News Archives

Diagnostic capability allows scientists to create X-ray movies

Sept. 1, 2021- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists are working on a new diagnostic capability that will provide, for the first time, the ability to make X-ray radiographic movies. The first experiment testing the principle, dubbed the Bipolar Reset Experiment (BIRX), was conducted at LLNL’s Flash X-Ray (FXR) deep-penetration radiographic facility at Site 300. The team has been...

Lawrence Livermore team captures data from unarmed Minuteman III test launch

Aug. 25, 2021- 
A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) successfully collected data from the recent operational test of an Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base. The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness and readiness of the...

National Ignition Facility experiment puts researchers at threshold of fusion ignition

Aug. 18, 2021- 
On Aug. 8, 2021, an experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) made a significant step toward ignition, achieving a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules (MJ). This advancement puts researchers at the threshold of fusion ignition, an important goal of the NIF, and opens access to a new experimental regime. The experiment was enabled by...

Researchers focus on how tantalum behaves at high pressure and temperature

Aug. 18, 2021- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have explored high-pressure behavior of shock-compressed tantalum at the Omega Laser Facility at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). The work showed tantalum did not follow the predicted phase changes at high pressure and instead maintained the body-centered cubic (BCC) phase until melt. The...

Bradley Wallin selected to lead Weapons and Complex Integration

Aug. 9, 2021- 
Bradley Wallin has been named Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) principal associate director (PAD) for Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI), Lab Director Kimberly Budil announced today. In this role, Wallin will lead the Laboratory's nuclear weapons program in its responsibilities to support U.S. strategic deterrence by assuring the safety, security and effectiveness...

Shining a Bright Light on Plutonium

Aug. 6, 2021- 
As the nation’s adversaries move to close the gap in weapon capabilities, Lawrence Livermore’s mission remains focused on supporting stockpile stewardship. Assessing weapon readiness becomes more challenging, however, with an aging stockpile and a workforce decades removed from the last live nuclear weapon tests. Computer simulations can model weapon behavior but require accurate experimental...

Johnny Foster - Pushing the Boundaries of Science

Aug. 6, 2021- 
1953. Yucca Flat, Nevada. The devices weren’t working. Two high-profile tests of Livermore’s first nuclear weapon designs fizzled. Based on an idea promoted by pioneering physicist Edward Teller that was, among other things, supposed to reduce the required critical mass of uranium, the Ruth and Rae hydride devices were meant to revolutionize fission weapons design with their small size and...

LLNL delivers eight Scorpius pulsed-power modules to Los Alamos

Aug. 6, 2021- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) recently delivered eight prototype pulsed-power modules for testing to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), marking completion of a key milestone in a multi-lab effort to develop Scorpius, a next-generation particle accelerator for X-ray imaging. The line replaceable units (LRU) will provide the precise energy pulses needed to accelerate...

LLNL and KCNSC team up to accelerate design-to-deployment with new polymer production enclave

Aug. 6, 2021- 
A polymer production enclave, in partnership with the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), is on budget and on schedule to bring modern technology into the Nuclear Security Enterprise. The enclave will enable rapid development of design and production processes of polymer parts for modernization programs. This enclave is part of...

LLNL team conducts thermal, shock, vibration tests on W80-4 mock unit

Aug. 6, 2021- 
A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) team has conducted the first series of combined environment ground tests on a W80-4 test article to ensure that the warhead will survive thermal, shock and vibration environments that the system could be exposed to when it is in the stockpile. The Nuclear Explosive Package Engineering Test (NEPET), which began with a conceptual design in...

S&TR Magazine Highlights the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Program

July 8, 2021- 
The last U.S. underground nuclear explosive tests, which were key to assessing the design and viability of the country’s nuclear weapons, occurred over 27 years ago. However, the need for deeper understanding of the complex physical processes that drive nuclear weapon performance and for putting stockpile design and assessment on a solid science-based foundation continue to be of...

Lawrence Livermore team looks at nuclear weapon effects for near-surface detonations

June 7, 2021- 
A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) team has taken a closer look at how nuclear weapon blasts close to the Earth’s surface create complications in their effects and apparent yields. Attempts to correlate data from events with low heights of burst revealed a need to improve the theoretical treatment of strong blast waves rebounding from hard surfaces. This led to an extension of...

Research describes slow and fast light in plasma

June 1, 2021- 
Slow and fast light, or large changes in the group velocity of light, have been observed in a range of optical media, but the fine control over the refractive index necessary to induce an observable effect has not been achieved in a plasma. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Laboratory for Laser...

Scientists identify key trends in high-energy-density mixing layers

May 17, 2021- 
Imagine a bottle of salad dressing containing oil and vinegar. The oil has a lower density than vinegar, so it floats on the vinegar. The oil will not stay trapped under the vinegar if the bottle is flipped upside down. It will bubble up through the vinegar until a stable state is restored. This simple physical process is known as Rayleigh–Taylor instability, and it can be found in many...

Scientists put additive manufactured foams to the test

March 25, 2021- 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists recently published the results of a three-week experimental campaign at the Lab’s Jupiter Laser Facility to test the performance of laser-heated additive manufactured foams. The project helps support two major Laboratory focus areas, including helping to advance additive manufacturing and by enabling improvements in performance...

Lab-designed instrumentation onboard unarmed missile

March 8, 2021- 
A joint test assembly (JTA) designed by Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories was recently onboard an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which was successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. See the video. The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness and...

Study reveals cause of 3D asymmetry in ICF implosions

Feb. 25, 2021- 
Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) implosions require very high levels of symmetry in order to reach the high densities and temperatures required for fusion induced self-heating. Even percent-level deviations from perfect spherical symmetry can lead to significant distortions of the implosion and ultimately degrade fusion performance. To that end, researchers from Lawrence Livermore...

LLNL Weapon Engineers, Biologists Deliver Critical Samples to Identify Skin Proteins Left on IEDs

Feb. 17, 2021- 
Following a terrorist bombing, can the bomb maker be identified by skin proteins left on the bomb components they handled? To address this question, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) personnel from Weapons Complex Integration (WCI) and Global Security (GS) Forensic Science and Biosecurity Centers (FSC/BSC) subjected notional bomb components handled by LLNL volunteers to...

Lab's ACT-UP awards focus on collaborative research

Jan. 12, 2021- 
Gaia Righi, Ph.D. candidate from UC San Diego, works on a project titled “Dynamic Strength of Iron Under Phase Changing Conditions.” Righi and faculty adviser Marc Meyers work with Hye-Sook Park and Rob Rudd from LLNL. The team was awarded an ACT-UP award last year.  With a focus on increasing joint research efforts between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and universities, the Lab’s Weapon Physics and Design (WPD) Academic Collaboration Team (ACT) University Program has awarded this year’s ACT-UP awards. Now in its second year, the ACT-UP awards were created to encourage and advance strategic partnerships among universities with...

The Sierra Era

Nov. 19, 2020- 
This three-dimensional simulation of an idealized inertial confinement fusion implosion shows turbulent mixing in a spherical geometry. Livermore’s Sierra supercomputer makes high-fidelity calculations like this routine, yielding crucial insights into physical phenomena.Lawrence Livermore’s high-performance computing (HPC) facilities house some of the fastest supercomputers in the world, including the flagship Sierra machine. Online for more than a year, Sierra primarily runs simulations for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program. Sierra substantially increases the Laboratory’s ability to...