Lab’s ACT-UP awards focus on collaborative university research

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The ACT-UP awards are supported by LLNL’s Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI) directorate with a focus on WCI’s Weapon Physics and Design stockpile science, inertial confinement fusion and national security mission space. LLNL principal investigators include, from left: Félicie Albert, Jutta Escher, Saad Khairallah, Kambiz Salari and Anton Tonchev.

With a focus on increasing joint research efforts between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and universities, the Lab’s Weapon Physics and Design (WPD) Academic Collaboration Team University Program (ACT-UP) has presented this year’s ACT-UP awards.

Now in its third year, the ACT-UP awards were created to encourage and advance strategic partnerships among universities with a focus on the Lab’s mission. The awards emphasize key outcomes, including innovation and basic science to establish long-term relations on target topics with target universities; and products comprising of data, methods and technology where the Lab taps into university relations to respond with agility to WPD Program challenges.

The ACT-UP awards also serve as a pipeline to promote education, recruiting and hiring that builds on the Lab’s university relationships for a workforce with cultivated skills, knowledge and abilities.

“The ACT-UP awards help advance the Lab’s Weapon Physics and Design missions by engaging university researchers,” said Rose McCallen, chair of ACT-UP. “We have had tremendous success in attracting some of the best researchers from various universities to collaborate with the Lab.”

Led by McCallen, the team established a one-stop-shop for university collaborations, with a focused administrator and a committee of 11 representatives from WPD, Weapons Simulation and Computing Program, High-Energy-Density Physics Summer Program, High Energy Density Science Center and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Stewardship Science Academic Programs. The LLNL ACT-UP committee includes Teresa Bailey, Daniel Casey, Perry Chodash, Dana Goto, Frank Graziani, Brian Maddox, Rob Neely, Luc Peterson, Scott Sepke and Joe Wasem, with McCallen serving as chair and Kim Rivera as administrator.

This year’s awards 

This year, five awards were distributed to five universities for a total of $500,000 per year for three years. This year’s recipients, project title and LLNL and university principal investigators are as follows:

The University of Alabama 
High-fidelity modeling of laser-plasma interaction in laser metal additive manufacturing 

  • Saad Khairallah, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Alexey Volkov, U of A principal investigator 
  • Michael Stokes, U of A Ph.D student

San Diego State University 
New predictive capability for reaction and decay properties of fission fragments

  • Jutta Escher, LLNL principal investigator  
  • Calvin Johnson, San Diego State principal investigator 
  • Oliver Gorton, San Diego State Ph.D student 

Duke University & Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory
Energy-dependent fission product yields 

  • Anton Tonchev, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Calvin Howell, Duke University principal investigator 
  • Aitor Bracho, Duke University Ph.D student 

University of Texas at Austin 
A new radiographic capability using X-rays from laser-plasma accelerators 

  • Félicie Albert, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Michael Downer, UT Austin principal investigator 
  • Isabella Pagano, UT Austin Ph.D student   

University of California, Davis 
Enhanced macro-scale material strength model predictions at extreme conditions via meso-scale simulations

  • Kambiz Salari, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Jennifer Curtis, UC Davis principal investigator 
  • Chanh Nguyen, UC Davis Ph.D student 

Previous year’s awards 

Last year, five universities received the ACT-UP Award, totaling nearly $500,000 per year for three years. Last year’s recipients, project title, LLNL and university investigators and students are as follows: 

The University of Colorado Boulder 
Modeling MagLIF laser preheat experiments 

  • David Strozzi, LLNL principal investigator 
  • John Cary, U of C principal investigator 
  • Ryan Lau, U of C Ph.D candidate 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
Advanced experimental capability to study high-velocity collisions of metallic microparticles 

  • Alison Saunders, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Chris Schuh, MIT principal investigator 
  • Tyler Lucas, MIT Ph.D candidate 

Stanford University  
Determining exact RANS operators with the macroscopic forcing method 

  • Brandon Morgan, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Ali Mani, Stanford principal investigator 
  • Dana Lansigan and Jessie Liu, Stanford Ph.D candidates 

New Mexico Tech 
Quantitative optical measurement of shock interactions around high-velocity projectiles 

  • Alejandro Campos, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Michael Hargather, NMT principal investigator 
  • Jason Falls, NMT Ph.D graduate 

University of Alberta 
Diagnosis of ICF Hohlraum plasmas using advance Thomson scattering techniques  

  • George Swadling, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Wjciech Rozmus, Alberta principal investigator 
  • Colin Bruulsema, Alberta Ph.D candidate 

In 2020, four universities received the ACT-UP Award, totaling nearly $400,000 per year for three years. The recipients, project title, LLNL and university investigators and students are as follows: 

University of California, Los Angeles 
Investigation of controlling the nonlinear optics of plasmas through advances in laser and plasma capabilities 

  • Denise Hinkel, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Warren Mori, UCLA principal investigator 
  • Sarah Chase, UCLA Ph.D candidate 

Stanford University  
Investigation of underlying physics of shock-shock and shock-surface interactions 

  • Kambiz Salari, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Juan Alonso, Stanford principal investigator 
  • Walter Maier, Stanford Ph.D candidate 

University of Notre Dame 
Non-LTE physics in integrated calculations using machine learning 

  • Kelli Humbird, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Ryan McClarren, Notre Dame principal investigator 
  • Michael VanderWal, Notre Dame Ph.D candidate 

University of California, San Diego 
Dynamic strength of iron under phase changing conditions  

  • Hye-Sook Park, LLNL principal investigator 
  • Marc Meyers, UCSD principal investigator 
  • Gaia Righi, UCSD Ph.D candidate