LLNL Collaborates with the University of California and LANL to Study Frontiers in HED Science

Professor Farhat Beg (Download Image)

Farhat Beg of the HED Physics Group at UC San Diego co-leads the Center for Frontiers in High Energy Density Science, along with Frank Graziani, director of LLNL’s HED Science Center.

The University of California (UC) Office of the President provided more than $4 million to fund a three-year collaborative effort between UC researchers and scientists at two national laboratories—LLNL and Los Alamos National Laboratory. The three-year effort includes establishing the Center for Frontiers in High Energy Density Science (CfHEDS) to study the fundamentals of nuclear physics, planetary science, and astrophysics.

Through its participation in CfHEDS, the HEDS Center at LLNL helps students, postdocs, and faculty visit LLNL to use its facilities, develop technical skills, and work with Laboratory scientists.

During the first year of work in 2018, the CfHEDS team achieved several major scientific accomplishments, including:

  • Experimental discovery of superionic water ice at high pressures and temperatures, comparable to those inside Uranus and Neptune
  • Characterization of the metallization of fluid deuterium at LLNL’s National Ignition Facility
  • Development of the x-ray Thomson scattering platform to diagnose the temperature of plasmas for ion stopping power experiments on the OMEGA laser
  • First-principles computer simulations of hot, dense hydrocarbons to compare with the experimental results from spherically converging shock waves on the gigabar platform
  • Thermal conductivity measurements based on differential heating for aluminum, iron, and germanium
  • Measurement of electric fields at the shock front relevant to inertial confinement fusion

These investigations facilitated the basic understanding of planet formation, exoplanet internal structure, and roles of conductivity and fields in inertial confinement fusion. In addition, these efforts resulted in 14 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, including Physical Review Letters, Applied Physics Letters, and Nature Physics, as well as 18 conference presentations and invited seminars.

The new center also hosted the HED Science Summer School, which was held on the UC San Diego campus.

CfHEDS is headed by Farhat Beg, principal investigator of the HED Physics Group at UC San Diego, and Frank Graziani, director of LLNL’s HED Science Center. The 2017 award by the UC Office of the President was part of the UC National Laboratory Fees Research Program, which is designed to enhance collaborations between UC campuses and national labs.