Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



May 20, 2022

Spotlight on:

Experimental Highlights


A NIF Cryogenic Target

This photo, which first appeared on the cover of Nature, shows the type of target used to reach the burning plasma state in a laboratory experiment at NIF. Learn more about this target on our Photo Gallery page.
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April 20, 2022

Graphic showing target used in high-yield NIF experiments

Hurricane Outlines Steps to NIF’s Fusion Milestone

In an International Atomic Energy Agency webinar, ICF Chief Scientist Omar Hurricane described the process that led to the ground-breaking NIF experiment on Aug. 8, 2021. Read more...

Graphic showing an Electron Backscatter Diffraction map

Researchers Focus on Tantalum’s Strength

Researchers from LLNL, LANL, and Sandia teamed to better understand the strength of tantalum using conditions accessed by NIF and Sandia’s Z machine. Read more...

Science on Saturday

Science on Saturday: Harnessing Nuclear Fusion

Video: LLNL scientists Derek Mariscal and Dave Schlossberg presented a recent Science on Saturday session on “Bringing Star Power to Earth: Harnessing Nuclear Fusion.” Read more...

Photo of Yanto Mualim and Jerry Wheeler

Mentoring Program Creates Career Growth Rewards

An LLNL Engineering ombudsman supporting NIF&PS is “paying it forward” by mentoring a fellow Lab employee. Both have found the relationship beneficial. Read more...

March 31, 2022

Screenshot of LLNL Director Kim Budil moderating the opening panel of White House Fusion Summit

White House Summit Celebrates Fusion Milestones

NIF’s breakthrough experiment last August factored heavily in the discussions during a recent White House summit on fusion energy milestones and a “bold” 10-year plan for commercialization. Read more...

Photo of precision machinist Alan Ma

Precision Applied to Machining Operations Move

Machining operations for Target Fabrication were upgraded and consolidated without missing a minute of the continuous work of designing and delivering targets to the world’s largest laser. Read more...

Photo of Hye-Sook Park and Natalia Zaitseva

Shining a Light on Technical Excellence

Physicist Hye-Sook Park and materials scientist Natalia Zaitseva are members of LLNL’s Distinguished Member of Technical Staff (DMTS), the highest technical staff level achievable at the Lab. Read more...

Photo of Mary Spaeth, Tony Ruggiero, and Natalia Zaitseva

3 Named to LLNL Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame

Natalia Zaitseva, Mary Spaeth, and the late Tony Ruggiero have been inducted into the LLNL’s Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame. Read more...

March 15, 2022

Screenshot of virtual presentation by NIF & Photon Science Principal Associate Director Jeff Wisoff

2022 NIF and JLF User Groups Meeting

At this year’s meeting of the NIF and JLF user groups, facility leaders cited a number of HED science successes amid the challenges of the pandemic. Read more...

March 14, 2022

Illustration of a Holographic Plasma Lens

Holographic Plasma Lenses for High-Power Lasers

Livermore researchers and their colleagues are exploring ways to build laser optics from plasma—a charged mixture of ions and free electrons—to overcome limits imposed by conventional solid optics. Read more...

March 9, 2022

Video showing 3D radiation magneto-hydrodynamic FLASH simulation

NIF Helps Study Galaxy-Cluster Plasmas

New research just published in Science Advances details how an international team of scientists turned to NIF to help unravel the inner workings of heat conduction in clusters of galaxies—the largest structures in the universe. Read more...

Photo of Researcher Working in MEC Hutch

LLNL Constructing High-Power Laser at SLAC

LLNL’s decades of leadership in developing high-energy lasers is being tapped to provide a key component of a major upgrade to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s Linac Coherent Light Source. Read more...

Graphic summarizing some of the major requirements of an inertial fusion energy reactor

Prospects and Challenges for Inertial Fusion Energy

Excitement and optimism tempered by warnings against unrealistic expectations were the themes emerging from an LLNL-sponsored workshop on the potential for inertial confinement fusion energy.
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Image of the reduction of stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) backscatter

Controlling Backscatter Damage to NIF Optics

A Physics of Plasmas paper by LLNL physicist Joseph Ralph and scientist Andreas Kemp focused on an approach to controlling Stimulated Brillouin scattering damage to NIF optics. Read more...

March 2, 2022

Photo of James Mitrani

Thermonuclear Fusion in a Sheared-Flow Z-Pinch

Research led by LLNL physicists has proven the existence of neutrons produced through thermonuclear reactions from a sheared-flow stabilized Z-pinch device. Read more...

Photo of Saskia Mordijck, Kathryn Hulick, Arturo Dominguez, and Tammy Ma

NIF Expert Helps Shape Book Imagining the Future

NIF’s Tammy Ma helped shape a chapter in a new book imagining life on Earth in the not-so-distant future when fusion-generated electricity flows from a “trapped star.” Read more...

Image of the reduction of stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) backscatter

Understanding Hot-Spot Conditions at NIF

Research conducted at LLNL describes a validation exercise for simple models used to understand hot-spot conditions reached in an implosion at NIF. Read more...


SPECIAL SERIES: THRESHOLD OF IGNITION

Image of the Sun

The Elements of a Fusion Breakthrough

Part 1: NIF’s Aug. 8 “Wright Brothers moment” culminated years of research in lasers, optics, diagnostics, target fabrication, experimental design, and computer modeling and simulation. Read more...

Diagram of NIF Energy-Coupling Efficiency

‘Hybrid’ Experiments Drive NIF Toward Ignition

Part 2: The record shot was part of a series of high-yield big-radius implosion design experiments coupling the best of previous experiments with rapidly advancing diagnostic and modeling technology. Read more...

Operator Removes Neutron Imager Snout from a Diagnostic Instrument Manipulator

NIF Diagnostics Played Key Role in Fusion Milestone

Part 3: NIF’s highly specialized and sophisticated measuring instruments known as diagnostics were integral to the record-setting fusion experiment. Read more...

Image of Diamond Capsule Inside Hohlraum

Diamond Capsule Quality Enhanced Record Shot

Part 4: The quality of the high-density carbon (HDC), or diamond, target capsule was a factor in NIF’s record-smashing 1.3-megajoule (MJ) energy-yield experiment. Read more...

NIF 1.3 MJ F logo

Laser and Optics Upgrades Paved Way to Milestone

Part 5: The work of innovative NIF & Photon Science laser system engineering, operations, and optic materials teams prepared NIF for the record-setting Aug. 8 experiment that brought researchers to the threshold of ignition. Read more...

Illustration of Sierra supercomputer and NIF

Simulations Help Map NIF’s Path to Ignition

Part 6: ICF researchers use increasingly sophisticated computational models and simulations informed by diagnostic data and analysis of previous experiments to guide them toward ignition. Read more...

A NIF Plutonium Experiment

Future of Stewardship, Fusion Energy Science

Part 7: Two fields that stand to gain from NIF’s record shot are stockpile stewardship science and the quest for inertial fusion energy. Read more...

Graphic of 1.3 MJ Shot

Video: ‘The Threshold of Ignition’

In a video, LLNL’s Kim Budil, Jeff Wisoff, and Brad Wallin discuss how NIF’s historic 1.3 megajoule milestone is important for science and our nation’s nuclear and energy security. Read more...

Result of Cross-Beam Energy Transfer

NIF Generating Headlines Around the World

NIF’s significant step toward ignition is generating news stories around the world. You can find links to those stories on our In the News page.
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February 8, 2022

Photo of a cryogenic target. Credit: Jason Laurea

Nature: How LLNL Achieved Burning Plasma Regime

In the Jan. 26 issue of Nature, LLNL physicists detail how a burning plasma state was achieved for the first time in a laboratory during experiments at NIF in November 2020 and February 2021. Read more...

Illustration of the two inertial confinement fusion (ICF) designs

Burning Plasma Target and Laser Designs

In a Nature Physics paper, NIF researchers describe innovative target and laser designs that led to achieving a burning plasma state during experiments in 2020 and 2021. Read more...

Image of ICF experiment

Feb. 19: ‘Bringing Star Power to Earth’

Join LLNL scientists Derek Mariscal and Dave Schlossberg and Granada High School teacher Tom Shefler for this virtual “Science on Saturday” session on harnessing nuclear fusion. Read more ...

Photo of High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS)

LLNL, ELI-Beamlines to Ramp Up L3-HAPLS

LLNL and ELI-Beamlines have reached a major agreement to ramp up performance of the L3-High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (L3-HAPLS) to its full design capabilities. Read more...

Piston Model of a NIF Implosion

‘Piston Model’ Shows Impact of Asymmetry at NIF

New LLNL research explores the expansion of a classical mechanics model that has been useful for understanding asymmetries on inertial confinement fusion (ICF) implosions on NIF. Read more...


January 26, 2022

APS Logo

Fusion Milestone Creates Buzz at APS Meeting

LLNL physicist Debbie Callahan has given plenty of presentations over the years—but she didn’t expect a standing ovation at the 2021 APS Division of Plasma Physics meeting. Read more...

Photo of Christopher Stolz

NIF Optics Engineer Named SPIE Fellow

Christopher Stolz, an associate program manager in charge of the NIF optics supply, was elected as a fellow of the international society for optics and photonics. Read more...

January 20, 2022

Artist conception of a super-Earth with the NIF target chamber superimposed. Credit: John Jett

Ironing Out the Interiors of Exoplanets

LLNL scientists and collaborators used NIF’s lasers to experimentally determine the high-pressure melting curve and structural properties of pure iron descending toward the center of an extra-solar planet. Read more...

January 11, 2022

AI3 Logo

New AI Incubator Will Help ICF Research

LLNL has established the AI Innovation Incubator to advance artificial intelligence research for scientific and commercial applications that include ICF experiments at NIF. Read more...

Photo of Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm Touring NIF

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm Tours NIF

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm toured NIF in person for the first time since taking office. View photos...

Photo of John Foster applauding George Miller

George Miller Receives John S. Foster Jr. Medal

During a hybrid ceremony, LLNL Director Emeritus George Miller received the sixth John S. Foster, Jr. Medal for his long service to Lawrence Livermore and contributions to the nation’s security. Read more...

Photo of NIF Preamplifiers

Physics Today’s Most Read Story: Fusion Milestone

“Lawrence Livermore Claims a Milestone in Laser Fusion” was the most read story on Physics Today’s website in 2021. Read more...

Image of ICF experiment

Fusion Milestone a Science Breakthrough Finalist

We’re honored that NIF’s record-setting Aug. 8 fusion experiment finished as one of the runners-up for Science magazine’s scientific breakthroughs of 2021. Read more ...

Photo of Bruno Van Wonterghem

Redlining Lasers for Nuclear Fusion

In a Q&A interview with Nature Photonics, NIF’s Operations manager Bruno Van Wonterghem delves into NIF’s laser optics and what to expect next (fee may be required). Read more...


December 13, 2021

LLNL Day Background

LLNL Expands Outreach to HBCUs

Building on last year’s successful outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), this year’s LLNL Day was expanded into a virtual LLNL-HBCU career week. Read more...

Photo of Omar Hurricane

ICF Chief Scientist Wins Edward Teller Award

Omar Hurricane, chief scientist for LLNL’s inertial confinement fusion program, is a recipient of the American Nuclear Society’s prestigious Edward Teller Award. Read more...

Photo of Final Optics Assembly

Fusion Breakthrough One of Physics World’s Top 10

NIF’s fusion shot that brought researchers to the threshold of ignition was named one of Physics World’s Top 10 scientific “Breakthroughs of 2021.” Read more...


December 1, 2021

Image of two species types

Entropy Generation from ICF Hydrodynamic Mixing

Research conducted at LLNL is taking a closer look at entropy—the measure of internal energy per unit temperature that is unavailable for doing useful work—in ICF experiments at NIF. Read more...

Image of ICF experiment

Vote for NIF’s Fusion Milestone in Science Poll

We’re thrilled Science magazine nominated NIF’s record-setting Aug. 8 experiment as one of 2021’s top scientific “Breakthroughs of the Year.” You can help “Fusion’s Day in the Sun” win Science’s “People’s Choice” award. The first round of voting ends Dec. 6. Vote here (Twitter link) ...

Photo of L3-HAPLS

Lasers Without Limits

Science & Technology Review explores how LLNL scientists and engineers are anticipating the next generation of laser technology: very-high-average power short-pulse lasers. Read more...


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