NIF Director Jeff Atherton has been named principal deputy principal associate director (PAD) for the NIF & Photon Science directorate, with management and oversight responsibility for broad aspects of the directorate. Atherton will continue serving as NIF director while a search for his successor is conducted.
Atherton received his Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985. He began his career in LLNL laser programs in 1986, developing crystal growth technologies and new laser host crystals in support of advanced laser development. He has held various laser-related leadership roles, including associate project leader for NIF optics, associate project manager for laser equipment and optics production, associate project manager for beampath infrastructure systems, associate project manager for line replaceable unit production, and program leader for NIF optics/target science and technology. Following these experiences, he was selected as the deputy principal associate director for NIF science and technology.
Starting in 2006, he was named program director of target experimental systems, with overall responsibility for target fabrication, cryogenic systems, and target diagnostics. He then helped stand up the NIF Experiments organization as program director and assumed the position of deputy NIF director in 2010. He was named director of the National Ignition Facility in May 2013.
“Jeff brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position," said NIF & PS PAD Jeff Wisoff. “I am very pleased to congratulate Jeff and to welcome him to his new position.”
NIF & PS Chief Technology Officer Chris Barty concluded his tenure as the 2013-2014 IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Lecturer with three separate presentations in one week.
On June 17th, he presented a seminar at Colorado State University entitled, “Photonics for Fusion and Nuclear Science.” The seminar introduced NIF and the pursuit of fusion ignition on NIF and reviewed the development and applications of LLNL’s laser-Compton gamma-ray (MEGa-ray) technology. The seminar was attended by about 100 students and faculty from the schools of engineering, physics and chemistry.
On June 18th, he presented a seminar entitled “NIF and the Pursuit of Star Power on Earth” to the Southern California chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society at UCLA. And on June 19th, at the University of Texas at Austin, Barty presented a seminar to the mid-Texas chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society entitled, “Extreme Gamma-ray Sources and the Dawn of Nuclear Photonics.”
“I found the IEEE lectureship to be a most gratifying experience,” Barty said, “and was impressed at each location by the enthusiasm and interest of both the students and faculty in the photonics activities ongoing at LLNL.”
Barty also presented a special seminar on chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) at the University of Michigan entitled, “CPA on a Grand Scale—The Explosion of CPA Activities Around the World” on June 21. The presentation was part of a symposium honoring the 70th birthday of Prof. Gerard Mourou. Mourou pioneered the CPA technique that is being used to produce intense short-duration pulses at LLNL’s Jupiter Laser Facility, for the Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) petawatt laser system on NIF, and for the High Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS) under development at the Laboratory for the ELI-Beamlines laser facility in the Czech Republic.