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 Christopher Deeney

Christopher Deeney, Ph.D., is the fifth Director of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. He previously served as Chief Science and Technology Officer, National Security Directorate, at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), in addition to his years of experience at the Nevada National Security Site as a Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. He managed the almost $2 billion research and development portfolio for Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. As a researcher and senior manager, he worked at Sandia National Laboratories. Chris is known as a scientific and innovation leader with direct experience running complex operations, especially in high-energy-density physics.

In his role as Director, Deeney manages the Laboratory’s senior management staff, providing executive-level guidance and direction. He participates in the day-to-day management of the Laboratory; fosters successful relationships among University Senior Leadership; federal, local, and state government officials; peer organizations and laboratories; Department of Energy; National Science Foundation; Department of Defense; private industry; and the local community. He participates in ongoing University strategy development. At LLE, he develops strategies with an emphasis on bringing high-quality science and technology solutions to address key challenges in fusion, high-energy-density physics, and laser technologies while maintaining effective operations of the academia’s largest lasers and educating future generations of scientists and engineers.

Chris received his Ph.D. in Plasma Physics from the Imperial College in the United Kingdom. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Christopher Deeney

Christopher Deeney

Laboratory for Laser Energetics

LLE Mission Statement

The Laboratory has a five-fold mission:
  1. To conduct implosion experiments and basic physics experiments in support of the National Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program.
  2. To develop new laser and materials technologies.
  3. To provide graduate and undergraduate education in electro-optics, high-power lasers, high-energy-density physics, plasma physics, and nuclear fusion technology.
  4. To operate the National Laser Users’ Facility.
  5. To conduct research and development in advanced technology related to high-energy-density phenomena.