Students enrolled in our program have the opportunity to attend a number of seminars during their internship. They cover a wide variety of subjects and are given by leading experts in the field.

Past Seminars

Jeff Wisoff

NASA Astronaut Experiences

Presented by Jeff Wisoff

NIF and Photon Science Principle Associate Director Jeff Wisoff was a NASA astronaut earlier in his career, conducting a variety of missions including spacewalks testing tools for the Hubble Telescope repair and for the International Space Station. In his presentation, Jeff described his experiences in the astronaut program and his vision for its future.

optical fiber

Large-Scale Optics for NIF

Presented by Tayyab Suratwala

The NIF laser system required several leaps in optical design to achieve the amplification of 192 beams to 2 megajoules and beyond. From special optical glass to novel engineering and manufacturing techniques, the design history and upgrades at the world’slargest laser facility were discussed.

Bob Heeter

Opacity Experiments on NIF

Presented by Bob Heeter

The NIF laser and related facilities can generate high energy density matter states equivalent to those found in the center of stars and dense planet cores. The NIF opacity campaign performs experiments seeking to understand radiation properties of materials, including those found within the sun, under extreme conditions.

Laura Kegelmeyer

Machine and Deep Learning

Presented by Laura Kegelmeyer

NIF utilizes large specialty optics and operates near or above their damage threshold, so the facility’s Optics Inspection Program is critical to daily laser operations. The initiative involves innovative custom analysis and practical data science engineering, including machine and deep learning.


Fiber Fabrication and Fiber Lasers

Presented by Reggie Drachenberg

Optical fibers and fiber lasers have unique properties and capabilities that make them key components that are deployed in telecommunication, manufacturing, and sensing. An introduction to optical fibers and fiber lasers was presented, as well as an overview of optical fiber fabrication at LLNL and some examples of unique LLNL fibers.


Target Fabrication

Presented by Michael Stadermann

Targets are a central component in all NIF experiments. The targets themselves are complex little structures that have extreme requirements for quality and precision of all components and their assembly, and the materials required by the experiment often require the development of new materials and processes.


Fusion and Alpha Heating

Presented by Laura Berzak Hopkins

Producing a burning plasma in the laboratory has been a long-standing milestone for the plasma physics community. A burning plasma is a state in which alpha particle deposition from deuterium–tritium (DT)fusion reactions is the leading source of energy input to the DT plasma.

Marius Millot

Material Science on NIF

Presented by Marius Millot

Giant lasers such as the National Ignition Facility are unique tools to study how materials behave at the extreme pressures and temperatures that exist deep inside giant planets. Researchers use laser ablation to generate compression waves exceeding the pressure at the center of Jupiter (80 Mbar).

Emily Link

Ultra-Short-Pulse Lasers

Presented by Emily Link

Ultra-short pulses of intense laser light have been used to discover new science since the invention of the laser in 1960. The talk discussed the meaning of terms like “intense” and “ultra-short” and how intensity and pulse duration affect the science we can study with lasers.

Brian Spears

Deep Learning/AI and NIF Science

Presented by Brian Spears

Machine learning is the science of using computers to find relationships in data without explicitly knowing or programming those relationships in advance. Over the last few years, machine learning has found increasingly broad application in the physical sciences.