The National Laser Users’ Facility (NLUF) Celebrates its 35th AnniversaryDecember, 2014
In 1979, the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) designated the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester (UR) as the National Laser Users’ Facility (NLUF). This facility affords NNSA numerous opportunities to support essential academic research important to their mission to help maintain a safe, secure, and effective stockpile without the production of new fissile material or underground nuclear testing.
Data acquired in FY14 and currently under analysis include magnetic reconnection, plasma kinetic effects on inertial confinement fusion (ICF) implosions, the behavior of plasma jets, the stopping of ions in plasmas, cross sections of nuclear reactions relevant to stellar nucleosynthesis, and developing new diagnostics. This work focuses on basic physics issues, concerns directly relevant to the future success of ignition experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), and topics connected to high-energy-density (HED) physics and the physics of fields generated by laser–plasma interaction. These NLUF experiments have provided unique research opportunities in HED physics for graduate and undergraduate students and current NLUF data will appear in major parts of upcoming theses. Thirty-five years of investigative studies by NLUF have produced a significant testing ground for seasoned HED physics researchers to share their history, progress, and foresight, and for young scientists interested in acquiring the knowledge required for a viable, long-term fusion-energy source.
An independently managed Omega Laser Facility Users Group (OLUG), including over 300 scientists from 32 universities and 15 national research centers, facilitates communications among the users and between the user community, facility, and the broader scientific community. OLUG conducts an annual workshop at LLE with the following goals: (1) define improvements to the capabilities and operation of the facility that would advance research opportunities for all users and (2) provide an opportunity for young researchers to present their research in a very interactive yet informal setting. The research involves a variety of areas, which include inertial fusion, laboratory astrophysics, radiation hydrodynamics, plasma nuclear physics, hydrodynamic instabilities, studies of the equation of state of materials under ultrahigh pressures, plasma physics, extreme ultraviolet spectroscopy, and high-temperature and high-density plasma diagnostic development.