High Energy Density Science

Who We Are

Our staff members are creative and visionary laser and plasma physicists, materials scientists, chemists, computer scientists, engineers, technicians and analysts supported by health and safety experts and administrators. Meet a few of the people who work in high energy density science:


Daniel Casey
Inertial Confinement Fusion Science
Dayne Fratanduono
NIF and Photon Science Directorate
Kelli Humbird
Design Physics Division
Andrea "Annie" Kritcher
Design Physics Division
Sabrina Nagel
X-Ray Measurement & Diagnostic Science
Derek Mariscal
Advanced Photon Technologies Program

Our Latest News

Our Current Projects

Our work advances inertial confinement fusion research and supports mission-critical work in nuclear deterrence, stockpile stewardship and energy security.


consentrated laser beams converge on plasma target capsule


Achieving Fusion Ignition

For more than 60 years, our researchers and colleagues worked to achieve fusion ignition, one of science’s most challenging goals. An experiment on Dec. 5, 2022, passed this historic milestone, opening new vistas of HED science, enabling access to regimes even more relevant for future stockpile stewardship and helping to create the groundwork to a path for fusion energy.


Technicians work on diagnostic equipment


Specialized Diagnostics for Extreme Experiments

Grasping the extreme physics happening during HED experiments requires some of the most sophisticated measuring instruments ever made. Our highly specialized diagnostics operate in timescales of nanoseconds and detect interactions below the submicron level, often under intense bombardment of both particle and electromagnetic radiation. Diagnostics include streak cameras, neutron detectors, x-ray imaging and spectroscopy and the Advanced Radiographic Capability, the world’s most energetic short-pulse laser, located at NIF.


beams on target with magnified view of target reaction


Experimental Data Inform Weapon-Simulation Codes

NIF is the only facility that can perform controlled, experimental studies of thermonuclear burn — the phenomenon that gives rise to the immense energy of modern nuclear weapons — providing unprecedented experimental access to the physics of nuclear weapons. The experimental data complement testing at other Livermore and partner experimental facilities, help to inform and validate sophisticated, 3D weapons-simulation computer codes and offer a fuller understanding of important weapon physics.


Our Facilities, Centers and Institutes

HED science research is carried out at Livermore facilities and through partnerships with other world-class facilities with unique capabilities.


Related Organizations

World-class science takes teamwork. Explore the organizations that contribute to our research in high energy density science by clicking the images below.


Join Our Team

We offer opportunities in a variety of fields, not just science and technology. We are home to a diverse staff of professionals that includes administrators, researchers, creatives, supply chain staff, health services workers and more. Visit our careers page to learn more about the different career paths we offer and find the one that speaks to you. Make your mark on the world!