Jupiter Laser Facility gets a reboot

JLF ribbon cutting Laser opening May 2024 (Download Image)

Lab employees and guests had the opportunity to peer inside the target chamber of the three lasers at the Jupiter Laser Facility. (Photo: Shelby Conn/LLNL)


Fifty years ago, the first laser, Janus, was installed in Building 174 (renamed the Jupiter Laser Facility in 2006) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Additional lasers, more than 100 Ph.D.s granted time on the system and thousands of international users later, the Jupiter Laser Facility (JLF) celebrated its grand reopening Thursday after a four-year refurbishment, supported by the Laboratory and the DOE Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.

“This is your facility, a community facility, that is supported by the entire Laboratory,” said JLF Director Félicie Albert during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This is a testbed for many high-energy-density science and strategic deterrence programs.”

Associate Deputy Director of Operations Sandra Brereton, Strategic Deterrence Deputy Director Brad Wallin, S&T Deputy Director Pat Falcone, Physical and Life Sciences Principal Associate Director Glenn Fox, NIF & Photon Science Principal Associate Director Jeff Wisoff and Jupiter Laser Facility Director Félicie Albert cut a ribbon for the reopening of the Jupiter Laser Facility. (Photo: Blaise Douros/LLNL)

JLF includes the fifth-highest energy laser in the U.S. Dedicated to high-energy-density science research, JLF also is one of the founding members of LaserNetUS, a network of high-intensity laser systems across North America. JLF consists of three operating laser systems and target areas — Janus, Titan and COMET — and a main laser bay, consisting of three different beams: two long pulses and one short pulse.

“This is an example of us pulling together as a team to get this project done,” said Deputy Director of Science and Technology Pat Falcone. “JLF is a pacesetter in the field. The Lab’s ignition accomplishments were built upon the pioneering laser programs carried out at JLF. It’s been a terrific journey and it’s all about doing science with partners. We’ve built a new scientific capability here and that says we’re now open for more collaborations and discoveries.”

Every year, JLF welcomes international collaborators, academia, the private sector and other national laboratories to conduct research. JLF users are allotted four weeks to run an experimental campaign and the opportunity to work out technical challenges and perfect their experiments before performing larger, more-consequential experiments at other facilities like LLNL’s National Ignition Facility or the University of Rochester’s OMEGA Laser Facility.

With the number of JLF users tripling from 2008 to 2017 and an increased interest in high-intensity and high-power laser research, JLF’s aging equipment and capabilities needed a refresh.

Jupiter Laser Facility Director Félicie Albert describes the inner workings of the laser systems in the Jupiter Laser Facility. (Photo: Shelby Conn/LLNL)

“It’s been 10 years since we started this conversation, and it’s amazing to see the transformation of JLF,” said Physical and Life Sciences Principal Associate Director Glenn Fox. “It’s unique because it’s a true LLNL user facility.”

“The JLF develops people and people are our most important asset to get our missions done,” said NIF & Photon Science Principal Associate Director Jeff Wisoff. “When you name your facility after the king of gods, you have high expectations. JLF helps develop the best talent and new techniques and deliver what we need for stockpile stewardship and discovery science.”

Strategic Deterrence Deputy Director Brad Wallin said: “An essential element that JLF brings is the development of people and partnerships with the international community. That leads to technically excellent work in the field of high-energy density science that is key to stockpile stewardship and national security.”

Later in the day, Albert and other scientific leads hosted a symposium on the past, present and future of high-energy-density science.