Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



Our High Energy Density Science (HEDS) research comprises five groups dedicated to theoretical and experimental research in high energy density (HED) physics, astrophysics, and advanced diagnostic development, emphasizing areas important to major Laboratory programs. These groups pursue forefront research directed towards the development of experimentally validated models that describe the state of matter and the physics of matter/radiation interactions in high energy density plasmas, which contributes to our fundamental understanding of nuclear weapons, fusion plasmas, astrophysics, and planetary science.

Associate Division Leader (Acting):    David Bradley

HEDSS Administrator:    Casie Zayas  +1 925-423-9348

High Energy Density Shock Physics

Group Leader (Acting):   Jon Eggert

The HED shock physics group develops and uses dynamic compression techniques and advanced diagnostics to explore the behavior of matter at millions to billions of atmospheres pressures, conditions exceeding the atomic unit of pressure (~100 million atmospheres) and reproducing states existing deep inside stars, sub-stellar objects (e.g., brown dwarfs), and planets. Such pressures can produce highly degenerate conditions (strong quantum effects), with atoms brought together closer than the Bohr radius; a new regime of chemical bonding is anticipated (kilovolt chemistry), engaging core as well as valence electrons (keV as well as eV energy levels). This fundamental research is giving a new understanding to the behavior of solids at tens of millions of atmospheres, core shell chemistry, the evolution of planets, the potential for controlled thermonuclear plasmas, and a wide variety of national security applications.

High Intensity Laser Plasmas

Group Leader:  Prav Patel

The High-Intensity Laser-Plasmas group studies the fundamental science of relativistic-intensity laser-plasma interactions and applications to creating and probing high-energy-density states of matter. This includes fundamental laser-plasma interaction physics, particle acceleration and transport in dense plasma, isochoric heating, and fast ignition inertial confinement fusion. The group combines experimental and computational expertise. Experimental research is performed on a number of laser facilities, including the NIF , OMEGA, and JLF  facilities.

Radiative Properties Group

Group Leader:  Marilyn Schneider

The Radiative Properties group in the HED section studies radiation properties of plasmas. These properties range from the basic atomic physics of isolated ions to opacities and radiation flow in hot dense matter to electron-positron pair production. The plasmas are produced at laser facilties such as NIF  or JLF  and at LLNL's electron beam ion trap .

Theory and Modeling Group

Group Leader:  Steve Libby

The theory and modeling group primarily focuses on understanding and computing the microscopic physics of hot and 'warm' dense plasmas, with typical applications to laser-plasmas, inertial fusion, stockpile stewardship, and astrophysics. To do this, we are developing and applying cutting edge theoretical and computational models in many electron relativistic and non-relativistic atomic physics, statistical physics, radiation opacities, and plasma equations of state and transport. We use our computational models, in turn, to produce the detailed opacities and plasma equations of state required by the broad community doing radiation-hydrodynamics simulations. In parallel, we also apply these computational techniques to collaborate on the design of experiments aimed at probing the physics of inertial fusion and other plasmas. Recent, new thrusts of our group include the physics of short pulse laser driven high harmonics and the development of quantum coherent sensors for security applications.

X-ray Diagnostic and Measurement Science Group

Group Leader:  David Bradley

This is a new group focused on developing and deploying advanced diagnostics and measurement techniques at the National Ignition Facility  (NIF). with David Bradley as the Group Leader. This group will help programs working on the NIF to identify potential strategies and diagnostic techniques for making needed measurements, then help develop, field, and use these NIF diagnostics. This is joint group with the NIF Directorate.