Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Early and Mid-Career Researchers Recognized

Seven LLNL Researchers Named APS Fellows

Six LLNL scientists who have conducted significant research on or on behalf of NIF have been selected as 2015 Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). They are NIF & Photon Science researchers Pierre Michel and Vladimir Smalyuk, NIF nuclear diagnostics researcher Lee Bernstein, optics materials researcher Stavros Demos, physicist Yuan Ping, and researcher Damian Swift. LLNL scientist Fred Streitz also was named an APS Fellow.

APS fellowships are awarded after extensive review and are considered a distinct honor because the evaluation process, conducted by the fellowship committees of individual divisions, topical groups and forums, relies on nomination and recommendation by one’s professional peers.

Lee BernsteinLee Bernstein

Bernstein was cited by the Division of Nuclear Physics for “work developing novel methods of determining neutron-nucleus cross sections via high-resolution gamma-ray spectroscopy, the early development of surrogate ratio method, and the study of nuclear processes in high energy density plasmas at NIF.”

“LLNL has been a wonderful place to have ‘come of age’ as a scientist,” Bernstein said. “I am extremely fortunate to have been able to collaborate with a cadre of talented and capable people on research that is both intellectually stimulating and that serves our nation. It’s as much of an honor to have been able to work with them as it is to be awarded this recognition.”

Bernstein received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Rutgers University in 1994. His work has covered a broad range of low-energy nuclear physics topics including discrete nuclear spectroscopy (high and low spin), the properties of the nuclear quasi-continuum, experiments using radioactive beams, and the development of the surrogate reaction ratio method for determining cross sections on short-lived radioactive nuclei.

During the National Ignition Campaign (NIC) Bernstein served as deputy group leader for NIF Nuclear Diagnostics. His work focused on the development and implementation of nuclear diagnostics required for NIC and for performing astrophysically and programmatically relevant cross-section measurements at NIF.

Stavros DemosStavros Demos

Demos was cited by the Division of Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics for “outstanding contributions using unique optical techniques to understanding the relaxation dynamics of point defects and developing non-invasive biomedical photonics for rapid tissue assessment.”

Demos received his B.S. in physics from the University of Ioannina, Greece, and his Ph.D. from the City University of New York. He is an LLNL staff scientist in the Condensed Matter and Materials Division. His research focuses on the interaction of lasers with optical materials, nonradiative processes in laser materials, optical properties of defects in high-power laser materials, laser material processing, laser-induced damage in optical materials, and photonic applications in medicine including subsurface imaging and lesion assessment in tissues, optical methods for in vivo tissue diagnostics, and hyperspectral and time-resolved microscopy.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by my peers, but I strongly believe the credit belongs to my colleagues that I have had the privilege to work with, who have been my mentors, inspiring teammates and friends,” Demos said.“As well as LLNL, for providing me with plenteous opportunities to satisfy my curiosity as means to contribute to the advancement of science and the society in general.”

Michel was cited by the Division of Plasma Physics for “outstanding contributions to laser-plasma interaction physics and dynamic multi-laser beam physics enabling symmetry control in indirectly driven inertial confinement fusion implosions.”

Pierre MichelPierre Michel

“It is a great honor to receive this recognition from the APS,” Michel said. “I am indebted to my friends and colleagues at LLNL for their invaluable support and their inspiring dedication and enthusiasm.”

Michel received M.S. degrees in physics and photonics from Strasbourg University, France, and a Ph.D. in physics from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. He worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 2004 to 2006 as an Andrew M. Sessler Postdoctoral Fellow, and joined LLNL in 2006. Since then, he has focused on the physics of laser-plasma interactions to support the NIF ignition effort.

In particular, Michel has served as the lead scientist in charge of studying and modeling cross-beam energy transfer in preparation for some of the first NIF experiments. From these studies, he successfully predicted that the implosion symmetry of fusion experiments could be tuned by relying on self-induced plasma gratings that can redirect laser energy directly inside NIF targets. This technique has been used on almost every NIF shot since then.

Earlier this year Michel was awarded the 2015 Edouard Fabre Prize for his pioneering research into cross-beam energy transfer. Michel was selected based on his “contributions to studying the physics of laser-driven inertial confinement fusion and physics of laser-produced plasmas.”

Yuan PingYuan Ping

Ping was cited by the Division of Plasma Physics for “pioneering experiments exploring the nature, equilibration and use of nonequilibrium plasmas strongly driven by coherent and incoherent sources.” “I am deeply honored by the recognition,” Ping said. “I’d like to thank Rip Collins, who made the nomination, and the many fantastic people at the Lab I am fortunate to work with. My research always involves lots of teamwork so the recognition goes to all my colleagues.”

Ping joined LLNL as an E. O. Lawrence distinguished postdoctoral fellow in 2003 and became a full-time Lab employee in 2006. She received the APS Division of Plasma Physics Katherine E. Weimer Award in 2011, given every three years to a female physicist in the first 10 years of her career, based on her “pioneering experiments to explore the interaction of high-intensity laser light with matter.” Her work with this interaction began as a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, where she was the first to successfully demonstrate Raman amplification of laser pulses in plasma, creating an environment in which ultrahigh intensity laser pulses can be achieved without system destruction. In 2013, Ping was selected as a recipient of a Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Research Program (ECRP) award.

Vladimir SmalyukVladimir Smalyuk

Smalyuk was cited by the Division of Plasma Physics for “seminal contributions to the understanding of hydrodynamic instabilities in inertial confinement fusion using elegant experiments on OMEGA (the OMEGA Laser Facility at the University of Rochester) and NIF.”

Smalyuk received an M.S. in physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia, in 1990 and worked as a research engineer at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in Russia from 1990 to 1993. He then earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Rochester in 1999. He worked as a research associate, scientist, and senior scientist at the University of Rochester from 1999 to 2009, when he joined LLNL.

Smalyuk’s research focuses on implosion capsule physics and hydrodynamic instabilities in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) and high energy-density (HED) plasmas. He has designed and conducted hydrodynamic instability experiments in planar and spherical geometry in acceleration and deceleration phases of ICF implosions. He also has studied linear, nonlinear, and turbulent-mixing regimes using x-ray imaging, spectroscopic, and particle diagnostics and has designed imaging diagnostics for hydrodynamic and implosion experiments.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by my peers, and it is especially gratifying to share this recognition with many outstanding and dedicated scientists with whom I have been collaborating at LLNL,” Smalyuk said.

Damian SwiftDamian Swift

Swift was cited by the Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter for “wide-ranging contributions to shock- and ramp-wave compression experiments using laser, pulsed-power and explosive drivers, and for employing rigorous quantum and statistical mechanical principles to guide the formulation of theoretical solutions to experimental problems.”

Swift received his M.A. in physics and theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Edinburgh. He worked in the United Kingdom from 1988 to 2000, when he joined Los Alamos National Laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher. At Los Alamos he helped develop beryllium fuel capsules for NIF and quantum mechanical techniques for predicting dynamic properties of solids.

Swift joined LLNL as a staff scientist in 2007. He has been principal investigator or a key contributor to equation of state measurements to gigabar pressures on NIF; asynchronous hydrocode numerics for efficiency and stress analysis; brittle-ductile transitions during shock loading; flow stress in metals during shock loading and unloading; multi-phase equations of state by experiment and theory; temperature measurement during dynamic loading using neutron resonance spectrometry; phase changes and plastic deformation during shock loading using x-ray diffraction; and asteroid impact and deflection physics.

“I feel very honored to be named an APS Fellow,” Swift said, “and I deeply appreciate the support of my colleagues. National lab science has always been fascinating and challenging, and I have been particularly inspired by the world-leading research at LLNL in experimental and theoretical techniques to study material properties at high pressures.”

Early and Mid-Career Researchers Recognized

Six LLNL scientists and engineers who work on NIF or NIF-related research have been recognized by the Laboratory’s first Early and Mid-Career Recognition (EMCR) Program. They are among 15 early to mid-career researchers singled out by Lab Director Bill Goldstein for their accomplishments.

“We created this program because there should be a way to recognize and encourage employees who have demonstrated a huge potential at every stage of their careers,” Goldstein said. Noting that the Lab population is aging, he said many of the early to mid-career employees may be leading the Laboratory sooner rather than later. “You’re the cream of the cream,” he said, “and we’re very lucky to have you.”

The EMCR Program recognizes scientific and technical accomplishments, leadership and future promise demonstrated by LLNL scientists and engineers early in their careers—from five to 20 years since they received their most recent degree. Winners receive a cash award and institutional funding (approximately equivalent to 20 percent support for one year) to pursue research activities in their area of interest.

EMCR Award RecipientsFifteen Lab scientists and engineers early in their careers were named to the first Early and Mid-Career Recognition (EMCR) Program by LLNL Director Bill Goldstein (right). Credit: Julie Russell

The NIF-related 2015 EMCR designees are:

  • Félicie Albert, an early-career researcher known internationally as an innovator and expert in research related to the generation of radiation sources from laser-plasma and laser-electron acceleration. She has been at the forefront of plasma science, laser-wakefield acceleration and laser-driven x-ray source development for 10 years, after pioneering the betatron x-ray source for her thesis work.
  • John Heebner is widely recognized for his expertise in lasers and optics. During his time at LLNL, he and his collaborators have developed new concepts that have resulted in four R&D 100 awards, and he has co-authored a well-known textbook on micro resonators. He recently identified a new pathway to extending pulse-shaping capabilities on NIF by more than an order of magnitude in resolution. If validated, these concepts could be used to produce ignition pulse shapes that resist the large-scale laser-plasma interactions that currently hinder uniform energy deposition in ignition experiments.
  • Stephan MacLaren has contributed to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)’s Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) and has served as the overall design lead of the high energy density (HED) physics experimental program in support of secondary weapon physics. He was the lead designer of an experimental campaign on NIF, the OMEGA Laser at the University of Rochester, and the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories that delivered the final HED-based closure of the energy balance model. He now serves as the overall HED design project leader for an array of weapon physics campaigns on OMEGA, Z, and NIF, mentoring a group of newer designers while leading the design effort on HED campaigns on shock and turbulence and radiation transport. He has been awarded four NNSA Awards of Excellence and two Director’s S&T Awards for his outstanding work in support of the SSP.
  • Manyalibo (Ibo) Matthews has made many exceptional contributions in the area of the S&T needed to understand optics damage and develop new techniques to mitigate this damage. Several aspects of his work have been the foundation of the effort to increase power and energy at NIF, including developing a fundamental understanding of the formation of rims in the course of mitigating optics damage and determining the mechanism by which particles of different composition induce damage on optical surfaces.
  • Kumar Raman has contributed to important scientific advances in the areas of HED and inertial confinement fusion (ICF) science. Today, he works on a variety of efforts including Stockpile Stewardship, HED science on NIF, and experiments on the Z machine. Raman was one of the leaders, and the lead designer, of the hydro-growth radiography (HGR) experiment on NIF. The HGR platform provided experimental basis for theoretical assertions about the degree of ablation-front Rayleigh-Taylor hydrodynamic instability growth in implosions and the degree to which the high-foot pulse shape would suppress that instability growth. In doing so, his work contributed to changing external views of the ICF program.
  • Dawn Shaughnessy has been part of LLNL’s heavy element group and participated in experiments leading to the discovery of elements 118, 117, 115, and 113. After the element discoveries, she started a new U.S.-based collaboration with UNLV and Texas A&M University to reinvigorate heavy element chemistry studies in the United States. In addition, she has fostered a new collaboration with the GSI Laboratory in Darmstadt, Germany, for the study of the chemistry and production of heavy elements. Through this collaboration, the LLNL team has participated in several experiments to examine element 114. The culmination of the heavy element work was element 116, named Livermorium. Her programmatic accomplishments include work in nuclear forensics and test readiness programs, deploying a solid collection capability at NIF culminating in the solid radiochemistry (SRC) and vast area detector for experimental radiochemistry (VADER) diagnostics, which return data relevant to capsule implosion performance on NIF deuterium-tritium shots.
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