Omega Demonstrates Best Ignition-Scaled Cryogenic Target Performance To Date

2018:

The highest-performing direct-drive cryogenic implosions to date were conducted on the OMEGA Laser System. Shown here is a plot of the yield versus the areal densities for the OMEGA cryogenic implosions. Data from the 10 July 2018 shots are shown as black circles. The generalized Lawson criterion derived by Chang [P. Y. Chang et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 104, 135002 (2010)] are scaled to a NIF energy of 1.9 MJ and are shown as curves. The χno α = 1 line represents the onset of ignition in an ICF implosion on the NIF. July cryogenic implosion data have crossed the NIF χno α = 0.8 line and clearly show improved direct-drive implosion performance.

Shown here is the Best Ignition-Scaled Cryogenic Target Performance To Date

Best Ignition-Scaled Cryogenic Target Performance To Date

A New Form of Water Confirmed with Experiments at LLE

2018:

On 5 February, the New York Times Science section posted an article featuring an experiment conducted at LLE under the Laboratory Basic Science Program and was published in the journal Nature Physics [M. Millot, S. Hamel, J. R. Rygg, P. M. Celliers, G. W. Collins, F. Coppari, D. E. Fratanduono, R. Jeanloz, D. C. Swift, and J. H. Eggert, “Experimental Evidence for Superionic Water Ice Using Shock Compression,” Nat. Phys. 14 (3), 297-302 (2018)]. The paper discusses a new form of water that is simultaneously solid and liquid and highlights experiments conducted by a team of scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the University of California Berkeley, and the University of Rochester and led by Marius Millot, a physicist at LLNL. This new form of water is called “superionic water” and is not known to exist naturally on Earth. Scientists created it by squeezing water between two pieces of diamond to create a type of ice that is about 60% denser than usual. Then, on the OMEGA Laser System, a pulse of laser light was used to heat the ice to thousands of degrees to exert a pressure more than a million times that of Earth’s atmosphere. These conditions exist inside Uranus and Neptune and undoubtedly within numerous ice giants around other stars.

Studying Planetary Magnetic Fields

2018:

More than 80% of planets are composed of metallic hydrogen. However, metallic hydrogen is one of the rarest materials found on Earth. Mohamed Zaghoo, Research Associate, and Gilbert “Rip” Collins, Associate Director for Academics, Science, and Technology, have studied the conductivity of metallic hydrogen using experiments on the OMEGA Laser System to understand how planets form magnetic fields. Jupiter has one of the strongest magnetic fields in our solar system, and the “dynamo” mechanism that causes this is also present deep within the Earth. This dynamo creates our own magnetic field, making our planet habitable by shielding us from harmful solar particles. A key to Jupiter’s magnetic field may lie in understanding the properties of metallic hydrogen, which surrounds Jupiter’s core. A paper on their research was published in The Astrophysical Journal: M. Zaghoo and G. W. Collins, “Size and Strength of Self-Excited Dynamos in Jupiter-Like Extrasolar Planets,” Astrophys. J. 862(1), 19 (2018).

Shown here is Jupiter’s magnetic field

Funding Restored for LLE and ICF Program

2018:

On 12 September 2018, Josh Farrelman from the Office of Government and Community Relations announced that the FY19 Energy and Water Bill was released to approve $80M for LLE, a $5M increase over FY 2018 and the highest level of federal funding ever appropriated to the LLE in the University’s history. $545M was approved for the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

In early February the President’s Budget Request proposed a $30M cut to LLE, a $126M cut to the ICF program, and closing LLE in three years. Farrelman reported “Thanks to incredibly strong, bipartisan Congressional support led by Sen. Schumer and an outcry from the scientific community, we not only reversed a $30M cut and proposed closure of LLE, but we secured a $5M increase over last year. This represents an unprecedented $12M increase over the last two fiscal years. The $80M represents the highest level of federal funding ever appropriated to LLE in the University’s history and will serve as a critical basis for the first year of our new Cooperative Agreement with the DOE.”

Shown here is U.S. Senator, Chuck Schumer, visits LLE to speak out in support of the Laboratory

U.S. Senator, Chuck Schumer, visits LLE to speak out in support of the Laboratory On 12 September 2018, Josh Farrelman from the Office of Government and Community Relations announced that the FY19 Energy and Water Bill was released to approve $80M for LLE, a $5M increase over FY 2018 and the highest level of federal funding ever appropriated to the LLE in the University’s history. $545M was approved for the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program at the National Nuclear Security Administration. In early February the President’s Budget Request proposed a $30M cut to LLE, a $126M cut to the ICF program, and closing LLE in three years. Farrelman reported “Thanks to incredibly strong, bipartisan Congressional support led by Sen. Schumer and an outcry from the scientific community, we not only reversed a $30M cut and proposed closure of LLE, but we secured a $5M increase over last year. This represents an unprecedented $12M increase over the last two fiscal years. The $80M represents the highest level of federal funding ever appropriated to LLE in the University’s history and will serve as a critical basis for the first year of our new Cooperative Agreement with the DOE.”

Two Former LLE Researchers win Nobel Prize in Physics

2018:

Profs. Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou were awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” for their invention of chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) while at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics in the 1980s. Prof. Strickland developed CPA as a graduate student with Prof. Mourou as her advisor in The Institute of Optics. Strickland is only the third woman to receive the prize in physics, joining Marie Curie (1903) and Maria Goeppert-Mayer (1963). “We need to celebrate women physicists because we’re out there,” Strickland said. “I am honored to be one of those women.” Professor of Optics and former Institute of Optics Director, Wayne Knox said of Gérard Mourou, he is “one of the most visionary and creative people I’ve met in my whole life. He was always thinking about the next power of 10. If his laser was making 1018 watts per square centimeter, he wanted to build one that was a thousand times bigger.” Together, their invention revolutionized laser science, enabling amplification of ultrashort laser pulses by more than five orders of magnitude (a factor of 100,000 times).

Dynamic Compression Sector Target Area System Installed

2017:

Shown here is Senior Manufacturing Engineer Dale Guy (left) and Research Engineer Robert Earley (right) are shown working on the DCS target chamber

LLE’s Target Area System for the Dynamic Compression Sector (DCS) was installed at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) located at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. The system includes a target chamber, target positioner, and optical train to deliver the DCS laser. In addition to the port used to deliver the laser beam, the target chamber includes 15 large ports for target diagnostics and auxiliary systems and smaller ports for the Target Viewing System. The target chamber translates horizontally and vertically to align the target with various APS x-ray beam positions. The chamber also rotates through 135° to change the laser angle of incidence with respect to the x-ray beam; this supports a range of different experimental configurations. The laser beam path in the target area is an extension of the laser clean-room envelope.

Commissioning an X-Ray Detector System for Spectral Analysis of Tritium-Filled Targets

2017:

Shown here is Rory Hamilton working on the commissioning of an x-ray detection system

An x-ray detection system (XDS) has been modified to nondestructively measure the pressure of DT fuel inside a target just prior to a shot. The XDS comprises three primary components: a high-resolution, dual-axes imaging system for repeatable, accurate target positioning; a helium enclosure with triple-axes micrometer positioning; and an Amptek silicon drift detector (SDD). The SDD was fit with a silicon nitrate (Si3N4) window to measure x-ray energies from 200 eV to 40 keV. The detector features a 25-mm2 silicon drift diode with a measured 130-eV full-width-at-half-maximum resolution at 5.7 keV.

Laser-Driven MagLIF

2017:

Sandia National Laboratories and LLE entered into a collaboration to test the scaling of magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF) over a range of absorbed energy of the order of 1 kJ on OMEGA to 500 kJ on Sandia’s Pulsed-Power Facility (Z machine). This work is being funded with a two-year, $3.8M award from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to study the potential of combining these two different technologies to produce controlled fusion reactions.

Shown here is Horton fellow Daniel Barnak preparing components to be used on a MagLIF experiment on the OMEGA Laser System

Horton fellow Daniel Barnak preparing components to be used on a MagLIF experiment on the OMEGA Laser System
Star cluster image captured with the Hubble Telescope

Multi-Institutional Effort to Study “Extreme Matter”

2017:

The University of Rochester is leading a seven-institution collaboration that promises to significantly broaden human understanding of “extreme matter”—matter that exists under pressures far higher than either on or inside Earth. The collaboration, with local principal investigators Profs. Pierre Gourdain, Gilbert “Rip” Collins, and Dustin Trail, includes Cornell, Michigan, Idaho State, Iowa, Princeton, and Stanford. The research team will develop an instrument called a high-amperage driver for extreme states, or HADES, which will allow scientists to produce and study extreme matter.

The project is fully supported by the National Science Foundation, which awarded the University a $1.1M grant in August. While extreme matter does not exist naturally on or inside Earth, it is quite common in the universe, especially in the deep interiors of planets and stars. Prof. Gourdain notes that HADES will lead to new knowledge about star formation and planetary collisions, the potential for life on other planets, and the properties of materials that make up deep-space objects.

Shown here is a star cluster image captured with the Hubble Telescope

Star cluster image captured with the Hubble Telescope
Star cluster image captured with the Hubble Telescope

Dr. E. Michael Campbell Appointed Laboratory Director

2017:

Dr. E. Michael Campbell was named as the new Director of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics on 1 October 2017. Dr. Campbell is an internationally known expert in inertial fusion, high-energy-density physics, high-power lasers and their applications, and advanced energy technologies including Generation IV nuclear fission reactors and biofuels. He has won numerous awards including the Department of Energy’s E. O. Lawrence Award, the American Nuclear Society’s Edward Teller Award, the American Physical Society’s John Dawson Award, the Department of Energy’s Excellence in Weapons Research Award, and the Leadership Award of Fusion Power Associates. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the European Institute of Physics. He has published over 100 articles in scientific journals and holds five patents including the design of the first laboratory x-ray laser. He has given numerous invited and plenary talks at both national and international conferences. He is the originator of the Inertial Fusion Science and Applications Conference.

Shown here is Dr. E. Michael Campbell

Dr. E. Michael Campbell