Creating, Diagnosing, and Controlling High Energy Density Matter with the National Ignition Facility

Picture of Herrmann Mark


MON, 10/01/2018 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Fall 2018 Colloquium Series

The National Ignition Facility (NIF), at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is the world’s largest laser. NIF houses 192 beams that can deliver over 1.8 MJ of ultraviolet energy and peak powers of 500 TW to a small target (<< cm3). The deposition of this energy in a small volume creates extreme radiation environments and large pressures in materials. These very large pressures have been used to create unique conditions for studying the behavior of matter at high energy densities (high energy density matter can be defined as having pressures greater than 1,000,000 times atmospheric pressure). Understanding the behavior of matter at high energy densities is important for our national security, many astrophysical questions, and obtaining inertial confinement fusion ignition. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the National Ignition Facility and some of the technology that enables it, discuss recent progress in high energy density science and inertial confinement fusion, and talk about the challenges and opportunities for future research.

This work is performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Mark Herrmann is the director of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s most energetic laser, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). NIF is a key experimental facility for the science based Stockpile Stewardship Program. Previously, Dr. Herrmann spent 9 years at Sandia National Laboratories, where he studied the use of large magnetic fields generated by the Z facility to create and control high energy density matter. While at Sandia, he held a number of positions, including Director of the Pulsed Power Sciences Center. He began his career as a physicist at LLNL, where his research focused on inertial confinement fusion and high energy density science. He has been awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the American Physical Society Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Plasma Physics, and the Fusion Power Associates Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award. Mark is a fellow of the American Physical Society.  He received his undergraduate degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, and his Ph.D. from the Program in Plasma Physics at Princeton University.