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Lasers and Optical S&T

NIF Army veteran attends Medal of Honor ceremony

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…

New research finds lead toughens up under extremes

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 …

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

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…

Summer scholar reels in ‘STRIPED FISH’ for NIF

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…

Artist wins award for ‘Best Comic Design’

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…

Lab scholar makes impact on new diagnostic

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…

NIF celebrates a decade of operations

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…

Physicist Maria Gatu Johnson wins APS award

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…

Study reveals new structure of gold at extremes

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…

Three Lawrence Livermore scientists named senior members of the Optical Society

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…

NIF tops Physics of Plasmas 'most cited'

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…

Dynamic compression provides new insight into understanding and predicting crystal growth

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…

Making metal with the lightness of air

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…

ARC experiments exceed expectations

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…

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

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…

Sandia's Line VISAR has roots in Livermore

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…

LLNL's Virtual Beam Line++ now available

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…

New method for better laser-material interaction

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…

Laser Institute honors safety officer Jamie King with Rockwell educational achievement award

The Laser Institute of America (LIA) has recognized Jamie King, certified laser safety officer (CLSO) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), with the R. James Rockwell Jr. Educational Achievement Award. The award was presented at the recent International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC), held in Kissimmee, Florida. The award, presented biennially since 2005,…

Bobbing shells key to future NIF targets

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) team of physicists and target engineers has reached an important goal with a new technique for electroplating copper and gold to create tiny, smoothly spherical inertial confinement fusion (ICF) target shells. The target designers engineered a method that electroplates a 1.5-millimeter plastic capsule as it bobs up and down…