Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


NIF Highlighted at Inertial Fusion Conference

More than 80 presentations and posters describing recent NIF experimental initiatives and equipment enhancements were presented Sept. 20-25 at the Ninth International Conference on Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications (IFSA 2015) in Seattle, Washington. The biennial conference brings together scientists in the fields of inertial fusion science and high-energy-density physics and their applications.


LLNL and the Laboratory’s NIF & Photon Science and Physical and Life Sciences directorates are among the sponsors of IFSA 2015. Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein serves as co-chairman, while LLNL’s John Edwards is an organizing chair and Bruce Hammel co-chairs the technical program committee.

Major topics at the conference were the physics of inertial fusion; lasers, particle beams, and fusion technology; and high energy density physics and applications. Among the NIF-related presentations:

  • Peter Amendt and colleagues described a proposed experimental campaign to assess the use of nanoporous, low-density foams, such as silica aerogels, to replace the ultrathin “tents” used to support the target capsule inside the hohlraum in NIF inertial confinement fusion experiments. Studies have shown that the tents may contribute to hydrodynamic instabilities that can interfere with target performance during NIF implosions.
  • Sham Dixit, Tayyab Suratwala, and colleagues discussed current efforts to lower the risk of NIF optical component damage from both incident laser light and from light scattered from target structures through reductions in beam contrast and a new main laser amplifier configuration. The presentation also described recent actions to simplify the experiment setup process and enhance the efficiency of risk assessments to support NIF’s steadily increasing shot rate.
  • In a discussion of the NIF hohlraum science campaign, John Moody and colleagues described efforts to develop a greater understanding of hohlraum-specific effects on NIF implosions using focused experiments that can guide improvements in radiation-hydrodynamic modeling predictability, leading to the development of better hohlraums and an increased likelihood of ignition.