Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Home of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s

largest and 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.

Unique Experiments

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 stockpile stewardship, make important advances toward achieving 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.

Exploring New Frontiers

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).

Keys to Our Success

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.

Our People and Partners

The nation’s investments in HED and fusion research pay dividends in our partnerships and tech transfer programs.
Our future science stars will help maintain the nation’s leadership in S&T. Learn about NIF&PS career opportunities.
Engaging the community and enabling future generations to contribute to society are part of our stewardship mission.

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