Physics Colloquium: Nuclear Science Experiments at the University of Rochester’s Omega Laser Facility

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physics colloquium chad forrest

Physics Colloquium
Nuclear Science Experiments at the University of Rochester’s Omega Laser Facility

Dr. Chad Forrest
Staff Scientist
Laboratory for Laser Energetics
University of Rochester

Exploring nuclear science and astrophysics using high-energy-density–physics (HEDP) plasmas is an emerging field leveraging a national program. The MJ-class National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the kJ-class Omega Laser Facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) have unique capabilities to create an HEDP plasma with conditions that are similar to the interior of a star to study reactions relevant to stellar nucleosynthesis (SN) and big-bang nucleosynthesis (BBN), and generate a bright monoenergetic fusion neutron source to induce the breakup of light-Z nuclei. In addition, recent experiments have demonstrated nuclear reactions initiated by laser-accelerated deuterons and tritons onto solid targets using the OMEGA EP laser. This motivated the development of a new platform to explore light-ion nuclear reactions using a tritium beam with the joint capabilities of OMEGA/OMEGA EP (T-LIANS). This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration under Award Number DE NA0003856.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Forrest attended the University of Rochester in Physics and Astronomy and completed an undergraduate degree in three years and a master degree in two years. During this time his research was in gravitational radiation within the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) group for which his thesis work was on “Tidal effects on laser interferometer gravitational wave detectors.” After finishing his master’s degree, he continued his graduate work at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). The focus of his research was studying the performance for ignition-relevant DT implosions on the OMEGA Laser Facility with key experimental parameters specifically inferring the areal density during peak compression. He remained at the LLE and is currently a Staff Scientist. In the last five years, he has made important contributions in the field of both high-energy density physics (HEDP) and nuclear structure physics using the OMEGA laser facility. Several key HEDP experiments evaluated highly kinetic plasmas that were dedicated to study a Bi-Maxwellian ion distribution determined from spectral moments of the primary fusion peak neutron signals, In an effort to study nucleon-nucleon reactions, he has developed an experimental platform on the OMEGA laser facility to demonstrate that a bright neutron source from ICF implosions can be used to measure inelastic neutron scattering cross-sections of important fundamental nuclear reactions of light Z elements. Recently, he was the lead as principal investigator for the cryogenic DT liners campaign on OMEGA in November of 2021. The laser imploded the shell to the highest implosion velocity ever generated on OMEGA, exceeding a velocity of 600 km/s. Those implosions achieved record DT yields on OMEGA, which were increased by 30% with respect to previous implosions and reached a measured neutron yield of up to 3x1014.

Intended Audience:
Beginners, undergraduates, graduates. Those with interest in the topic.

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Rebecca Day
Event Snapshot
When and Where
November 09, 2022
1:00 pm - 1:50 pm
Room/Location: 3365

Open to the Public

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