National Nuclear Security Administration

New tool puts sharper focus on NNSA’s physics experiments

September 20, 2017

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The OMEGA laser facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester.

The Nuclear Security Enterprise recently “sharpened its focus” on stockpile stewardship with a new and improved diagnostic capability. Researchers in NNSA’s Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program create and measure extreme temperature, pressure, and radiation conditions to better understand how nuclear weapons would behave in various environments. These high-energy-density physics experiments require specialized equipment.

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester supports the ICF program with the formidable OMEGA laser system, which recently got an upgrade. The Single Line-of-Sight Time-Resolved X-ray Imager (SLOS-TRXI) system was installed earlier this year and was just used for the first time. The multi-frame, ultrafast framing camera is in use on the OMEGA laser to capture images of its core during high-energy-density physics experiments for analysis.

SLOS-TRXI is a joint project with General Atomics, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. The instrument is expected to be fully qualified for use on cryogenic (extremely low temperature) implosion experiments this month. This enhanced imaging system will deliver significantly higher resolution, advancing stockpile stewardship diagnostics for ICF facilities throughout the Nuclear Security Enterprise.