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Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


high-energy-density physics

April, 2024.


Mathew Cufari

Matt Cufari


Matthew Cufari received the prestigious
Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship


Matt Cufari, has been awarded the prestigious 2024 Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE NNSA SSGF).


"The DOE NNSA SSGF aims to ensure a continuous pipeline of highly trained scientists and engineers in areas of study related to high energy density physics, nuclear science, and materials under extreme conditions and hydrodynamics; to give fellows opportunities to work with some of the nation's most sophisticated and powerful experimental and computational facilities; and to build the next generation of leaders with expertise in stewardship science in support of national defense."


Johan Frenje, the head of the High-Energy-Density Physics Division, said that "Matt studies an advanced inertial confinement fusion (ICF) concept that uses external magnetic fields applied to an ICF implosion. His work primarily focuses on better understanding the underlying physics governing the energy confinement of a magnetized ICF implosion. For his SSGF residency, Matt will spend time at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where he will study magnetized implosions and the resulting part of an ongoing effort to increase fusion yields on the National Ignition Facility. At LLNL, Matt will be mentored by MIT alumnus John Moody—the Deputy Director for experiments in the ICF program."



March, 2024.


Maria Gatu Johnson

Principal Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson


Maria recognized with an Infinite Mile Award

"IMA awards recognize those individuals or teams who have made extraordinary contributions within their own organizations to help the Institute carry out its mission. Nominators are asked to consider and describe a nominee's contributions...providing descriptions and examples that clearly relate to supporting the Institute's...mission. Team or individual contributions should exceed performing one’s job well; attributes and accomplishments should reflect 'going the extra mile'...Usually, nominations should reflect a pattern of accomplishment rather than a single contribution."


Maria said: "The award came as a complete surprise to me – I did not know anyone had nominated me. I really appreciate this recognition! It is truly rewarding to feel as though you are seen and appreciated for the work that you do every day."


Julianna Mullen, PSFC Communications Director, wrote: "Great people achieve excellence and are also generous with their success; they lift up everyone around them...In addition to being a brilliant scientist, Maria is an incredibly kind person and a fantastic mentor. Her nominators mentioned that Maria goes above and beyond regardless of the activity, and she’s an asset to every team of which she’s a part."



February, 2024.


Skylar Dannhoff

PhD candidate Skylar Dannhoff


The recent National Ignition Facility (NIF) and Jupiter Laser Facility (JLF) User Groups meeting (NIFUG) was held at the Bella Rosa Event Center in Livermore, CA. Skylar Dannhoff was awarded 2nd prize in the Student Scholar Poster Award category. Skylar's poster, "Investigations of plasma flow and interface dynamics in Ta2O5- and SiO2-lined hohlraums at OMEGA" can be accessed here.



July, 2023.



Tucker Evans

PhD candidate Tucker Evans



Tucker Evans participated in the 2023 High Energy Density Science Summer School at UC San Diego. This activity, as described by UCSD, is to "...promote scholastic development through technical lectures given by field experts as well as professional development sessions aimed at early-career researchers in HEDS fields of study. The goal of the Summer School is to introduce new talent to the breadth of the U.S. High Energy Density Science (HEDS) community through lectures, engaging workshops, and discussion sessions with leaders in academia and the national laboratories. The objectives are to inspire young scientists to pursue graduate and professional careers in the fields of high energy density science, teach them fundamental HED science and critical skills, and grant them the opportunity to network with leading academic and national laboratory researchers."

Tucker said his, "...poster for the multiion campaign got some good attention at the poster session...It ended up getting 3rd place for best poster. There were good conversations throughout and a lot of enthusiasm about the work".

Tucker's poster was titled: "Studies of kinetic/multi-ion-fluid effects in DT3He (with Kr dopant) gas-filled shock- and ablatively- driven implosions".



August, 2023.




Maria Gatu johnson

Maria Gatu Johnson promoted to Principal Reaserch Scientist


HEDP Division head, Johan Frenje, praised Maria's contributions to the field: "She has been focusing on studying inertial confinement fusion (ICF) implosions using nuclear diagnostic techniques, which has been essential for guiding the ICF program at OMEGA to record yields and at the NIF to ignition and energy gain. She has also been studying stellar nucleosynthesis-relevant basic nuclear physics using the high-energy-density-plasma (HEDP) platform. As a result of Maria’s groundbreaking work, she has won numerous prestigious awards (Dawson, Weimer, NNSA-Secretary, and several LLNL awards). She has also demonstrated excellent student and postdoc supervision, and she has been the PI on grants and on several experimental shot days at OMEGA and the NIF. In addition, she has served on the OLUG Executive Committee (2017-2022), HEDSA steering committee (2017-2020), and Vice Chair 2019-2020), and APS DPPs’ Women in Plasma Physics committee (2018-2022). Very importantly, she has also been a mentor in the Association for Women in Science. It is for these sustained and influential contributions Maria was promoted to Principal Research Scientist."



August, 2023.




Johan Frenje

Johan Frenje to receive Fusion Power Associates
2023 Leadership Award


Senior Research Scientist and the head of the HEDP Division, Johan Frenje, has been selected as a recipient of the Fusion Power Associates 2023 Leadership Award. This award is presented to individuals demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities in accelerating the development of fusion as a commercial power source.



July, 2023.




Graeme Sutcliffe and Patrick Adrian

Graeme Sutcliffe (L) and Patrick Adrian


Two HEDP Division students were recently awarded distinguished fellowships to further their studies of high-energy-density physics. Patrick Adrian was chosen to receive the Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in High-Energy-Density Sciences (HEDS) from Los Alamos National Laboratory while Graeme Sutcliffe was selected for the HEDS Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.



April, 2023.




Graeme Sutcliffe

L to R Verena Geppert-Kleinrath LANL,
Hans Rinderknecht LLE and Graeme Sutcliffe


Graeme Sutcliffe was awarded 2nd place Outstanding Poster in the Postdoctoral Scholar category for his presentation at the OLUG Users Group 2023 Workshop: "Magnetic fields at the laser entrance hole of scaled-down gas-filled hohlraums at OMEGA".





Bryan Foo    Brandan Buschmann

L to R Bryan Foo and Brandan Buschmann


Bryan Foo was awarded 1st Place Outstanding Poster in the Undergraduate Scholar category for his presentation at the OLUG Users Group 2023 Workshop; Brandan Buschmann's presentation won Honorable Mention in the Undergraduate category.



April, 2023.




Maria Gatu Johnson

Maria Gatu Johnson
(Photo: Paul Rivenberg)


Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson, was elected a U.S. National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow and she participated in NAS’ annual Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium. A PSFC news article about Maria's award and symposium experience can be found here.



February, 2023.


Graeme Sutcliffe


Post Doctoral Associate Graeme Sutcliffe's poster was awarded First Place by a Postdoctoral Scholar at the NIF and Jupiter Laser Facility User Group Meeting 2023 in Livermore California.


Graeme's presentation, Electron Weibel instability-generated magnetic fields in laser-produced plasmas at OMEGA, is available here.



Graeme Sutcliffe

Graeme Sutcliffe


October 20, 2022.



Johan Frenje


Senior Research Scientist and HEDP Division Head, Johan Frenje, was interviewed by Fabio Meneghella a correspondant of Kosmo Magazine. Kosmo is an Italian web magazine devoted to dispelling indiference by bringing vibrant voices to comment on every area of culture: artistic and scientific.


The resulting article bears the headline: Johan Frenje, nuclear physicist at MIT, recounts the historic result on ICF nuclear fusion and recounts the August 8, 2021 ignition event at Lawrence Livermore Ntional laboratory, the differing nature of magnetically and inertially confined fusion, and the HEDP group's role in developing diagnostics tor fusion research. Frenje was asked about how he came to the field. "For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the concept of fusion, the process that powers stars. As a young boy, I wanted to be part of the effort in realizing thermonuclear fusion as a clean energy source that would certainly alleviate the energy-policy and climate issues that we are facing today."


When asked about future contributions, Frenje responded: "I’d say an important project we are working on is the development and use of the next-generation neutron spectrometer for 20-30ps time-resolved measurement of the neutron spectrum from an ICF implosion. This measurement will provide information about the dynamics of the ICF core formation, DT-fuel assembly and burn propagation."



October, 2022.



Fredrick Seguin


Research Scientist Fredrick Séguin was selected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the topical Group on Instrument and Measurement Science (GIMS) "For pioneering development of unique charged-particle diagnostics and their significant impact in Inertial-Confinement-Fusion and High-Energy-Density-Physics research".


Given Fredrick's sustained and influential scientific contributions in designing, implementing and using nuclear measurement techniques that truly changed the landscape of the field of ICF and HEDP, as well as his mentoring of younger colleagues and students, he is well deserving of this Fellowship, said HEDP Division head Johan Frenje.


Click to see the MIT News article about this award.




September, 2022.




Maria Gatu Johnson Rich Petrasso Johan Frenje

L to R: Maria Gatu Johnson, Richard Petrasso, and Johan Frenje


Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson, Senior Research Scientist Richard Petrasso, Senior Research Scientist and Division Head Johan Frenje are part of a large team selected to share the John Dawson Award for "the first laboratory demonstration of a burning deuterium-tritium plasma where alpha heating dominates the plasma energetics". The PSFC news article can be found here.



September 22, 2022.


PhD candidate Graeme Sutcliffe successfully defended his thesis: "Experimental Studies of Magnetic Field Generation and Saturation Mechanisms in Laser-Driven Plasmas".

Graeme did a great job presenting and defending his thesis, which involves the development and use of the tri-particle backlighter for studies of magnetic fields generated by the Biermann battery and the electron Weibel instability, said HEDP Division head Johan Frenje.

Frenje also said that "Graeme's excellent work laid the foundation for additional PhD theses. Frenje went on to congratulate the entire HEDP division, including the other students, for their excellent support of Graeme's work.

Graeme's thesis defense presentation is available here.



Graeme Sutcliffe

Graeme Sutcliffe


August 8 2022.




Shot support group

Photos courtesy of Lawresnce Livermore National Laboratory


Eight HEDP division students were co-authors on a paper published in Physical Review Letters on Aug. 8, the one-year anniversary of the ground-breaking development, unequivocally indicating that the first controlled fusion experiment reached ignition.


"This historic result certainly demonstrates that the ignition threshold is a real concept, with well-predicted theoretical calculations, and that a fusion plasma can be ignited in a laboratory", said HEDP Division Head Johan Frenje. "The students are responsible for implementing and using a diagnostic to obtain data important to the ICF program at the NIF. Being responsible for running a diagnostic at the NIF has allowed them to actively participate in the scientific dialog and thus get directly exposed to cutting-edge science."


The HEDP students involved were Patrick Adrian, Neel Kabadi, Justin Kunimune, Brandon Lahmann, Graeme Sutcliffe, Tim Johnson, Jacob Pearcy, and Ben Reichelt. Former student Alex Zylstra PhD ’15, was the experimental lead of this record implosion experiment.


See the MIT News article about this event.



April 28 2022.




Shot support group


A large team supported Ben Reichelt (on left in photo above) in completing an NLUF experiment on April 28 (ICF_Interface_22A). This experiment, run on the OMEGA laser facility, was undertaken to improve upon results obtained there in a previous experiment. The overall goal of these shots was to diagnose the mix mechanisms occurring for a thin-plastic-shell shock-driven implosion.


Shot support group

Photos courtesy of Eugene Kowaluk



April 27-29 2022.




Graeme Sutcliffe Skylar Dannhoff


At the 2022 OMEGA Laser Facility Users Group Workshop (OLUG), which was held in person and virtually at the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics, HEDP grad students and postdocs received a number of awards. PhD candidate Graeme Sutcliffe (above left) won first prize in the Grad Student category for his poster: "Electron Weibel instability generated magnetic fields in laser produced plasmas at OMEGA". PhD candidate Skylar Dannhoff (above right) won second prize in the Grad Student category for her poster: "Image plate characterization for future investigations of x-ray dose impact on WRF proton spectrometer response". Also, Justin Kunimune's (below right) poster received honorable mention as a Graduate Student. His poster was: "Knock-on deuteron imaging (KODI) of direct-drive ICF implosions at OMEGA". And Neel Kabadi (below left) won second prize in the Post Doc category for his poster: "Using the PTOF and WRF diagnostics to measure the D3He s-factor from ICF implosions at OMEGA and the NIF".
Congratulations to all!


Neel Kabadi Justin Kunimune

Photos courtesy of Eugene Kowaluk



April 27-29 2022.




Johan Frenje


Senior Research Scientist and HEDP division head Johan Frenje chaired this year's OMEGA Laser Facility Users Group Workshop (OLUG) at the University of Rochester. As described on the OLUG website: "There are two major goals of the Users workshop: First, to define improvements to the capabilities and operation of the facility that would advance research opportunities for a broad cross-section of the Users; A second major goal of the workshop is to provide an opportunity for young researchers--students, postdocs, recent Ph.D.'s--to present their research in a very interactive yet informal setting."


OLUG Group

Photos courtesy of Eugene Kowaluk



April, 2022.






Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson and Senior Research Scientist and HEDP division head Johan Frenje were selected as members of the “Laser Indirect Drive Inertial Confinement Fusion Team” to receive an award for significant contributions to the Stockpile Stewardship Program. Specifically, for contributions to the creation of a burning plasma in the laboratory. The Defense Programs Awards of Excellence will be presented virtually on May 3, 2022.



January, 2022.




Maria Gatu Johnson Johan Frenje

Maria Gatu Johnson and Johan Frenje


Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson and Senior Research Scientist and HEDP division head Johan Frenje were part of a team who won the NNSA Secretary's Honor Award for the achievement of a Burning Plasma at the National Ignition Facility, which was published recently in Nature and appeared on the Journal's front cover. The award ceremony, held virtually on January 11, 2022, was honored by the attendance of U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration Jill Hruby.



November 2, 2021.


PhD. candidate Neel Kabadi successfully defended his thesis: "Exploring evolution of multi-ion effects and electron temperature in ICF implosions at Omega and the NIF".

HEDP Division head Johan Frenje complemented Neel for doing a terrific job presenting and defending his thesis, which involves a wide range of research topics from implementation of new and unique diagnostic techniques to detailed studies of kinetic physics in different types of ICF implosions.

The committee was very impressed with the breadth of Neel's work.

Frenje also said that, "Neel's groundbreaking work opens a new window on ICF and HEDP that will lay the foundation for additional PhD theses". Frenje continued to congratulate the entire HEDP division for their excellent support of Neel's work.



Neel Kabadi

Neel Kabadi


Neel's thesis defense presentation is available here.



October, 2021.




Maria Gatu Johnson Johan Frenje

Maria Gatu Johnson and Johan Frenje


Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson and Senior Research Scientist and HEDP division head Johan Frenje won the LLNL 2021 Director's Science and Technology Award as part of The Creation of a Burning Plasma in the Laboratory.

Experiments on the National Ignition Facility achieved, for the first time ever in the Laboratory, a "burning plasma" where the heat from the fusion reactions were greater than all the other power sources in the plasma.

This was made possible by advances in diagnostic capabilities, precision target fabrication, and target design. Taken together these improvements--each arguably significant innovations in their own rights--led to burning plasma with a total neutron yield of 170 kJ on February 7, 2021, up from previous record yields of ~55 kJ just a few months earlier. It is also noteworthy that several DT experiments building on these advances exceeded 100 kJ of yield from the fall of 2020 through the spring of 2021.

The achievement of a burning plasma is a major scientific advance, signaling to the scientific community and our sponsors that exciting progress is being made in ignition efforts on the NIF. This result will soon be published in Nature along with companion papers in related journals.



February, 2021.



PhD. candidate Brandon Lahmann successfully defended his thesis: "Using fusion-product spectroscopy to diagnose inertial confinement fusion implosions and study stopping power on OMEGA, the NIF, and Z".

HEDP Division director Rich Petrasso praised Brandon, "...excellent presentation AND excellent work! when you showed the first 5 or so slides today...I was beginning to wonder whether you were going to design an ICF reactor on the spot (or showing that doing such would be formidable!). But then you transitioned nicely from that motivating material to the work you actually did. Very nice!"

Petrasso also said that he was "...Looking forward to seeing the additional excellent papers you have at your finger tips! You certainly have got some outstanding material to get published."

Petrasso continued to congratulated the entire HEDP team saying that they "...were instrumental in working with...Brandon...there's [always] a team at your back!"



Brandon Lahmann

Brandon Lahmann


Brandon's thesis defense presentation is available here.



August 2020.



PhD. graduate Hong Sio's Physical Review Letters paper "Observations of Multiple Nuclear Reaction Histories and Fuel-Ion Species Dynamics in Shock-Driven Inertial Confinement Fusion Implosions", was selected for an Ecellence in Publication Award by the Office of the Deputy Director for Science and Technology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Hong is currently a Post Doctoral Associate at LLNL researching the effects of strong magnetic fields on implosion dynamics. The bulk of the work underlying the paper was performed while he was a PhD candidate at MIT.

The LLNL Public affairs office said that the "S&T Excellence in Publication Awards acknowledge and reward outstanding scientific and technical publications by Laboratory staff. Publications honored by this award are judged to have an especially significant impact on the external scientific and technical community or important Laboratory missions".



LLE Quick Shot

Hong Sio


Hong's paper is available here.



August 2019.



Chikang Li's recent paper, "Collisionless Shocks Driven by Supersonic Plasma Flows with Self-Generated Magnetic Fields", published in Physical Review Letters, was in the Spotlight on the MIT home page on August 6th.


bow shock

Image: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team


David Chandler of the MIT News Office writes that many collisionless shocks occuring in interstellar space have been identified by astronomers. Chandler quotes Li as saying "there has been a lot of simulations and thoretical modeling, but a lack of experiments" to understand how the process works. "Li and his colleagues found a way to mimic the phenomena in the laboratory by generating a jet of low-density plasma using a set of six powerful laser beams, at the OMEGA laser facility at the University of Rochester, and aiming it at a thin-walled polyimide plastic bag filled with low-density hydrogen gas." Read the complete MIT News article here.


Richard Petrasso, Head of the HEDP Division, called Li's PRL groundbreaking in congratulating Li and his international team. He added, "Not surprisingly, this work was performed under the NLUF, and once again brings great credit to the LLE Facility and the NLUF program where such unique and groundbreaking work--work which is extremely demanding on the facility and technical staff--can be comprehensively supported and enabled."


The picture below shows Chikang Li, center, flanked by two of his five PSFC co-authors, Hong Sio on the left and Andrew Birkel on the right.


Gasbag experiment

Photo: Eugene Kowaluk/LLE




June 2019.



Hong Sio's Physics of Plasmas paper, "Probing ion species separation and ion thermal decoupling in shock-driven implosions using multiple nuclear reaction histories", was selected as an Editor's Pick.

Richard Petrasso, HEDP Division Head, said, "...wonderful news about Hong's PoP being selected as Editor's Pick. Hugely important for Hong, for our Team, for the PSFC, for our community, and for LLE and NLUF where this experimental work was done".


LLE Quick Shot

Hong Sio


Hong's paper is available here.



July 2019.



Maria Gatu Johnson to receive the Katherine E. Weimer Award.


Maria Gatu Johnson


The APS Division of Plasma Physics has announced Maria Gatu Johnson as a 2019 honors recipient. DPP will present her with the Katherine E. Weimer Award, for outstanding achievement in plasma science research by a woman physicist in the early years of her career. The award will be given to Maria for her pioneering work in identifying flows in implosions and for determining their impact on implosion performance. The citation on the certificate will read: "For significant contributions to Inertial fusion sciences and pioneering work in Stellar Nucleosynthesis through nuclear measurements".


The picture below shows Maria in her role as Director of the HEDP accelerator facilty where scientists, postdocs and students build and test diagnostics before deployment at Omega, NIF, or Z.


HEDP accelerator




March 2019.



An LLE website "Quick Shot" features recent work by HEDP division scientists Hong Sio and Johan Frenje.


LLE Quick Shot


Hong and Johan are cited for "New Insights About Multi-Ion Physics and Ion Stopping in HED Plasmas". The article says in part, "each published an article in the January 2019 Physical Review Letters for work done under the NLUF program. Hong's experiments conducted at the Omega Laser Facility, ... included the development of the PXTD (particle-x-ray temporal diagnostic)". The article noted, "MIT and LLE have been collaborating together for nearly three decades".


More information is available here on the Labortory for Laser Energetics website.
Hong's paper: "Observations of Multiple Nuclear Reaction Histories and Fuel-Ion Species Dynamics in Shock-Driven Inertial Confinement Fusion Implosions".
Johan's paper: "Experimental Validation of Low-Z Ion-Stopping Formalisms around the Bragg Peak in High-Energy-Density Plasmas".



January 2019.



The HEDP group and partners establish a Center for Excellence in High-Energy-Density Physics.



photo: Paul Rivenberg


As reported by Paul Rivenberg, PSFC Communications and Outreach Coordinator: "[the HEDP division] is the lead partner in a new Center of Excellence [COE], sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The PSFC is joined by the University of Iowa, the University of Nevada/Reno, the University of Rochester and Virginia Tech, with the goal of generating exceptional experimental and theoretical PhDs in HEDP and Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), while addressing issues of critical interest to DOE's National Nuclear Science Administration and National Labs".

The COE's official title is Center for Advanced Nuclear Diagnostics and Platforms for Inertial ICF and HEDP at Omega, NIF and Z.


More information is available here on the PSFC website.



November, 2018.



Christopher Wink awarded the United States Army Sapper Tab.


Chris Wink Sapper Label


Chris, an HEDP MSc. Graduate, is serving as a Platoon Leader with the 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion at Fort Carson in Colorado. At MIT, Chris worked closely with Senior Research Scientist Johan Frenje on the MRSt project. In this photo, Chris graduated from the Sapper Leader Course (SLC), located at the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.



August 21, 2018.



Hong Sio successfully defended his PhD thesis.


Hong Sio and Comittee

image courtesy of Daniela Pila


Hong flanked by his defense committee, left to right, Richard Petrasso, John Belcher, Hong, Miklos Porkolab, and Robert Redwine. The committee found his presentation and thesis to be "outstanding", and they recommended that Hong be nominated for the Rosenbluth Outstanding Thesis Award in Plasma Physics.


Hong's defense presentation, "Studies of kinetic/multi-ion physics and implosion dynamics using time-resolved nuclear diagnostics on OMEGA and the NIF", can be found here.



March 5, 2018.


Schumer and Petrasso


"The Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) is a national treasure" were the words of U. S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer during his visit to LLE on 5 March 2018. Subsequently he is shown greeting MIT's Richard Petrasso, High-Energy-Density-Physics Division Head at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center. (LLE Director Dr. E. Michael Campbell is at the far left.) Petrasso described for the Senator how LLE's extraordinary capabilities enabled 9 MIT graduate students, during the past 25 years, to do research leading to their PhDs, two being awarded the American Physical Society's prestigious Marshall Rosenbluth Outstanding Thesis Award. (MIT has 6 more graduate students doing PhD research at LLE now.) The Senator commented that it speaks volumes about the uniqueness and national importance of LLE that a science power-house like MIT sends its students to LLE to work on their PhDs (in HED science).


Petrasso's letter to Congressman Joe Kennedy III (5 March 2018), regarding the essential nature of LLE and the entire ICF Program to HED Science and national security, can be found here and at the LLE website. In addition, the strong and unequivocal letter of endorsement from MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center Director, Dennis Whyte, written to the Secretary of Energy, the Honorable James Richard Perry, regarding LLE and the entire ICF program, and its fundamental role to national security and HED Science, can be found here and at the LLE website.


R.D. Petrasso's letter to Congressman Joe Kennedy III


PSFC Director Dennis Whyte's letter to the Secretary of Energy, the Honorable James Richard Perry





February 22, 2018.


At the SSAP Symposium 2018 in Washington DC, HEDP Division graduate student Hong Sio's poster, "Implications of differences between measured and rad-hydro-simulated reaction histories in hydro-like implosions on OMEGA" was awarded "Outstanding Poster" of the gathering. As part of the presentation Hong described a new diagnostic, cryoPXTD, which will use eight scintillator channels to infer Te from x-rays in the energy range 10 - 20 keV.



Hong Sio

photo courtesy Terri Stone NNSA




February, 2018.


At the 2018 NIF and Jupiter User Group Meeting held February 4 - 7 in Livermore, California; HEDP Division graduate student Graeme Sutcliffe's poster, "A New Multi-Particle, Mono-Energetic Backlighting and Stopping-Power Platform for the NIF and OMEGA" was recognized as exceptional. His award reads "1st Place by a Graduate Scholar" and was endorsed by Farhat Beg the user-group chair and Jeff Wisoff a facility Director, among others. Well done Graeme!



Graeme Sutcliffe and poster




December, 2017.


The cover of the December 2017 issue of the "NNSA Stockpile Stewardship Quarterly" will feature a photo from the 59th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics in October 2017. In the photograph, Hong Sio, NNSA-supported HEDP Division PhD student "...found time to strike a pose with (left to right) Dr. Njema Frazier and Dr. Bryan Sims (Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation) and Mark Visosky (TechSource, Inc.) ... Hong designed and implemented a new and unique diagnostic that can measure, simultaneously, multiple-nuclear-burn histories occurring during an ICF implosion. His innovative diagnostic work at NIF and OMEGA led to his invited talk by APS. Congratulations, Hong!".


Hong Sio at APS




November 17, 2017.


Dr. John Edwards, associate NIF director for inertial confinement fusion, visited the PSFC and gave an outstanding presentation about recent advances in the pursuit of ignition at the National Ignition Facility.



John Edwards

Photo: Ernie Doeg/PSFC


As part of his visit, Edwards toured the HEDP accelerator facility (shown above with staff and students), and then spent several hours discussing and critiquing student/postdoc HED/ICF work at NIF and Omega. Valuable suggestions for the students and staff derived from these discussions.



John Edwards

Photo: R.D. Petrasso/PSFC


John Edwards talks with Dr. Cody Parker, Post Doctoral Associate, about the upcoming testing and calibration efforts for the time-resolved magnetic recoil spectrometer (MRSt) diagnostic. "One of the key aspects," said Parker, "is to understand the number of secondary electrons that are produced by the CsI photocathode when ions impinge upon it. This is because the bulk of the work in characterizing the CsI is using x-ray sources. However, for the detector portion of the MRSt, secondary electrons from incoming protons or deuterons are manipulated in the pulse-dilation drift-tube, which is currently being developed by our collaborators at General Atomics. We are planning to use D-3He protons from the MIT-HEDP accelerator to characterize the photocathode and further model the signal-to-background for the MRSt system."



November 15, 2017.


Dr. Chikang Li, Senior Research Scientist and Associate Division Head of the HEDP division, was the principle investigator in an NLUF experiment he designed using the OMEGA laser at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) of the University of Rochester. This experiment allowed the proton radiography of plasma magnetized shocks, by driving a supersonic plasma flow into a gasbag. The experiment was celebrated as the highlight of the previous week of shots at the LLE staff meeting on November 20.



HEDP team

Photo: Eugene Kowaluk/LLE


PI Chikang Li is flanked by HEDP Phd. student Hong Sio, left, and research specialist Andrew Birkel, right, who provided diagnostic support to the experiment.



Chikang Li

Photo: Eugene Kowaluk/LLE


Chikang Li checking target alignment in the OMEGA control room with Tyler Burgett/LLE and at the pre-shot briefing going over the experimental configuration.




Photo: Eugene Kowaluk/LLE


Gasbag target developed in a collaborative effort between General Atomics(GA) and Luxel Corporation, assembled by Sarah Muller/GA.



August. 2017.


Nature Physics recently published a paper by former HEDP student, Dan Casey (PhD. 2012): "Thermonuclear reactions probed at stellar-core conditions with laser-based inertial-confinement fusion"

As reported in LLNL News: "In a unique cross-disciplinary collaboration between the fields of plasma physics, nuclear astrophysics and laser fusion, a team of researchers, including scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory , Ohio University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Los Alamos National Laboratory, describe experiments performed in conditions like those of stellar interiors."



Daniel Casey

Daniel Casey


July, 2017.


Three HEDP division scientists have been named recipients of the American Physical Society’s John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research. Along with three colleagues from other laboratories, they will share the award for “the pioneering use of proton radiography to reveal new aspects of flows, instabilities, and fields in high-energy-density (HED) plasmas.”


Dawson Recipients

Photo: Paul Rivenberg/PSFC

Left to right: Chikang Li, Richard Petrasso and Fredrick Seguin in the HEDP accelerator cell; Petrasso notes, "This lab...allows [students] to build and develop an array of diagnostics and different platforms."


For more information see the MIT News article.




April, 2017.


At the recent Omega Laser User's Group conference at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics of the University of Rochester, HEDP PhD. candidate Hong Sio's poster: "Studies of kinetic and multi-ion-fluid effects, and Ti(t) and Te(t) in Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) plasmas" was awarded first place poster in the Graduate Student category.


Hong Sio Award

Photo by: Eugene Kowaluk, LLE




March 2017


Effective March 20, Principal Research Scientist Johan Frenje was named to the position of Assistant Head of the PSFC's HEDP division.

PSFC Director Dennis Whyte said, " is critically important...that we provide opportunities for leadership experience and mentoring to mid-career scientists and engineers. In addition, a diversity of technical/scientific skills and experience is desirable in division leadership. To meet these diverse goals, we have identified and assigned persons to a newly created position: Assistant Division Head. The goal will be to have Assistant Division Heads...participate in several aspects of division leadership, but not to a point where that effort is too burdensome on their scientific productivity."



Johan Frenje

Johan Frenje


March, 2017.


The cover of the March 2017 issue of the "NNSA Stockpile Stewardship Quarterly" featured a photo from the visit of DOE's Dr. Njema Frazier and Brigadier General Michael Lutton to the HEDP Division in January 2017. Their visit recognized the long–running academic partnership of the NNSA and MIT. The "Highlights" section of this issue talks about the scope of HEDP student and staff research.


Lutton, Frazier visit




February, 2017.


Graduate student Hong Sio was recently profiled in news items on both the PSFC and MIT web sites. Here he is seen in the HEDP accelerator facility, used to develop and characterizes nuclear diagnostics for inertial fusion facilities across the country.


Hong Sio

Photo: Paul Rivenburg, PSFC


See the piece about Hong on the PSFC website, or on the MIT website.



January, 2017.


NNSA's Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brig. Gen. Michael Lutton and Dr. Njema Frazier, physicist in the NNSA's Office of Defense Programs, visited the HEDP group on January 18.


From left, Hong Sio, Brig. Gen. Lutton, Dr. Cody Parker, Neel Kabadi, Dr. Frazier, Raspberry Simpson, Graeme Sutcliffe, Brandon Lahmann, and Christopher Wink.


Dr. Richard Petrasso, director of the HEDP division said, "We greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with General Lutton and Dr. Frazier, and to show them the scope of student and staff research at the National Ignition Facility, Omega laser, Z-machine and the MIT HED/ICF laboratory, and especially to highlight the outstanding Ph.D. work of the students."
"At the heart of MIT's program has been its long lasting collaboration with LLE, LLNL, SNL, LANL and NNSA."

Read more about this visit on the PSFC website, or on the NNSA blog.



January, 2017.


The cover of the High Temperature Plasma Diagnostics conference edition of the Review of Scientific Instruments (RSI) features results from HEDP PhD. candidate Hong Sio's recent paper.


RSI Cover

Simultaneously measured D3He-p and DD-n streaks using two channels (top), and x-ray streaks at three different energy bands using three channels (bottom).


Hong Sio

PhD candidate Hong Sio


The conclusion of Hong's paper says in part: "From the measured nuclear reaction histories, an assessment of kinetic and multi-ion-fluid effects in ICF plasmas can be made. Ongoing work focuses on optimization of the PXTD for simultaneous measurements of two nuclear reaction histories and three x-ray emission histories, from which Ti(t) and Te(t) and thus ion-electron equilibration rates can be inferred. Quantitative changes in nuclear reaction histories as implosion transitions from hydrodynamic-like to more kinetic regime will also be compared with multi-ion-fluid and kinetic-ion simulations in the near future." Read more about this research here.



October, 2016.


Postdoctoral Associate Cody Parker and PhD candidate Neel Kabadi spent five days conducting experiments at Ohio University's Edwards Accelerator Lab. Their goal was to further calibrate the sensitivity of MIT's particle time-of-flight (pTOF) detector to protons of different energies. The pTOF diagnostic is in use at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics OMEGA laser and at the National Ignition Facility.


Edwards Accelerator

Center front row: Cody Parker, Neel Kabadi


Credit: Jean Andrews, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy



Read more about this research in the College of Arts & Sciences Forum.



September, 2016.


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Deputy Director for Science and Technology (DDS&T), Pat Falcone, recently announced the 2016 DDS&T Excellence in Publication Awards. One of the recipients was HEDP graduate Hans Rinderknecht (PhD 2015). Hans's article, published January 2015 in Physical Review Letters, was titled: "Ion Thermal Decoupling and Species Separation in Shock-Driven Implosions".

Said Elaine Kae Miller on behalf of LLNL Director Bill Goldstein and Pat Flacone, "The DDS&T Excellence in Publication Awards were created to recognize outstanding LLNL publications...during the preceding year: These awards are bestowed on individuals or teams for publications that are judged to have an especially significant impact on the external scientific and technical community or on important Laboratory missions."


Hans Rinderknecht

Hans Rinderknecht



Read Hans's award winning paper, here.



June, 2016.


Division Head Rich Petrasso commented on the recent announcement that HEDP graduate Mike Rosenberg has been selected for the 2016 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award by the APS Division of Plasma Physics: "This is a huge and well deserved honor for Mike, the entire MIT team, the PSFC, as well as for Omega, the NIF and the MIT Diagnostic Accelerator Lab--all facilities where Mike did his PhD. work. Mike did some truly ground-breaking work in plasma physics, as noted in his citation."


Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg



Mike's citiation will read in part: "For first experimental demonstration of the importance of kinetic and multi-ion effects on fusion rates in a wide class of inertial confinement fusion implosions, and for use of proton diagnostics to unveil new features of magnetic reconnection in laser-generated plasmas."


June, 2016.


The June edition of NIF & Photon Science News highlighted a Discovery Science experiment for which HEDP Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson is the principle investigator.


As reported in NIF & Photon Science News:


The NIF experiments build on previous studies of the 3He+3He reaction on the OMEGA Laser at the University of Rochester. The OMEGA and NIF experiments are the first to study stellar nucleosynthesis using high energy density (HED) plasmas; most previous nucleosynthesis studies were done on particle accelerators.


Said Dr. Gatu Johnson, “The primary goal of this set of shots is to get a really good measurement of the 3He+3He proton spectrum and [reaction] rate. Depending on what we learn from this first round of shots, we’ll fine-tune the implosions to get better data. The resulting data from this effort should greatly improve our knowledge of these reactions in HED plasmas.”


“This set of shots to study reactions relevant to stellar nucleosynthesis is an important step forward for the Discovery Science (DS) Program,” said Bruce Remington, the NIF DS Program Leader. “We have now broadened the science regimes accessible to NIF to include stellar nuclear physics.”


Maria Gatu Johnson


Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson.



May, 2016.


Two papers, authored by scientists from the HEDP group, were recently chosen as Editor's Picks in two journals.

Séguin et al. (Phys. Plasmas) is an important paper that explores, experimentally and theoretically, a method of addressing asymmetries in implosions, one of the key factors limiting high yields at the NIF.

Frenje et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett.) measured for the first time ion stopping around the Bragg peak and its dependence on HEDP conditions. The long-term goal with this effort is to establish a fundamental understanding of ion (alpha) stopping around the Bragg peak, which is a prerequisite for achieving hot-spot ignition at the NIF.


johan frenje          fredrick seguin scientist


Research Scientists Johan Frenje (left) and Fredrick Séguin (right).



F.H. Séguin: "Effects of fuel-capsule shimming and drive asymmetry on inertial-confinement-fusion symmetry and yield"


J.A. Frenje: "Measurements of Ion Stopping Around the Bragg Peak in High-Energy-Density Plasmas"


April, 2016.


MIT's HED group had a strong showing at the 2016 Omega Laser Facility Users Group Workshop at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics in Rochester, NY.


MIT OLUG 2016 group

Left to right, back row: Senior Research Scientist Chikang Li, Research Specialist Andrew Birkel, and Division Head Richard Petrasso. Left to right, middle row: graduate students Graeme Sutcliffe, Neel Kabadi, and Raspberry Simpson. Left to right, front row: Principal Research Scientist Johan Frenje, graduate student Hong Sio, Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson, and colleague Cody Parker.



The five current HED graduate students, all of whom are deeply involved with OMEGA data, diagnostics, and analyses, utilize the LLE facility to test and develop diagnostics and platforms.


January 22, 2016.


NIF Director Dr. Mark Herrman visited MIT and gave an outstanding talk during the PSFC IAP period on "Creating, diagnosing and controlling high-energy-density matter with the National Ignition Facility". His talk gave an overview of the NIF program and highlighted frontier research activities and MIT participation at the National Ignition Facility.



Mark Herrmann (3rd from left), with MIT graduate students (left to right), Neel Kabadi, Hong Sio, Graeme Sutcliffe, Chris Wink, and Brandon Lahmann, at the HED Physics accelerator facility


The five current HED graduate students, all of whom are deeply involved with NIF data, diagnostics, and analyses, utilize the accelerator facility to test and develop their NIF diagnostics and platforms. They follow 4 earlier MIT PhD students (Dan Casey, Mike Rosenberg, Hans Rinderknecht, and Alex Zylstra) who were NIF's first PhD students.


January 2016.


Graduate student Brandon Lahmann was interviewed for NNSA's 2016 Stewardship Science Academic Programs Annual. See the resulting biographical article here.


Brandon Lahmann


Brandon Lahmann



January 2016.


Graduate student Hong Sio was interviewed for NNSA's 2016 Stewardship Science Academic Programs Annual. See the resulting biographical article here.


Hong Sio


Hong Sio



April 30, 2015.


In a long day, thirteen successful shots were taken at OMEGA as part of an NLUF experiment to study ion diffusion processes relevent to ICF implosions. Hong Sio commented, “KineticCD-15A today is successful in execution, produces several interesting results, and [was] surprisingly problem-free.”


Photo courtesy of Eugene Kowaluk Laboratory of Laser Enegretics.


The MIT Team


The MIT team: (left to right) Johan Frenje, Hong Sio, Chikang Li, David Orozco and Brandon Lahmann.



April 2015


Jimmy Rojas, working with the HEDP group as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, has been reognized by the MIT Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering with the Irving Kaplan Award for academic achievement by a junior. In addition, he was made a member of Alpha Nu Sigma the honorary branch of the American Nuclear Society. Members of Alpha Nu Sigma are selected from the top quarter of juniors and the top third of seniors and graduate students in the Nuclear Engineering Department.



Jimmy Rojas


Alex Zylstra

April 15, 2015.


Alex Zylstra successfully
defended his PhD thesis.



“Using fusion-product spectroscopy to study inertial fusion implosions, stopping power, and astrophysical nucleosynthesis at OMEGA and the NIF”



March, 2015.


Alex Zylstra and Hans Rinderknecht were both awarded the prestigious Lawrence Fellowship by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. PSFC director Dennis Whyte remarked, “These awards to Hans and Alex are a testament to the outstanding science education efforts at the multi-departmental PSFC, and to the combined excellence of the HEDP research staff and students, who are producing impactful results on the national stage.”


See the NIF & Photon Science News article about Hans and Alex.

See the PSFC article or the MIT News article about the Lawrence Fellowship.


Hans Rinderknecht and Alex Zylstra


Hans Rinderknecht (left) and Alex Zylstra.



February 11, 2015.


Hans Rinderknecht's poster was awarded "1st Place by a Postdoctoral Scholar" at the NIF & JLF User Group Meeting 2015.


“Studies of Ion Thermal Decoupling and Species Separation in OMEGA Implosions: Implications for the NIF”


Hans Rinderknecht


Carolyn Kurantz and Don Lamb presenting Hans with his award certificate.



February 2015.


NIF-MIT Partnership Mints New PhDs.


National Ignition Facility


An article in NIF & Photon News highlighted the collaboration between the National Ignition Facility and the HEDP division of the PSFC.



Hans Rinderknecht

January 16, 2015.


Hans Rinderknecht successfully
defended his PhD thesis.


“Studies of non-hydrodynamic processes in ICF implosions
at OMEGA and the National Ignition Facility



December 2014

The December issue of Stockpile Stewardship Quarterly (SSQ), included a prominent message from Dr. Kathleen Alexander, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation for the National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Defense Programs, highlighting "...the achievements of two students—Mario Manuel [who] won the prestigious Rosenbluth award for his outstanding thesis 'Rayleigh-Taylor-Induced Electromagnetic Fields in Laser-Produced Plasmas' at MIT. This was the first Rosenbluth award in high energy density/inertial confinement fusion physics. Mike Rosenberg defended his thesis supported by the National Ignition Facility (NIF) PhD Thesis Program, which is now the second thesis based on NIF data... The NIF data he used focused on exploding pusher shots of deuterium-helium-3 and deuterium-deuterium filled capsules."



From SSQ Vol. 4, No. 4 (December 2014)

Dr. Kathleen Alexander with (left to right) Dr. Richard Petrasso, Dr. Mario Manuel, the 2014 recipient of the Marshall Rosenbluth Outstanding Thesis Award, and Dr. Don Cook, Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs.




December 2014


Donald Cook, Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs, recognized Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson and Principal Research Scientist Johan Frenje with NNSA Defense Programs Awards of Excellence. The awards recognized their significant contribution to the Stockpile Stewardship Program in the area of supporting diagnostics.



Maria Gatu Johnsonjohan frenje



Wedge Range Filters

October 2014.


The Experimental Highlights section of the October issue of
NIF & Photon Science News
featured an article titled "MIT's Mighty-Mite Detectors Prove Their Mettle". "[an] extremely useful diagnostic for measuring ρR symmetry as the fuel is compressed prior to reaching maximum density is the wedge range filter (WRF) developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology".

"Commonly used on all deuterium and deuterium-helium3-fueled NIF implosions, the WRF proton spectrometers, designed by MIT's Fredrick Seguin, measure the spectrum of proton energy in the range from four million to 20 million electron volts (MeV) using a wedge-shaped aluminum filter placed in front of plastic film called CR39. The WRFs measure the energy downshift of the protons as they leave the implosion to determine the implosion areal density..."



Maria Gatu Johnsonjohan frenje

October 17, 2014.


Research Scientist Maria Gatu Johnson and Principal Research Scientist Johan Frenje were informed that they had been selected as recipients of an FY14 LLNL Director's Science and Technology Award as co-authors of:

"Measurement of the T + T Neutron Spectrum Using the National Ignition Facility"

(PRL 111, 052501 (2013)).



The notifiation e-mail stated, "The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director's Science and Technology Awards...acknowledge and celebrate especially significant accomplishments by the Laboratory's scientific, technical, and engineering staff. The awards are presented annually to individuals and teams who have made outstanding recent contributions that are widely acknowledged both internally and outside the Laboratory."



Mike Rosenberg

September 10, 2014.


NIF & Photon Science News reported that, “Mike Rosenberg...who has worked on NIF experiments since they began, recently defended his thesis as part of the NIF PhD thesis program. Rosenberg’s is the second thesis based on NIF data; former MIT student Dan Casey, now an LLNL scientist, completed his PhD in 2012”.



Richard Petrasso head of the high energy density physics division said, “Outstanding PhD research has continued to occur through the NIF PhD thesis program since its inception, as exemplified by Mike’s work, and Dan Casey’s before him.”



Mike Rosenberg

July 11, 2014.


Mike Rosenberg successfully defended his PhD thesis.


Studies of Ion Kinetic Effects in Shock-Driven Inertial Confinement Fusion Implosions at OMEGA and the NIF, and Magnetic Reconnection Using Laser-Produced Plasmas at OMEGA


June 2014.


Recent PhD graduate Mario Manuel was selected as the as the recipient of the 2014 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award by the APS DPP.


mario manuel, graduate student

His citation read in part, “The Award was established to recognize exceptional young scientists who have performed original doctoral thesis research of outstanding scientific quality and achievement in the area of plasma physics.”


Alex Zylstra

February 19, 2014.


HEDP PhD candidate Alex Zylstra presents Outstanding Poster at SSAP


Keith LeChien, SSAA Program Manager, awarded Alex Zylstra's poster: Observations of a 5th Shock and Low-Mode Asymmetries in Surrogate Ignition Scale NIF Implosions the Outstanding Poster of the 2014 SSAP Symposium on High Energy Density Physics.


October 18, 2013.

HEDP PhD candidate Hong Sio presented a poster at MIT Energy Night.

MIT Energy Night

MIT Energy Night is a celebration of the ingenuity, innovation, and imagination of MIT faculty, researchers, students, and alumni. Energy Night features poster presentations from every energy-affiliated department at MIT as well as early stage startups based on MIT technologies.
More about Energy Night 2013


October 6, 2013.

Luncheon hosted by PSFC Director Miklos Porkolab.

Lunch at Bertucci's

Miklos Porkolab joined the HEDP group's celebration of recent promotions and awards.


johan frenjeDr. Johan Frenje


October, 2013.
Miklos Porkolab, Director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, announced the well-deserved promotion of Dr. Johan Frenje to the position of Principal Research Scientist.

"Promotions to these ranks...[are] based on outstanding scholarship, community leadership and contributions to MIT's educational program by way of mentoring students", said Porkolab.


September 11, 2013.

International Inertial Fusion Science and Applications Conference (IFSA) in Nara, Japan.

richard petrasso

Richard Petrasso accepts the Teller award at IFSA 2013

Richard Petrasso received the prestigious Edward Teller Medal, which recognizes pioneering research and leadership in the use of laser and ion-particle beams to produce extraordinarily high-temperature and high-density matter for scientific research and for controlled thermonuclear fusion. His citation for the award reads: “for pioneering the use of nuclear diagnostics for understanding inertial confinement fusion implosions and high-energy-density physics.”
More about the Teller award



Maria Gatu Johnson

Maria Gatu Johnson



September 1, 2013.


Dr. Maria Gatu Johnson was promoted to the position of Research Scientist.

June 28, 2013.

Stewardship Science Academic Programs Annual Review Symposium


Alex Zylstra's poster "Fusion product spectroscopy of inertial fusion implosions for studies of NIF implosions and basic science" was awarded Outstanding Poster of the 2013 SSAP Symposium on High Energy Density Physics by Christopher Deeney, Assistant Deputy Administrator.


Maria Gatu Johnson

Maria Gatu Johnson


The May 26, 2013 edition of Weekly Highlights reported that the first quantitative measurement of collective fuel velocities in NIF ICF implosions were described in a Physics of Plasmas paper by Dr. Maria Gatu Johnson.


Weekly Highlights is a sampling of experimental results and research accomplishments at the NIF and Photon Science Principal Directorate.

Dr. Edward Moses, Principal Associate Director NIF & Photon Science, commented that "The [Gatu Johnson] paper is another good example of the close and productive collaboration between NIF and MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center."


Maria Gatu Johnson

Maria Gatu Johnson



February, 2013. Dr. Maria Gatu Johnson’s poster for the 2013 NIF/JLF User Group Meeting was recognized as the Best Poster by a Postdoc.


Novel nuclear science experiments on the NIF and OMEGA relevant to stellar nuclear synthesis”.


January 2013.


The National Ignition Facility's Photons & Fusion Newsletter describes
how MIT-NIF Team Delivers Key NIF Diagnostics




Twenty new wedge range filter (WRF) precision compact proton spectrometers developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been delivered to NIF. The WRF is one of three diagnostic devices created at MIT that are designed to measure the spectrum and timing of NIF neutrons and protons.



mario manuel, graduate student

Mario Manuel


January, 2013. Dr. Mario Manuel was awarded an Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-sponsored Einstein Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for highly qualified, recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the science goals of the NASA Physics of the Cosmos program.



Nareg Sinenian


Nareg Sinenian successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis, December 2012.


"Fast-Ion Spectrometry of ICF Implosions and Laser-Foil Experiments at the Omega and MTW Laser Facilities".

mario manuel, graduate student

Mario Manuel


December, 2012. Mario Manuel successfully defended his Ph.D thesis.


"Rayleigh-Taylor-Induced Electromagnetic Fields in Laser-Produced Plasmas".

johan frenje

Johan Frenje


October, 2012. Research Scientist Johan Frenje was selected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society: for pioneering development of unique neutron diagnostic methods and their utilization in inertial confinement fusion research, particularly in assessing implosion performance in fundamental and applied nuclear-science experiments.

Preamplifiers at the NIF
Photo credit: Damien Jemison/LLNL


July, 2012. Time Magazine's Techland blog reports on "The Laser Beam 1,000 Times as Powerful as the U.S." Author Matt Peckham includes quotes from Dr. Richard Petrasso, senior research scientist and division head of high energy density physics, made in an article on the NIF website.


June, 2012. The Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering in NSE:Spotlight reports that "[Dan] Casey’s foundational work will enable the nation to move closer to fusion energy — an endlessly renewable, sun-like power."


May, 2012. Measuring Hohlraum-produced Fast Ions in the National Ignition Facility's Photons & Fusion Newsletter reports that the first measurements of fast ions produced in indirect-drive hohlraum experiments and their relationship to hot electrons were described by MIT and LLNL researchers based on experiments at the OMEGA laser facility at the University of Rochester.



March 16, 2012. The Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering hosted its third annual Doctoral Research Expo featuring signature oral presentations given by an outstanding student chosen from each of the three main areas of research within the department. Featured Presentation: Mario Manuel (Fusion) Using Fusion to Study Fusion.
Alex Zylstra

Alex Zylstra

February 2012. Alex Zylstra's poster for the 2012 NIF User Group Meeting was recognized as The First Place Distinguished Poster.


"Charged-particle spectroscopy for diagnosing NIF implosions and for conducting basic science"
view as .pdf  view as .pptx

Hong Sio

Hong Sio

2012. Hong Sio was awarded a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (SSGF). The program provides excellent financial benefits and professional development opportunities to students pursuing a Ph.D. in fields of study that solve complex science and engineering problems critical to stewardship science.

Read more about the fellowship program.

December 2011.

An article in the NIF Photon and Fusion Newsletter reported that "[The] Plasma Science and Fusion Center, has played a key role in developing, testing, and calibrating diagnostic equipment for NIF. Among the diagnostics tested and calibrated by the center's Ph.D. students and staff members are three devices designed to measure the spectrum and timing of neutrons and protons.



MRS detector array

Daniel Casey

Dan Casey

Dan Casey successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis, December 2011.

"Diagnosing Inertial Confinement Fusion Implosions at OMEGA and the NIF Using Novel Neutron Spectrometry"


NIF Laser Bay 2

September 2011. Three National Ignition Facility and Photon Science Awards were received for “outstanding contributions in designing and implementing diagnostics that have been essential to the progress of the National Ignition Campaign.” The awards were for advanced neutron spectrometer (Dr. Johan Frenje), particle time-of-flight detector (student Hans Rinderknecht), and proton spectrometer (student Alex Zylstra).
Alex Zylstra

Alex Zylstra

2009. Alex Zylstra was awarded a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (SSGF). The program provides excellent financial benefits and professional development opportunities to students pursuing a Ph.D. in fields of study that solve complex science and engineering problems critical to stewardship science.

Read more about the fellowship program.


MRS windows

Magnetic Recoil Spectrometer mentioned in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics "Around the Lab", April 2009.

Click here to read the article


NIF Target Chamber

Richard Petrasso quoted on Discovery News, July 2008.

"Giant Laser in the Works to Achieve Fusion"

Petrasso congratulates Li

Richard Petrasso congratulates Chikang Li on his selection as an APS fellow.

Chikang Li selected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, October 2006

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