Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


July 21, 2021
Massive Machines Are Bringing Giant Exoplanets Down to Earth
Scientists are using football-field-sized lasers, warehouse-sized electromagnets and other immense facilities to reveal the deep secrets of planetary interiors. (Scientific American)

July 21, 2021
PEARC21 Panel: Wafer-Scale-Engine Technology Accelerates Machine Learning, HPC
Early use of Cerebras’ CS-1 server and wafer-scale engine (WSE) has demonstrated promising acceleration of machine-learning algorithms, according to participants in the Scientific Research Enabled by CS-1 Systems panel, presented at the PEARC21 conference. (HPC Wire)

June 28, 2021
Setting gold and platinum standards where few have gone before
Like two superheroes finally joining forces, Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine—generator of the world's most powerful electrical pulses—and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility—the planet’s most energetic laser source—in a series of 10 experiments have detailed the responses of gold and platinum at pressures so extreme that their atomic structures momentarily distorted like images in a fun-house mirror. (Space Daily)

June 27, 2021
Researchers Develop Precision Scale for Extremely High-Pressure Experiments
Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and the University of Hyogo in Kobe, Japan, have developed a way to more precisely measure high-pressure compression in the laboratory up to 10 million atmospheres. (The Independent)

June 23, 2021
The race to build a commercial fusion reactor hots up
An old joke about nuclear fusion—that it is 30 years away and always will be—is so well-known that The Economist’s science editor forbids correspondents from repeating it. No one doubts sustained fusion is possible in principle. It powers every star in the universe. Making it work on Earth, though, has proved harder. (The Economist)

June 23, 2021
The race to build a commercial fusion reactor hots up
An old joke about nuclear fusion—that it is 30 years away and always will be—is so well-known that The Economist’s science editor forbids correspondents from repeating it. No one doubts sustained fusion is possible in principle. It powers every star in the universe. Making it work on Earth, though, has proved harder. (The Economist)

June 17, 2021
Is Fusion Moving Closer?
After more than three decades in development, is nuclear fusion technology ready to start delivering on its promises? Advancements have recently been coming thick and fast, and it is becoming clear that the next five to ten years are going to be critical. (Nuclear Engineering International)

June 16, 2021
Virtual Reality Case Study
The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is home to the world’s largest and highest-energy laser. The facility is the size of a sports stadium that could fit three football fields. Employees there work on the world’s most precise and reproducible laser beam, which can guide, amplify, reflect and focus 192 laser beams into a target about the size of a pencil eraser in a few billionths of a second. But it was not immune from pandemic-forced changes. (GovLoop)

June 15, 2021
The Materials Scientist Who Studies the Innards of Exoplanets
Out in the vast universe, unknown billions of strange worlds drift around other stars. Many of them are quite unlike anything in our solar system. While astronomers hope to use immense upcoming observatories to get a better look at their outsides, Federica Coppari has been using the world’s largest laser to investigate their insides. (Quanta Magazine)

June 11, 2021
Novel X-Ray Spectrometer Designed to Examine High-Density Energy Plasmas
After nearly a decade of collaboration between the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Ignition Facility (NIF), scientists from DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have built a novel X-ray crystal spectrometer that would be able to provide clear, high-resolution measurements of HED plasmas produced by the NIF. (The Science Times)

June 8, 2021
Scientists create unique instrument to probe the most extreme matter on Earth
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), building on nearly a decade of collaboration with the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), have designed a novel X-ray crystal spectrometer to provide high-resolution measurements of a challenging feature of NIF-produced HED plasmas. (Newswise)

June 3, 2021
Putting the squeeze to Au and Pt
Scientists have studied the behavior of gold and platinum at pressures near 1 terapascal (TPa)—a trillion pascals—several times the pressure at Earth’s center. (Chemical & Engineering News)

May 26, 2021
Aspheric Lenses and Mirrors for Nuclear Research
As the power of laboratory lasers increases, aspheric lenses and mirrors have been pushed to deliver extremely high intensities. (AZO Optics)

May 21, 2021
Physicists Break the Speed of Light Using Plasma in New Experiment
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and the University of Rochester have seemingly broken the universal speed limit. (WKYC)

May 21, 2021
Physicists Have Broken The Speed of Light With Pulses Inside Hot Plasma
Sailing through the smooth waters of vacuum, a photon of light moves at around 300 thousand kilometers (186 thousand miles) a second. This sets a firm limit on how quickly a whisper of information can travel anywhere in the Universe. (ScienceAlert)

May 13, 2021
Q&A: Lawrence Livermore director Kimberly Budil on the evolving nuclear weapons enterprise
The physicist and Livermore veteran, the first woman to lead the famed facility, addresses the challenges facing the lab’s inertial confinement fusion and warhead modernization programs. (Physics Today)

May 5, 2021
Boosting Inertial-Confinement-Fusion Yield with Magnetized Fuel
Building on a decade of advances in the understanding of neutron production and hot-spot physics, researchers at the National Ignition Facility are pursuing magnetized fusion fuel as a potentially disruptive way to boost the performance of laser-driven implosion. (Physics)

April 28, 2021
UC San Diego engineering professor solves deep earthquake mystery
A University of California San Diego engineering professor has solved one of the biggest mysteries in geophysics: What causes deep-focus earthquakes? (EurekAlert!)

April 8, 2021
With ‘smoke ring’ technology, fusion startup marks steady progress
A private company betting on an innovative fusion technology announced today that its latest device can sustain high temperatures for long reaction times—a major step toward a reactor capable of producing more fusion energy than is consumed by the device. (Science)

March 19, 2021
10 Things About Star Trek Only Movie Fans Know
The real world of science and the science fiction universe of Star Trek collided in Star Trek: Into Darkness, as the warp core in the movie was actually a real-world laser system called Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility, or NIF. (

March 16, 2021
DOE advisory committee releases report in fusion energy
The Department of Energy’s Fusion Energy Science Advisory Committee (FESAC) has released a report that calls for the United States to move more aggressively toward nuclear fusion deployment. (Daily Energy Insider)

March 10, 2021
NSF CAREER Award recipient Thomas White explores the most extreme states of matter in the Universe
Assistant professor of physics receives funding to include undergraduate students in cutting edge physics research. (Nevada Today)

March 5, 2021
Dublin Students Test French Language Skills in Interview with LLNL Scientist
Students in the advanced placement French class at Dublin High School put their skills to the test recently during an interview with Dr. Laurent Divol, a physicist with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
(The Independent)

February 24, 2021
Get ready for Seurat’s Area Printing, a multi-laser, high-speed metal PBF process inspired by NIF
Like CERN, ITER, the ISS and NASA’s rovers, NIF (National Ignition Facility) is a wonder of engineering and one of the largest and most complex machines created by humans. Its purpose is to ignite nuclear fusion, making it produce more energy than it consumes, using multiple high-power lasers. (3D Printing Media Network)

February 8, 2021
Lawrence Livermore National Lab Names Kim Budil Director
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) new director, Kim Budil, will begin her new role March 2. Budil, replacing Bill Goldstein, will serve as the laboratory’s 13th director. She is the first female director in the laboratory’s 69-year history. (Photonics Media)

February 1, 2021
Ph.D. Alumna to Lead Livermore Lab
Kim Budil, Ph.D. ’94, whose career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory spans 34 years, starting as a graduate student and progressing to postdoc after she received her Ph.D. in engineering/applied science from UC Davis, has been named the lab’s 13th director. (UC Davis Magazine)

January 29, 2021
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Names Kim Budil New Director
Kim Budil, a scientist who has worked a variety of leadership positions during a 34-year career at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), has been appointed its director, making her the first woman to hold the position. (The Independent)

January 29, 2021
Final FY21 Appropriations: National Nuclear Security Administration
The National Security Administration budget is surging by $3 billion to nearly $20 billion for fiscal year 2021, with most of the increase directed to modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and associated infrastructure. (American Institute of Physics)

January 28, 2021
Crushing Diamonds With Forces Greater Than Earth’s Core Reveals They Are ‘Metastable’
Diamonds can handle a little pressure. Actually, revise that—diamonds can handle a lot of pressure. In a series of new experiments, scientists have found that diamonds retain their crystal structure at pressures five times higher than that of Earth’s core. (Science Alert)

January 28, 2021
Scientists measured carbon at pressures reaching 2,000 GPa
NIF experiments probe carbon at record pressures. Carbon is one of the most ubiquitous elements. Besides being a building block for all known life, carbon material sits in carbon-rich exoplanets’ interior, hence subject to an intense investigation by scientists. (Tech Explorist)

January 27, 2021
Diamond holds up at pressures more than five times those in Earth’s core
Diamond stands up to a squeeze. Surprisingly, the material’s structure persists even when compressed to 2 trillion pascals, more than five times the pressure in Earth’s core, scientists report January 27 in Nature. (Science News)

January 27, 2021
Diamonds really are forever
Even with the weight of world on its shoulders, diamond resolutely refuses to buckle under the pressure. Thanks to the highest-pressure X-ray diffraction experiments ever reported, researchers have revealed that the structure of diamond remains unchanged at 2 terapascals (TPa)—more than five times the pressure at Earth’s core. (Chemical & Engineering News)

January 27, 2021
New research on carbon cracks open secrets deep inside exoplanets
Measuring carbon at the highest pressures ever achieved in a laboratory, researchers report first model of carbon structures that may make up planets outside the solar system. (University of Rochester Newscenter)

January 15, 2021
LLNL Develops New X-Ray Tool
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed an X-ray source that can be used to determine the temperature in probe experiments under conditions found at the very center of planets. Announced in Applied Physics Letters, the titanium x-ray source will be used to perform fine structure experiments on highly compressed solid-state materials at the National Ignition Facility. (The Independent)

January 7, 2021
Clean, cheap, and limitless—how ‘fusion power’ can meet 10% of the world’s energy needs
Another approach to fusion is ‘inertial confinement,’ where fusion fuel is instantaneously squeezed by a huge force. This can be done using lasers. For example, the US National Ignition Facility uses the world’s most powerful laser to compress fusion fuel inside small pellets. (ThePrint)

January 7, 2021
Illumination at the limits of knowledge
The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is a case in point: walking its halls evokes a sense of the technological sublime which is all but visceral. (The Economist)

January 4, 2021
Despite Big Breakthroughs Fusion Power Plants are Still Decades Away
At least 110 countries have pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050. Fusion is potentially a carbon-free bridge to that goal. Fusion is still decades away from viable commercial production, but recent advances in the technology and supporting infrastructure are chipping away at that timetable. (Grit Daily)

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