Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


July 11, 2018
National Ignition Facility sets new laser energy record
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility laser system has set a new record, firing 2.15 megajoules (MJ) of energy to its target chamber—a 15 percent improvement over NIF’s design specification of 1.8 MJ, and more than 10 percent higher than the previous 1.9 MJ energy record set in March 2012. (

July 11, 2018
NIF smashes energy record with 2.15 MJ pulse
Lawrence Livermore laser team beats previous best of 1.9 MJ, set more than six years ago. (

July 5, 2018
World’s most intense laser system declared fully operational

After five years of development, the world’s most intense diode-pumped petawatt laser has been declared fully integrated and operational. It was fired for the first time at the ELI Beamlines research institute in Dolní Břežany, Czech Republic, on 2 July 2018. (Electro Optics)

July 4, 2018
‘L3’ petawatt beamline switched on in Prague
‘First shot’ ceremony for LLNL-built laser system capable of producing a rapid stream of ultra-high-power pulses. (

June 26, 2018
Set Phasers to Stun: The Science Behind Star Trek
In a podcast, NIF’s Tammy Ma explores the science behind the 2009 reboot of the venerable sci-fi series. (Seeker) (Audio)

June 21, 2018
NIF Doubles the Energy From Its Target Shots
Experiments using new target designs have enabled researchers to double energy yields from thermonuclear targets after being hit by beams from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s huge National Ignition Facility laser system, the Laboratory reported last week. (The Independent)

June 21, 2018
The Twinkle in Mother Earth’s Eye: Laser Blasts Produce Promising Fusion Advances
What if you could have a miniature star powering your house, your computer, and your car? How cool would that be! Stars produce a lot of energy, and they get that energy through a process called fusion. Thanks to recent research at the National Ignition Facility, we’re now one step closer to using fusion as a power source—unlocking a virtually infinite supply of clean energy. (physics central)

June 18, 2018
Giant lasers pass new milestone towards fusion energy
Physicists working at the National Ignition Facility in the US say they have passed another important milestone in their quest for nuclear fusion energy. They have shown that the fusion energy generated by the laser implosion of a deuterium-tritium fuel capsule is twice that of the kinetic energy of the implosion. By further trebling the fusion energy, they say they will be close to the long-sought goal of an overall net energy gain. (Physics World)

June 15, 2018
NIF achieves new fusion output milestone
Researchers at the National Ignition Facility have taken another step toward their long-overdue goal of using lasers to attain a self-sustaining nuclear fusion reaction. On 14 June in Physical Review Letters, researchers described experiments that doubled previous records both for neutron yield (now at 1.9 x 1016) and fusion energy output (now at 54 kilojoules) generated from capsules containing cryogenic deuterium–tritium fusion fuel. (Physics Today)

May 4, 2018
7 Giant Machines That Changed the World—And 1 That Might
NIF’s lasers are used to create conditions not unlike those within the cores of stars and giant planets, which helps scientists to gain understanding about these areas of the universe. The NIF is also being used to pursue the goal of nuclear fusion. If we can crack the code for this reaction that powers stars, we’ll achieve unlimited clean energy for our planet. (

April 29, 2018
Exploding stars shed light on fusion energy
Observations from controlled nuclear fusion reactions have wide applications for nuclear technology. In particular, they offer a roadmap toward maximizing the efficiency of energy production. (Futurity)

April 27, 2018
From F-14 Catapult Shots to NIF Laser Shots
From serving as a Naval aviation electronics technician on F-14 fighters to building some of the most complex systems on the world’s largest laser, meet John Hollis. (Veterans Today)

April 26, 2018
Recreating supernova reaction yields new insights for fusion energy
To observe the impact of heat during fusion, researchers turned to the world’s largest laser in Livermore, Calif. (PhysOrg)

April 17, 2018
Ramp compression of iron provides insight into core conditions of large rocky exoplanets
In a paper published today by Nature Astronomy, a team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Rochester have provided the first experimentally based mass-radius relationship for a hypothetical pure iron planet at super-Earth core conditions. (PhysOrg)

April 16, 2018
Lasers squeezed iron to mimic the conditions of exoplanet cores
The experiment offers a hint of how the material behaves deep inside faraway worlds. (Science News)

April 16, 2018
Scientists May Use Lasers to Gauge if "Super-Earths" are Fit for Life
So-called “super-Earths” are the exoplanet du jour, probably because they remind us so much of home. These worlds—which have a mass higher than Earth’s but less than Neptune’s—are thought to be fairly common outside our solar system. Now, scientists using lasers to test iron samples in an experiment that could set up how we one day will gauge whether super-Earths are fit for life. (

April 13, 2018
A powerful new source of high-energy protons
An international team of researchers used the National Ignition Facility’s petawatt-class Advanced Radiographic Capability to begin developing a powerful new source of protons to study the extreme conditions deep inside the planets and the stars, enhance targeted tumor therapy and advance the frontiers of high energy density science. (PhysOrg)

March 30, 2018
LLNL Uses 3D Printing Glass Method to Manufacture Optical-Quality Glasses On Par with Commercial Products
LLNL researchers have successfully 3D printed optical-quality glasses that, for the first time, are on the same level as currently available commercial glass products. (

March 30, 2018
Scientists successfully print glass optics
For the first time, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have successfully 3-D-printed optical-quality glasses, on par with commercial glass products currently available on the market. (PhysOrg)

March 9, 2018
Lawrence Livermore’s Laser Facility Aims for Pinpoint Accuracy in Parts
Scientists and engineers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently turned to Protolabs’ digital manufacturing services to rapidly produce highly precise parts and components for the lab’s National Ignition Facility, which houses the largest laser facility in the world. (R&D Magazine)

February 5, 2018
New Form of Water, Both Liquid and Solid, Is ‘Really Strange’
Long theorized to be found in the mantles of Uranus and Neptune, the confirmation of the existence of superionic ice could lead to the development of new materials. (The New York Times)

February 5, 2018
Laser experiment hints at weird in-between ice
The odd state of matter may be found within icy planets like Neptune and Uranus. (Science News)

January 10, 2018
LLNL 10 shot per second Petawatt laser installed
The L3-HAPLS advanced petawatt laser system was installed last week at the ELI Beamlines Research Center in Dolní Břežany, Czech Republic. L3-HAPLS—the world’s most advanced and highest average power, diode-pumped petawatt laser system—was designed, developed and constructed in only three years by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s NIF and Photon Science Directorate and delivered to ELI Beamlines in June 2017. (Next Big Future)

January 10, 2018
Modifying the national ignition facility to exawatt short pulses with existing technology
An exawatt-scale, short-pulse amplification architecture based upon a novel pulse compressor arrangement and amplification of long-duration chirped beam pulses is capable of extracting the full, stored energy of a NIF or NIF-like beam line. (Next Big Future)

January 5, 2018
Computational astrophysics team uncloaks magnetic fields of cosmic events
The development of ultra-intense lasers delivering the same power as the entire U.S. power grid has enabled the study of cosmic phenomena such as supernovae and black holes in earthbound laboratories. Now, a new method developed by computational astrophysicists at the University of Chicago allows scientists to analyze a key characteristic of these events: their powerful and complex magnetic fields. (Phys.Org.)