Rare earths advance search for unified theory

Oct. 14, 2015- 
Rare earth elements are used in computer hard drives, electric motors and to generate and amplify the lasers at Lawrence Livermore’s National Ignition Facility (NIF). Future applications may include serving as memory for a quantum computer or the basis for ultrastable clocks. In recent work by LLNL scientist Michael Hohensee and colleagues, the team shows that the properties that make rare...

Fusion Power Associates honors LLNL scientists

Sept. 29, 2015- 
The Fusion Power Associates (FPA) Board of Directors has selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) nuclear engineer Susana Reyes as the recipient of its 2015 Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award. The FPA also will present a Special Award to LLNL fusion scientist Wayne Meier. The awards will be presented at the FPA’s 36th Annual Meeting and Symposium, "Strategies to Fusion Power...

Researchers put pressure on hydrogen

Sept. 23, 2015- 
A National Ignition Facility (NIF) experimental campaign may have unlocked scientific secrets behind how hydrogen becomes metallic at high pressure."Hydrogen properties are still puzzling," said Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Marius Millot. "In particular, back in 1935, it was predicted that hydrogen should become metallic at sufficiently high pressure. But, using...

Experiments illuminate supersonic radiation flow

Sept. 9, 2015- 
A multi-institutional team of scientists fired the 26th and final shot of the Pleiades experimental campaign at the National Ignition Facility last month. The campaign has created a new scientific foundation for the study of supersonic radiation flow in astrophysical phenomena and in inertial confinement fusion physics.Begun in 2011, the campaign was fielded by Los Alamos National Laboratory...

National Ignition Facility fires 300th shot in FY15

Aug. 18, 2015- 
Last week, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) fired its 300th laser target shot in fiscal year (FY) 2015, meeting the year’s goal more than six weeks early. In comparison, the facility completed 191 target shots in FY 2014. Located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the NIF is the world’s most energetic laser.Increasing the shot rate has been a top priority for the Inertial...

Researchers reveal new electron ring formations

Aug. 11, 2015- 
Laser wakefield acceleration, a process where electron acceleration is driven by high-powered lasers, is well-known for being able to produce high-energy beams of electrons in tabletop-scale distances. However, in recent experiments, a team of scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) revealed new, never-before-seen...

LLNL tops Physics of Plasma's most-cited list

July 30, 2015- 
Physics of Plasmas (PoP), a peer-reviewed journal publishing original experimental and theoretical contributions in plasma physics, recently released a list of the most-cited papers for January-June 2015.Out of the 30 most-cited papers on the list, the top five had lead authors from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. No. 8, 9 and 17 on the list were also led by LLNL, for a total of eight...

LLNL scientist awarded 2015 Fabre Prize

June 25, 2015- 
Pierre Michel, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), has been awarded the 2015 Edouard Fabre Prize for his pioneering research into energy transfer between crossing laser beams in National Ignition Facility (NIF) hohlraums.Named for one of the founders of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) in Europe, the Edouard Fabre prize is awarded to active researchers within 15...

Dante: Measuring NIF's inferno

June 10, 2015- 
The smooth blue sphere of the National Ignition Facility's (NIF) target chamber bristles with diagnostics — nuclear, optical and X-ray instruments that together provide some 300 channels for experimental data. These diagnostics provide vital information to help NIF scientists understand how well an experiment performed.Two of these diagnostics, known as Dante 1 and Dante 2, are pressed into...

Supplying the 'life-blood' of science

May 29, 2015- 
Located one-and-a-half floors underground in LLNL's Bldg. 151, the Nuclear Counting Facility (NCF) leverages its well-shielded, low-background environment to accurately measure nuclear materials for the National ignition Facility (NIF) and a variety of other Laboratory programs.The NCF has been providing high-sensitivity radiation measurements since the inception of radiochemical diagnostics...

Lawrence Livermore scientists move one step closer to mimicking gamma-ray bursts

May 27, 2015- 
Using ever more energetic lasers, Lawrence Livermore researchers have produced a record high number of electron-positron pairs, opening exciting opportunities to study extreme astrophysical processes, such as black holes and gamma-ray bursts.By performing experiments using three laser systems — Titan at Lawrence Livermore, Omega-EP at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (link is external) and...

The art of hand-polishing precision optics

May 22, 2015- 
Growing up in a household of artists and engineers, Peter Thelin was destined for a career in which artistry mattered. Only for him, art has come in the form of manipulating the shapes, sizes and qualities of optics. And now, as one of the few remaining practitioners of hand-polishing optics, Thelin is passing his artistry along to the next generation of optics specialists."Art is anything...

Climbing the mountain of fusion ignition: an interview with Omar Hurricane

May 14, 2015- 
LLNL Distinguished Scientist Omar Hurricane, chief scientist for the Laboratory’s Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program, is at the forefront of the drive to achieve nuclear fusion with energy gain for the first time in a laboratory. In a wide-ranging interview with NIF & Photon Science News, Hurricane outlines the NIF strategy for moving toward ignition and describes the challenges...

Congressman Swalwell visits Lab to witness experiment at National Ignition Facility

May 5, 2015- 
Congressman Eric Swalwell visited the Laboratory Monday to witness an experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF).After an initial overview by NIF Director Mark Herrmann, Swalwell was greeted by Lab Director Bill Goldstein, Livermore Field Office Manager Nicole Nelson-Jean and NIF & Photon Science Principal Associate Director Jeff Wisoff.The group moved to the facility’s Control Room,...

Congressman Swalwell visits Lab to witness experiment at National Ignition Facility

May 5, 2015- 
Congressman Eric Swalwell visited the Laboratory Monday to witness an experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF).After an initial overview by NIF Director Mark Herrmann, Swalwell was greeted by Lab Director Bill Goldstein, Livermore Field Office Manager Nicole Nelson-Jean and NIF & Photon Science Principal Associate Director Jeff Wisoff.The group moved to the facility’s Control Room,...

Researchers toss around rugby-shaped hohlraums for ignition experiments

May 1, 2015- 
For several years, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has pursued an indirect drive approach to ignition, using cylindrically shaped gold cans known as hohlraums.In this configuration, all of NIF’s 192 laser beams enter the hohlraum through a pair of laser entrance holes and deposit their energy on the gold (or depleted uranium) interior...

Promising new X-ray microscope poses technical challenges

April 30, 2015- 
You may think the aisles in your neighborhood convenience store are crowded, but they’d look positively spacious compared to the passageways in the NIF target bay.The target bay bristles with dozens of instruments needed for NIF experiments, ranging from inserters that hold NIF targets in place to cameras and other diagnostics that record the results of NIF shots. Fitting a new diagnostic...

Unlocking the secrets of star creation

April 29, 2015- 
On April 1, 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, captured the famous images of the "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula. Twenty years later to the day, the NIF Team conducted the first experiment in a new Discovery Science campaign aimed at finding clues to the mystery of how stars are born in these spectacular cosmic formations."This project...

Thinner capsules yield faster implosions

April 24, 2015- 
In National Ignition Facility (NIF) inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments, the fusion fuel implodes at a high speed in reaction to the rapid ablation, or blow-off, of the outer layers of the target capsule. To reach the conditions needed for ignition, the fuel must implode symmetrically at a peak velocity of about 350 kilometers per second— without producing hydrodynamic instabilities...

30 years and counting, the X-ray laser lives on

April 14, 2015- 
More than 50 years ago, when the laser was a mere 5 years old, laser physicists dreamed of the development of an X-ray laser to expand the frontier of knowledge.The concept goes back to the mid-1960s, when scientists realized that laser beams amplified with ions would have much shorter wavelengths than beams amplified with gas.Instead of trying to make a laser oscillator, they sought to...