Developing technology to keep the nuclear stockpile safe, secure and reliable

Sept. 26, 2022- 
The last nuclear test, code-named Divider, took place 30 years ago, on Sept. 23, 1992. That year, President Bush declared a temporary moratorium on nuclear testing, which became permanent in 1995, during the Clinton administration. This ending of the era of nuclear testing coincided with a Presidential announcement of the beginning of stockpile stewardship. As the decision to...

Under pressure: solid matter takes on new behavior

Sept. 19, 2022- 
Investigating how solid matter behaves at enormous pressures, such as those found in the deep interiors of giant planets, is a great experimental challenge. To help address that challenge, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers and collaborators took a deep dive in understanding these extreme pressures. The work was just published in Nature Physics with LLNL...

LLNL’s new diffraction gratings will enable the world’s most powerful laser

Sept. 12, 2022- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers and their collaborators have developed new high-energy pulse compression gratings that will be used in the world’s highest-power laser system, designed to deliver up to 10 petawatts (quadrillion watts) of peak power. A petawatt is about 1,000 times the capacity of the entire U.S. electric grid. The high-energy, low-dispersion (HELD)...

Lab scientist wins outstanding doctoral thesis award from American Physical Society

Sept. 9, 2022- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist Alison Ruth Christopherson has earned the American Physical Society’s (APS) Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis award. The award recognizes exceptional early-career scientists who have performed original thesis work of outstanding scientific quality and achievement in the area of plasma physics. Christopher...

Burning Plasma Team receives honor from American Physical Society

Sept. 9, 2022- 
The Burning Plasma Team has been awarded the 2022 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research by the American Physical Society. The team consists of members from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and from other institutions. The team was cited “for the first laboratory demonstration of a burning deuterium-tritium plasma where alpha heating dominates the...

A deep dive into the interior of red dwarfs

Sept. 8, 2022- 
Red dwarfs are the most abundant stars in the Milky Way, making up 70% of all stars. But the physics of their interiors is not well understood. Heat is generated in the core and travels outward to the surface, but it is not clear whether that process occurs via radiation, convection or a combination of the two. The key factor determining whether red dwarfs are radiation- or convection...

Livermore researchers collect three awards among the top 100 industrial inventions

Sept. 7, 2022- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and engineers have garnered three awards among the top 100 industrial inventions worldwide. The trade journal R&D World Magazine recently announced the winners of the awards, often called the “Oscars of invention,” recognizing new commercial products, technologies and materials that are available for sale or license for their...

Researchers design a compact high-power laser using plasma optics

Aug. 19, 2022- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have designed a compact multi-petawatt laser that uses plasma transmission gratings to overcome the power limitations of conventional solid-state optical gratings. The design could enable construction of an ultrafast laser up to 1,000 times more powerful than existing lasers of the same size. Petawatt (quadrillion-watt) lasers...

Three peer-reviewed papers highlight scientific results of National Ignition Facility record yield shot

Aug. 8, 2022- 
After decades of inertial confinement fusion research, a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules (MJ) was achieved at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) for the first time on Aug. 8, 2021, putting researchers at the threshold of fusion gain and achieving scientific ignition. On the one-year anniversary of this historic achievement, the scientific...

Lab researchers win top award for machine learning-based approach to ICF experiments

Aug. 4, 2022- 
The IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) announced a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) team as the winner of its 2022 Transactions on Plasma Science (TPS) Best Paper Award for their work applying machine learning to inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments. In the paper, lead author Kelli Humbird and co-authors propose a novel technique for calibrating ICF...

LLNL physicist Debbie Callahan receives fusion leadership award

July 25, 2022- 
The Fusion Power Associates (FPA) Board of Directors has selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Debbie Callahan as a recipient of its 2022 Leadership Award. Callahan will receive the award at the Fusion Power Associates 43rd Annual Meeting and Symposium, Dec. 7–8, in Washington, D.C. Kathryn McCarthy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory also was selected to...

LLNL helping create a cryo target capability for French laser facility

July 14, 2022- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers are collaborating with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, known as CEA, to help develop a cryogenic target system for the CEA’s Laser Mégajoule (LMJ). The LMJ is a laser fusion counterpart to the National Ignition Facility (NIF), now conducting experiments near Bordeaux, France. Like NIF, the LMJ intends...

New target facility will help unlock plutonium’s secrets

June 10, 2022- 
Improving our understanding of the physical characteristics of plutonium as it ages is a vital aspect of maintaining the reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent in the absence of underground testing. The recent installation of a new plutonium target fabrication facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) aims to further progress toward that goal. Researchers have developed...

Laser-based ultrasound detects defect-producing features in metal 3D printing

April 28, 2022- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have developed a new all-optical ultrasound technique capable of performing on-demand characterization of melt tracks and detecting formation of defects in a popular metal 3D printing process. In a paper published by Scientific Reports, Lab researchers propose a diagnostic using surface acoustic waves (SAW), generated by laser...

Researchers update measurement ratios key for inertial confinement fusion experiments

April 27, 2022- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have refined the measurement of the gamma (γ)-to-neutron branching ratio in deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion reactions. This reaction is a viable candidate for fusion energy, as it is known to have the largest cross section at center-of-mass energies below 500 keV. There are different branches of this reaction. These include an...

White House summit celebrates fusion milestones, discusses 'bold' 10-year plan for commercialization

March 28, 2022- 
Recent scientific advancements in fusion, combined with increasing private investments and the urgent need to address climate change, mean the “time is now” for accelerating fusion energy commercialization, fusion experts said at a White House summit on March 17. Hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the first...

Holographic plasma lenses for ultra-high-power lasers

March 14, 2022- 
In the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s highest-energy laser system, a complex series of glass optics — including amplifiers, mirrors, wavelength converters and focusing lenses — strengthens and guides the laser light to its destination. Over the years, researchers have developed and refined these optics so they can withstand the intense energies generated by NIF’s powerful laser...

LLNL constructing high-power laser for new experimental facility at SLAC

March 11, 2022- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decades of leadership in developing high-energy lasers is being tapped to provide a key component of a major upgrade to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). Over the next several years, LLNL’s Advanced Photon Technologies (APT) program will design and construct one of the world’s most powerful petawatt...

NIF helps unravel mysteries of heat conduction in galaxy clusters

March 9, 2022- 
An international team led by scientists from the University of Oxford Department of Physics, the University of Rochester and the University of Chicago turned to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) to help unravel the inner workings of heat conduction in clusters of galaxies — the largest structures in the universe. These clusters are made of...

LLNL scientists confirm thermonuclear fusion in a sheared-flow Z-pinch

March 7, 2022- 
In findings that could help advance another “viable pathway” to fusion energy, research led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicists has proven the existence of neutrons produced through thermonuclear reactions from a sheared-flow stabilized Z-pinch device. The researchers used advanced computer modeling techniques and diagnostic measurement devices honed at the Lab to...