Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy provides funding for many LLE research initiatives, including the following:
LaserNetUS, North America’s high-intensity laser research network, was established in 2018 by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to provide scientists and students from the U.S. and abroad with access to high-power laser facilities across the United States and Canada that house some of the most powerful laser systems in the world, including the OMEGA EP Laser System. With over 1200 members, LaserNetUS “has been extremely successful in providing opportunities and capabilities that were largely unavailable to the broad community prior to the formation of this network,” says Jean Paul Allain, Associate Director of Science for FES.
In June 2020 ARPA-E awarded the University of Rochester and LLE a $1.75 million, 3-year grant titled “Advanced Inertial Fusion Energy Target Designs and Driver Development.”
The goal is to advance inertial fusion energy (IFE) by developing (1) innovative direct-drive, high-bandwidth, high-gain target designs using high-bandwidth laser technologies with E < 1 MJ of laser input energy, and (2) high-efficiency, high-bandwidth IFE drivers to eventually enable experimental demonstration of the advanced target designs. The new laser-driver technologies, including both diode-pumped solid-state and excimer lasers, are expected to mitigate laser–plasma instabilities, potentially allowing for greater and more-symmetric energy coupling to the target. This work is the result of multiple decades of investment into inertial confinement fusion (ICF), which has achieved high target performance and helped place ICF on a path toward lower-cost IFE.