Using the World's Largest Laser to Study Matter at Extreme Energy Density: Exotic Solids to Inertial Fusion
Using the multi-MJ laser at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California, a breakthrough in exploring matter at high compression, to 1000-fold initial density, is underway thanks to experimental developments associated with achieving inertially confined fusion in the laboratory.
High-energy lasers can now manipulate the energy density of matter to atomic pressures, i.e. the pressure required to significantly distort core electron orbitals. Improvements in controlling dynamic compression paths enable the exploration of solids and fluids to >10s of TPa (> 100 million atmospheres pressure), and the incipient stages of inertial fusion. I will describe recent experimental results revealing quite exotic behavior of matter at extreme compression and our effort to understand and control material microphysics and gradients on the way to inertial fusion.
This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Dept. of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344
Coffee and doughnuts from 16.30.