Omega Laser Facility completes 25,000 experiments

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The high-energy Omega Laser Facility at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics in the US has conducted its 25,000th experiment to create and study extreme states of matter.

The Omega Laser Facility, a national user facility for the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), is used for high energy density physics research. Its 60 laser beams focus up to 40,000 joules of energy onto a target less than 1mm in diameter in approximately one billionth of a second.

The research work using Omega spans from fundamental science experiments exploring the birth and death of stars, to inertial confinement fusion ignition, laser-plasma interactions and nuclear weapons research.

The 25,000th target shot was a science experiment to study the properties of liquid deuterium at high pressure. This study aims to further the research into making fusion work in the laboratory, as well as providing insight into what is happening in the interior of giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn.

‘The University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics plays an important role in advancing NNSA’s national security missions. It has made significant contributions to the Stockpile Stewardship Program,’ said NNSA deputy administrator for defence programmes, Don Cook.

The Omega Laser Facility produces the most target shots out of NNSA’s large high energy density facilities. It answers vital physics questions and supports the development of diagnostics and experimental platforms for the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California.

Omega performs more than half of the target shots for external users, including for the private sector.