Ramp compression of iron provides insight into core conditions of large rocky exoplanets

April 16, 2018- 
In a paper published today by Nature Astronomy, a team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Rochester have provided the first experimentally based mass-radius relationship for a hypothetical pure iron planet at super-Earth core conditions. This discovery can be used to evaluate plausible...

Tour guides put NIF's best foot forward

April 10, 2018- 
In 2017, after more than eight years of operation, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) reached its epic 2,000th shot. Over that time, as the shot rate steadily climbed, other important numbers also have risen dramatically. By the end of 2017, the total number of people exposed first-hand to NIF’s world-class technology and achievements by...

Lab researcher elected fellow of Optical Society

Oct. 18, 2017- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researcher John Heebner has been elected a fellow of The Optical Society of America (OSA). Heebner was cited for his "numerous innovations, achievements and technical leadership in high-energy laser systems and integrated optics including nonlinear optical microresonators and ultrafast light deflectors." Heebner leads the Ultrafast Optical and...

Plasma optic combines lasers into superbeam

Oct. 16, 2017- 
Since its introduction in the 1977 film "Star Wars," the Death Star has remained one of science fiction’s most iconic figures. The image of Alderaan’s destruction at the hands of the Death Star’s superlaser is burned into the memory of millions of fans.   Scientists and laser experts have maintained that this superbeam could never work due to the properties of lasers -- theory says that...

Lab scientists develop next-generation NIF optics to boost energy and limit damage

April 6, 2017- 
A new anti-reflective coating and a novel chemical process for laser optics, developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, represents an important breakthrough in its effort to boost the energy of the National Ignition Facility’s (NIF) 192 giant lasers, and cut the cost of repairing or replacing damaged optics vital to its operation. The coating was developed to...

The softer side of NIF hohlraums

March 17, 2017- 
Considering that nothing precious comes from an online retailer without protective padding, could precision laser targets also benefit from similar high-tech swaddling? So far the answer is yes, for a group of scientists developing new target technologies for NIF that are intended to neutralize what they believe is one of the bigger challenges to achieving ignition. The goal, said Lawrence...

National Ignition Facility's dual-purpose positioner is proving its worth

Feb. 16, 2017- 
While multitasking may be easy for some people (and perhaps hard for others), it can be a particular challenge for the highly specialized equipment used to carry out experiments on the National Ignition Facility (NIF).But TanDM, NIF’s new Target and Diagnostic Manipulator, is designed to do just that. To date, it is proving itself more than up to the job of performing as a target positioner...

National Ignition Facility tops 400 shots in FY16

Sept. 26, 2016- 
LIVERMORE, California – On Sept. 18, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) performed its 400th experiment of fiscal year (FY) 2016, meeting the year's goal several weeks early. In comparison, the facility completed 356 experiments in FY15 and 191 experiments in FY14. NIF is on track to complete 415 experiments by the end of the fiscal year, more than doubling its FY14 accomplishments. Located...

Diagnostic provides top-down view of neutrons

June 13, 2016- 
A new diagnostic built on the National Ignition Facility's (NIF) roof is giving researchers a clearer picture of the neutrons released during laser-driven implosions of target capsules containing deuterium or deuterium and tritium (DT).Instruments inside the North Pole neutron Time of Flight (nTOF) enclosure, a structure slightly larger than an industrial shipping container, detect and record...

NIF experiments shed light on turbulent mix

Feb. 2, 2016- 
Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are leading an experimental campaign on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) designed to further understand turbulent mix models used in both high energy density (HED) and inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments. NIF is the only facility with the energy and shot-to-shot reproducibility needed for the experiments.During shots using...

Shaped laser pulse experiments boost understanding of NIF performance

Oct. 15, 2015- 
In a recent series of papers, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists examined the role of ablation-front instability and capsule convergence ratio in ignition science experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF).The papers address different aspects of an "adiabat-shaping" experimental campaign, which was performed to controllably assess the effects of ablation-front...

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...

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...

Providing data for nuclear detectives

March 3, 2015- 
Fans of the popular TV series "CSI" know that the forensics experts who investigate crime scenes are looking for answers to three key questions: "Who did it; how did they do it; and can we stop them from doing it again?"The field of nuclear forensics, an important element of LLNL’s national security mission, has similar goals and uses similar techniques — but with even higher stakes."In...

Top 10 science and technology stories of 2014

Dec. 17, 2014- 
In 2014, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) built on a 62-year tradition of translating basic science into technologies that ensure national security, address pressing real world problems and expand the boundaries of fundamental science.The top stories of the year are a reflection of the Laboratory’s ability to apply its core national security competencies to a broad set of rapidly...

Physics World names National Ignition Facility fuel gain top 10 breakthrough of the year

Dec. 15, 2014- 
Physics World, an international monthly magazine published by the Institute of Physics, has named the National Ignition Facility’s (NIF) achievement of fuel gain one of its top 10 breakthroughs of the year.Ignition — the process of releasing fusion energy equal to or greater than the amount of energy used to confine the fuel — has long been considered the "holy grail" of inertial confinement...

Vital NIF diagnostic receives upgrade

Nov. 6, 2014- 
When the National Ignition Facility’s 192 intense laser beams are fired, a series of complex events begins. To capture and measure the vast amount of data generated during experiments, NIF is now equipped with about 60 nuclear, optical and X-ray diagnostics. One of these diagnostics, the Near Backscatter Imager (NBI), recently received an upgrade.Developed in the mid-2000s, the NBI is run...

NASA taps Livermore photon scientists for heat-shield research

Oct. 27, 2014- 
Researchers in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's NIF & Photon Science Directorate are working with NASA Ames Research Center at Moffet Field, California on the development of technology to simulate re-entry effects on the heat shield for the Orion spacecraft, NASA's next crewed spaceship. Orion is designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit to deep-space destinations such as an...