters, small accelerators, and self-contained x-ray tubes.


B. Yoder, Z. Kabilova*, and B. Saeks*, “Electron Beam Generation and Injection from a Pyroelectric Crystal Array,” Proceedings of the 2016 International Particle Accelerator Conference, paper TUPMY026, pp. 1604–1606 (

B. Yoder, G. Travish, J. McNeur, E. B. Sozer, K. S. Hazra, B. Matthews, R. J. England, Z. Wu, E. A. Peralta, and K. Soong, “First Acceleration in a Resonant Optical-Scale Laser-Powered Structure,” Proceedings of the 2015 International Particle Accelerator Conference, paper WEPWA053, pp. 2624–2626 (

J. England et al. (30 authors), “Dielectric laser accelerators,” Reviews of Modern Physics 86, 1337–1389 (2014).

C. Thompson, H. Badakov, A. M. Cook, J. B. Rosenzweig, R. Tikhoplav, G. Travish, I. Blumenfeld, M. J. Hogan, R. Ischebeck, N. Kirby, R. Siemann, D. Walz, P. Muggli, A. Scott, and R. B. Yoder, “Breakdown Limits on Gigavolt-per-Meter Electron-Beam-Driven Wakefields in Dielectric Structures,” Physical Review Letters 100, 214801 (2008).

B. Yoder and J. B. Rosenzweig, “Side-Coupled Slab-Symmetric Structure for High-Gradient Acceleration using Terahertz Power,” Physical Review ST Accelerators & Beams 8, 111301 (2005).

External Awards, Honors, Grants

Co-investigator, U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency grant HDTRA1-09-1-0043, “Investigation of Micro-Scale Laser-Powered Dielectric Particle-Accelerators with Potential Application in the Long Range Sensing of Fissile Materials” (collaboration led by UCLA), total amount $1.4M, 2009-2014.

Conference Papers & Panel Participation

B. Yoder, “An Arduino-Based Alternative to the Traditional Electronics Laboratory,” presented at the 2015 Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year, College Park, MD and published in peer-reviewed online proceedings

Travish, K. S. Hazra, B. Matthews, J. McNeur, E. B. Sozer, and R. B. Yoder, “Fabrication of optical scale dielectric laser accelerators: Challenges, tolerances and other scary tales from the foundry,” presented at the 2014 Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop, San Jose, CA (AIP Conf. Proc., vol. 1777, p. 060012).

McNeur, E. B. Sozer, G. Travish, K. S. Hazra, B. Matthews, R. B. Yoder, R. J. England, Z. Wu, E. A. Peralta, and K. Soong, “Experimental results from the micro-accelerator platform, a resonant slab-symmetric dielectric laser accelerator,” presented at the 2014 Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop, San Jose, CA (AIP Conf. Proc., vol. 1777, p. 060014).

Academic or Professional Associations

American Physical Society

American Association of Physics Teachers

Advanced Laboratory Physics Association

Phi Beta Kappa

Other Professional or Scholarly Activity

Patent holder:  G. Travish, R. B. Yoder, and J. B. Rosenzweig, co-inventors, “Apparatus for Producing X-Rays for Use in Imaging,” U.S. patent US8755493 B2 (2014); European patent EP2465331 B1 (2016).

Occasional reviewer for grant proposals (U.S. Dept. of Energy).