Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



February 26, 2020

Spotlight on:

Meetings and Workshops

NIF-JLF User Group Celebrates Exciting Future for HED Science

The annual NIF and Jupiter Laser Facility User Group meeting brought together 186 researchers to review recent experimental results, preview upcoming Discovery Science campaigns, and learn about what’s new at both LLNL facilities. Here are highlights and photos. Read more...

Photo of Brandi Lechleiter

Brandi Lechleiter: Process Improvement Sparks Joy

Customized procedures, ever-changing processes, rigor, and paperwork — what might seem tedious to some sparks joy for Brandi Lechleiter, NIF classified operations assistant. Read more...

Photo of Jamie King

NIF’s Jamie King Elected to Laser Institute Board

LLNL and NIF & Photon Science certified laser safety officer Jamie King was elected to the Laser Institute’s board, expanding his role as an advocate for higher industry safety standards worldwide.
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Photo of a student looking at a NIF target

Soaring Eagles Visit NIF to Ignite Interest in STEM

A group of Native American middle and high school students toured NIF and met Native American employees who play important roles in moving the world forward through science and technology. Read more...

February 12, 2020

Photo of CPC Target

Focusing Targets Give ARC a Performance Boost

LLNL scientists have employed compound parabolic targets to achieve relativistic effects associated with significantly greater laser intensities. This innovation has substantially expanded the experimental capabilities of NIF’s Advanced Radiographic Capability laser. Read more...

NIF People: Control Systems

Photo of Russell Johnson examining cables

Keeping NIF’s Symphony of Controls in Tune

Keeping NIF humming is no easy task, but NIF’s control systems workers stand with pride alongside scientists and researchers to ensure the National Ignition Facility is able to carry out its vital mission. Read more...

Photo of Jorge Castro Morales

Profile: Jorge Castro Morales of NIF Computing

Jorge Castro Morales wears multiple hats for the NIF Computing division of LLNL’s Computing Directorate. He feels honored to work with a diverse team of multidisciplinary experts who resolve very complex problems. Read more...


January 28, 2020

Simulation of Rayleigh-Taylor Hydrodynamic Instability

Improving Understanding of NIF Implosion Instabilities

Thanks to years of focused studies, scientists are devising creative new methods for dealing with one of their biggest challenges to achieving fusion ignition. Read more...

Photo of Satellite Team

NIF-Inspired Mini-Satellite Is Flying High

LLNL’s Space Science and Security Program saw its first in-house designed and fabricated CubeSat go into orbit. The satellite’s optics are based on technology with origins tracing to the optical expertise that went into the creation of NIF. Read more...


January 22, 2020

Cut Away Image of Saturn

Compressed Copper Briefly Becomes Earth’s Densest Object

Scientists used NIF to compress microscopic copper samples to pressures surpassing the conditions found deep within the cores of Saturn and Jupiter, briefly creating the densest object on Earth. Read more...

Photo of Science & Technology cover

Gently Compressing Materials to Record Levels

Ramp compression experiments on NIF are helping scientists better understand the physics of solids compressed to extreme densities under a wider range of pressures and much lower temperatures. Read more...

January 9, 2020

Graphs showing pseudocolor images of laser intensity and ion density

Researchers Improve Model for Laser-Driven Plasma

A team of scientists from LLNL, Stanford University, and the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics have improved a method to more accurately model laser-driven plasma flows. Read more...

Photo of the 10,000th optic processed by the Optics Mitigation Facility

NIF Hits 10,000 Optics Recycle Milestone

NIF recently celebrated a significant milestone — the 10,000th optic processed by the Optics Mitigation Facility since NIF’s Optics Recycle Loop process launched. Read more...

Photo of LLNL colleagues during NIF-PLS Idea Day

Creativity Flows at Joint NIF-PLS ‘Idea Day’

NIF & Photon Science and Physical & Life Sciences employees discussed ways to collaborate on more scientific and technological research projects in the next 10 years. Read more...


December 2019

Photo of LLNL physicist Denise Hinkel

Physicist to Lead APS Division of Plasma Physics

LLNL physicist Denise Hinkel was elected vice chair of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Plasma Physics (DPP), the first step in a four-year leadership commitment that will include a stint as the organization’s chair. Read more...

Illustration of the STAR array

STAR Array Tests Materials’ Response to Shocks

At first glance it might be mistaken for the Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars”. But it’s actually a new radiation-effects diagnostic that nearly triples the number of material samples that can be exposed to x rays in a single NIF shot. Read more ...

A Look Back: “Star Wars” Edition

Illustration of Beamcombiner Principle

The Science of the Death Star

“Star Wars” fans know the Death Star blew up Alderaan with a superlaser. While that’s not yet possible, LLNL plasma researchers have combined separate NIF lasers into a “superbeam.” Story and video ...
Photo of Dawn Shaughnessy

Stellar Reactions in a Galaxy Not So Far, Far Away

NIF uses a diagnostic called VADER. Learn what the name means in this profile of LLNL nuclear chemist and “Star Wars” fan Dawn Shaughnessy. Read more...

Photo of LLNL colleagues discussing research during annual JHEDS and ICF APS Poster Social

Poster Social Brings Researchers Together

The annual JHEDS and ICF APS Poster Social gives Lab researchers a chance to share their work and start new collaborations. That proved especially true for one researcher, who this year had come full circle. Read more...

Photo of employee working on X-band accelerator for mono-energetic gamma ray (MEGa-Ray) test station

Accelerating New Discoveries in Nuclear Physics

NIF & Photon Science is one of three LLNL directorates that are investing in three new accelerators to rapidly expand research capabilities with powerful diagnostic and imaging tools. Read more...

Photo of LLNL scientist Federica Coppari

LLNL Researcher Honored by Academies of Sciences

LLNL scientist Federica Coppari was named a New Leader in Space Science by the U.S. and Chinese academies of sciences in honor of her contributions to the field of planetary science. Read more...

Photo of ultralight gold sample on top of a mosquito

Ultralight Gold Foam Shimmers in the Limelight

LLNL scientists have created the lightest gold foam to date. The new form of ultralight gold aerogel foam will be used for targets for NIF.
Read more...

Photo of NIF researchers at APS plasma physics conference

NIF Invited Talks at APS Plasma Physics Conference

Ongoing experiments on the Sun’s nucleosynthesis processes and an update on progress toward achieving ignition were among the invited talks about NIF-related research at an annual plasma physics conference. Read more...


November 2019

Photo of Conceptual diagram of a NIF hohlraum fitted with a B-field (magnetic-field) coil

Could Magnetized Targets Improve NIF’s Ignition Chances?

Researchers are working on a project to demonstrate how surrounding an ICF target with a powerful magnetic field could improve NIF’s implosion performance. Read more...

Graphic tracking lead placed under high pressure

Research: Lead Gets Harder Under High Pressure

A team of LLNL researchers has demonstrated that lead — a metal so soft that it’s difficult to machine under normal conditions — responds much like other, stronger metals when rapidly compressed. Read more...

Drawing of a Frustraum hohlraum

Frustraum Hohlraum Design Is Shaping Up

An angular hohlraum named “Frustraum” could become a key to the next stages of inertial confinement fusion research at the National Ignition Facility. Read more...

Photo of an re-engineered x ray source application test cassette

No Shots in the Dark

The Debris and Shrapnel Working Group is one of the many critical teams NIF relies on to keep it operational 24 hours a day nearly year round. Its mission is to evaluate risks to NIF equipment by using computer modeling, risk assessment analysis, and experience. Read more...

Photo of John Ruiz taken while he served in the Army in Iraq

NIF Army Veteran Attends Medal of Honor Ceremony

NIF mechanical designer John Ruiz recalls the intense firefight in Iraq that led to his former squad leader, David Bellavia, receiving the Medal of Honor. Read more...

Photo of Eyal Feigenbaum holding SPIE award

NIF&PS Researchers Garner LIA, SPIE Awards

The Laser Institute and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, honored a NIF&PS research team and an individual.
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Photo montage of NIF employees

Special Section: 10 Years of Dedication

This special section traces NIF’s 10 Years of Dedication—a look at where we started, what we’ve accomplished, and the people who are the driving force behind NIF. Read more...