National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Experimental Science

NNSA and Office of Experimental Sciences logos.

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics supports the National Nuclear Security Administration as a leading academic institution advancing laser technologies, fusion, and high-energy-density (HED) science at a scale that is relevant. LLE’s program directly contributes to many of NNSA’s main goals and HED research activities, including providing experimental data to inform stockpile stewardship applications, determining the efficacy of developing inertial fusion ignition and high-yield platforms, and training the next generation of stockpile stewards.

Pyramid diagram showing NNSA's Priorities, LLE Research Thrusts, and OMEGA Next through the 2020s to the 2040s.

High-level goals of the inertial confinement fusion plan that are focused on a future robust high-yield (>100 MJ) facility for stockpile stewardship applications, which require a next-generation university-scale facility for ICF and HED science through precision diagnostics, advanced computing, and fourth-generation drivers.

LLE’s NNSA Program is organized around four major technical topics associated with HED stockpile science: Thermonuclear Burn (TNB), Radiation Hydrodynamics and Transport (RH&T), Material Properties (MP), and Output and Survivability (O&S). The major thrust areas are:

Inertial Fusion and Ignition Physics (TNB, RH&T, O&S): Developing high-fusion-yield (>100-MJ) ignition platforms has been identified by NNSA as an essential long-term goal. Such a capability will enable stockpile stewardship applications at relevant conditions (TNB) and provide radiation and neutron sources to enable the RH&T and O&S goals. This multidisciplinary research is led by the groups:

High-Energy-Density (HED) Physics (RH&T, MP, TNB): Develop computational tools and experimental platforms for fundamental material properties studies. This multidisciplinary research is led by the groups:

Laser Science and Technology (TNB, RH&T, MP, O&S): Develop new laser technologies, enabling high-gain designs, and high-pressure HED platforms.

Omega Operations: LLE hosts the Omega Laser Facility, one of the three primary NNSA HED facilities, and the largest laser facility in the world at an academic institution.

Education and Workforce Development: One of LLE’s principle strategies is to expand the opportunities to educate and challenge a diverse, technical, and inclusive cadre of scientists, engineers, and technicians for careers relevant to the NNSA missions; this includes high school, BEST High School Student and Teacher Research Program, undergraduate program, and Ph.D. programs both at the University of Rochester and through other academic partners.