Home of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s highest-energy laser system


NIF is a key element of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s
science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program.

NIF’s 192 laser beams converge at the center of the Target Chamber to implode a tiny hydrogen fuel pellet and spark a thermonuclear fusion reaction.


The NIF & Photon Science Directorate is a premier international center for experimental science. NIF’s powerful laser beams create temperatures and pressures similar to those that exist in the cores of stars and giant planets and inside exploding nuclear weapons. These conditions enable hundreds of LLNL scientists, engineers, and technicians, along with national and international collaborators and users, to conduct one-of-a-kind experiments that help ensure the nation’s security through the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Stockpile Stewardship Program, achieve fusion ignition in the laboratory for the first time, and lay the groundwork for a safe, carbon-free, secure energy future through inertial fusion energy.


NIF enables scientists from across the nation and around the world to conduct unprecedented experiments in nuclear physics, high energy density science, materials science, weapon physics, and many other scientific disciplines. NIF laboratory experiments also allow NIF researchers, collaborators, and users to gain new insights into such mysterious astrophysical phenomena as supernovae, giant planets and exoplanets, new and dying stars, and black holes. Learn more about NIF. NIF & Photon Science is a principal directorate of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California. The facility is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).


NIF&PS people have carved a path rich with discovery.
Keeping the lasers firing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Control Systems operators run a symphony of shots.
New technologies advance the boundaries of optical science.
Partners in precision: big lasers, tiny targets.
Diagnostics reveal the inner details of NIF experiments.
Efficient operations boost NIF’s productivity.
Meet some of the pioneers who paved the way.


Productive Partnerships

Illustration Image of laser hitting target
The nation’s investments in HED and fusion research pay dividends in our partnerships and tech transfer programs.

Developing the Workforce

Image of employees working in lab
Our future science stars will help maintain the nation’s leadership in S&T. Learn about NIF&PS career opportunities.

Community Outreach

Image of employee doing a demonstration in front school students
Engaging the community and enabling future generations to contribute to society are part of our stewardship mission.



The National Ignition Facility is the world’s most energetic laser facility ever built.
World-class leaders join together to form the NIF & Photon Science management team.
NIF hires the best and the brightest minds to help solve the most complex scientific challenges facing the nation.
Glossary defining key technical terms for Fusion
We answer the most frequently asked questions and give you the opportunity to ask your own.
Take an onsite or virtual tour of the National Ignition Facility and see where ignition was discovered.