NIF experiments draw interest at APS conference

Dec. 5, 2019- 
Ongoing experiments on the sun’s nucleosynthesis (element creation) processes and an update on progress toward achieving ignition were among the dozen invited talks about NIF-related research at the American Physical Society plasma physics conference this fall. The talks, which highlight the importance of NIF & Photon Science Directorate research, drew widespread interest from attendees of...

Frustraum hohlraum design is shaping up

Dec. 2, 2019- 
Hohlraums shaped like cylinders have been the workhorse of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) research for three decades. But now an angular hohlraum named “Frustraum” could become a key to the next stages of ICF research at the National Ignition Facility. The LLNL-designed Frustraum could enable a significant boost in the amount of laser-induced energy absorbed by an ICF fuel capsule, an...

NIF Army veteran attends Medal of Honor ceremony

Nov. 11, 2019- 
It’s been more than 10 years since John Ruiz, a mechanical designer in the National Ignition Facility’s (NIF) Facilities and Infrastructure Systems group, left the Army. But last summer, he found himself transported back to one of the most harrowing days of his Army career at the Medal of Honor ceremony for his former squad leader, Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia. Ruiz was a senior at Tracy...

New research finds lead toughens up under extremes

Nov. 11, 2019- 
In a new paper published as an “Editors’ Suggestion” in Physical Review Letters, a team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has demonstrated that lead — a metal so soft that it is difficult to machine at ambient conditions — responds similarly to other much stronger metals when rapidly compressed at high pressure. The paper also was highlighted by a “Viewpoint” in Physi...

Scholar learns from NIF’s ‘Tasting Platter of HED Science’

Nov. 7, 2019- 
As a kid, Raspberry Simpson found inspiration in the mysteries of the universe while spending many hours after school inside New York’s Hayden Planetarium. “I don’t really think I knew then I could be a scientist as a career, but I knew I was really interested in it,” Simpson said. “And I learned through lots of great teachers that this could be a job eventually.” This year, the MIT graduat...

Summer scholar reels in ‘STRIPED FISH’ for NIF

Oct. 22, 2019- 
In high school, Liz Grace thought physics was boring and instead considered studying psychology or music. But then a college professor inspired Grace to see the wonders of physics. Today, as a National Ignition Facility (NIF) & Photon Science Summer Scholar, she’s helping to design and build a diagnostic instrument that could become a revolutionary measurement tool for NIF’s Advanced...

Artist wins award for ‘Best Comic Design’

Oct. 17, 2019- 
Artist John Jett of the NIF & Photon Science Document Services Team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was honored with a special Adobe Government Creativity Award for creating an educational comic book explaining the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and the types of careers that support the operation of the world’s largest and most energetic laser. Judges awarded the comic book with...

Lab scholar makes impact on new diagnostic

Sept. 17, 2019- 
When Peter Nyholm became a NIF&PS Summer Scholar, he was following family tradition. Both of his parents had careers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) —his father as an electrical engineer and his mother as a nurse. Of his five siblings, two work at LLNL and another was previously an intern. This summer, Nyholm’s wife also was an intern in the Data Science Summer Institute. “G...

NIF celebrates a decade of operations

Aug. 13, 2019- 
In the decade since Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) began operations, NIF has routinely heated and compressed matter to some of the most extreme temperatures and pressures ever obtained on Earth – temperatures of 100 million degrees and pressures 100 billion times that of the Earth’s atmosphere.  See event photos. Funded by the Department of...

Physicist Maria Gatu Johnson wins APS award

Aug. 6, 2019- 
Nuclear physicist Maria Gatu Johnson, who plays a key role in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) and Discovery Science campaigns at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), was named winner of the Katherine E. Weimer Award recognizing outstanding plasma science research by a woman physicist in the early stages of her career. "I am honored and grateful that my efforts to do the best work I can...

Study reveals new structure of gold at extremes

July 30, 2019- 
Gold is an extremely important material for high-pressure experiments and is considered the "gold standard" for calculating pressure in static diamond anvil cell experiments. When compressed slowly at room temperature (on the order of seconds to minutes), gold prefers to be the face-centered cubic (fcc) structure at pressures up to three times the center of the Earth. However, researchers...

Three Lawrence Livermore scientists named senior members of the Optical Society

July 9, 2019- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists Félicie Albert, Eyal Feigenbaum and Bruce Warner have been named senior members of the Optical Society (OSA), an international organization for optics and photonics scientists, engineers, educators and business leaders. Senior membership status recognizes members with more than 10 years of professional experience in optics or an optics...

NIF tops Physics of Plasmas 'most cited'

July 2, 2019- 
Research authored by physicists in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility & Photon Science Directorate (NIF&PS) represented four of the prestigious Physics of Plasmas' top 10 list of "most cited papers" of 2018. The papers on the list have accumulated five or more citations, according to AIP (American Institute of Physics) Publishing. In particular, AIP noted...

Dynamic compression provides new insight into understanding and predicting crystal growth

June 4, 2019- 
Crystal growth is a crucial issue for fundamental science and wide applications. The growth morphology and speed are generally determined by an interplay between macroscopic thermodynamic driving forces and the microscopic kinetic process at crystal-liquid interface. While crystal growth is well understood at near-equilibrium growth conditions, the growth transition with diverse growth...

Making metal with the lightness of air

June 3, 2019- 
Gold, silver and copper are heavy metals, but LLNL scientists can now make them nearly as light as air — in a form so tiny it can ride on a mosquito’s back. The groundbreaking science, part of a joint NIF/Physical and Life Sciences (PLS) project supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program, created these ultra-low density metal foams to give physicists better...

ARC experiments exceed expectations

May 17, 2019- 
The first proton-acceleration experiments using the National Ignition Facility’s (NIF) Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) short-pulse laser have produced protons with energies about 10 times higher than previous experience would have predicted (see "A Powerful New Source of High-Energy Protons"). Beams of high-energy protons can be precisely targeted and are able to quickly heat...

Giant lasers crystallize water with shockwaves, revealing the atomic structure of superionic ice

May 8, 2019- 
Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) used giant lasers to flash-freeze water into its exotic superionic phase and record X-ray diffraction patterns to identify its atomic structure for the very first time — all in just a few billionths of a second. The findings are reported today in Nature. In 1988, scientists first predicted that water would transition to an exotic...

Sandia's Line VISAR has roots in Livermore

April 10, 2019- 
A joint Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)/Sandia National Laboratories team has commissioned a Line Velocity Interferometer System for Any Reflector (Line VISAR) at Sandia’s Z Machine. Line VISAR is used to measure the velocities of shocks and surface motions when enormous pressures are applied to target materials in high-energy density science experiments. Such data inform...

LLNL's Virtual Beam Line++ now available

April 5, 2019- 
Physicists designing new laser systems and modeling laser performance at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) now have a powerful new tool in their hands with the Rigel release of Virtual Beam Line++ (VBL++). The current version of VBL, a java-based code, has been in use since 2000. VBL++ has a new architecture using the C++ code and best-in-class standards to enable high-resolution...

New method for better laser-material interaction

April 3, 2019- 
Using ultrashort laser pulses lasting a few picoseconds (trillionths of a second), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have discovered an efficient mechanism for laser ablation (material removal) that could help pave the way to the use of lower-energy, less costly lasers in many industrial laser processing applications. The new method, reported in a Journal of Applied...