Office of the Director

LLE is a unique national resource for research and education in science and technology and a major asset of the University. The Rochester area and the University have a history of innovation that provides a singular environment for LLE within a technologically sophisticated scientific community, resulting in substantial regional economic impact. Established in 1970 as a center for the investigation of the interaction of intense radiation with matter, LLE has a five-fold mission: (1) to conduct laser-fusion implosion experiments in support of the National Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program; (2) to develop new laser and materials technologies; (3) to provide education in electro-optics, high-power lasers, high-energy-density physics, plasma physics, and nuclear fusion technology; (4) to conduct research and development in advanced technology related to high-energy-density physics; and (5) to operate the National Laser Users' Facility (NLUF).

The year 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser. The year was also the 81st anniversary of The Institute of Optics, one of the exceptional departments within the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The potential of the laser was immediately recognized at the University because of the excellence and expertise of both the University of Rochester faculty and the Rochester community in the physical sciences, particularly physics and optics. Exceptional leadership at the University, especially that of the University's 7th President, Robert L. Sproull, a well-respected physicist and administrator as well as a former director of the U.S. Government's Advanced Research Projects Agency, led to the establishment of the Laboratory in 1970.

The Office of the Director has provided vital leadership since the inception of the Laboratory more than 40 years ago. Starting with a modest staff and budget, the scope of the oversight provided by the Office has encompassed areas such as National and Energy Security Policy, world-class optical design and manufacturing, basic science research in high-energy-density physics including laboratory astrophysics, plasma nuclear physics, dynamics of materials under high stress, and non-linear hydrodynamics as well as the successful mentoring of graduate, undergraduate and high school students. Today the Office of the Director continues to provide energetic and visionary leadership in the Laboratory's overarching quest for inertial confinement fusion, assuring the Laboratory's success for years to come.

The senior leaders reporting to the Office of the Director include:


Director Robert L. McCrory, Ph.D.

Vice President and Vice Provost
Chief Executive Officer and
Director of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
University of Rochester

Robert L. McCrory received his B.Sc. in Physics (1968) and his Ph.D. in Applied Plasma Physics (1973) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an Alfred P. Sloan National Scholar (1964–1968) and as an Atomic Energy Commission Special Fellow (1968–1973). After positions as a Research Associate in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at MIT and Staff Member in the Theoretical and Theoretical Design Divisions at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, he joined the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) as a Scientist in 1976 and was promoted to Sr. Scientist in 1977.

Prof. McCrory has made numerous contributions to inertial fusion, beginning with his work on the wavelength dependence of hydrodynamic efficiency on laser-driven targets and the hydrodynamic stability of inertial fusion capsules. He has been and remains the national leader of the development of the direct-drive inertial fusion concept. Prof. McCrory is the author or co-author of over 250 scientific journal publications.

In 1983, he was named Director of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a position he holds to this day. In 1984 he was named Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and in 1986 he was promoted to Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He was named Professor of Physics in 1999. Since becoming Director, Prof. McCrory has been responsible for securing over $1.24 billion (as spent dollars) or $1.6 billion (FY 2013 dollars) in funding for LLE. LLE has consistently received outstanding reviews from DOE and NNSA. Through his leadership, LLE built the OMEGA 60 Laser System (1995) and the OMEGA EP laser systems (2008) that continue to maintain LLE's leading international position in high-energy, high-peak power lasers.

Prof. McCrory served as a member of the University of Rochester Faculty Senate (1986–1989, 1990–1992, and 1994–1996). He also served as the chair of the Faculty Senate's research policy committee (1997). From 1997–2003, Prof. McCrory served as the Executive Director of Governmental Relations under President Thomas Jackson.