Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Physics Division

Physics Division Seminars

Physics Division Seminars bring us speakers on a variety of physics related subjects. Usually these are held in the Building 6008 large Conference Room, at 3:00 pm on the chosen day, but times and locations may vary. For more information, contact our seminar chairman,

Alfredo Galindo-Uribarri
Tel (Office): (865) 574-6124  (FAX): (865) 574-1268


Thu., December 18, 2003, at 3:00 p.m.

High energy density physics with terawatt to petawatt class lasers

Todd Ditmire, The University of Texas at Austin
6008 Conference Room

The increasing proliferation of 100 TW class ultrashort pulse lasers and the near completion of a number of petawatt class lasers world wide is opening a wide frontier in laser science. The applications of these lasers now spans fields ranging from plasma physics to medicine. One of the new frontiers opened by these lasers is in high energy-density (HED) science. A multi-TW laser can create heated matter at temperature up to many keV at density reaching up to and beyond that of a solid. This capability now makes possible detailed study of an array of exotic physics, including Gbar pressures in heated solids, radiative hydrodynamics and nuclear fusion. Lasers with powers of a PW or more will make possible study of even more extreme conditions, including relativistic plasmas. This entire class of hot dense matter is interesting in its own right, but is also of great interest for the applications it opens, such as the ability to make bright sources of energetic particles (protons, neutrons, electrons and gammas) or the possibility to access astrophysically relevant conditions. In this talk I will review some of the recent advances in high energy density science made using high intensity short pulse lasers with illustrative examples from work performed in my group. I will also conjecture on some of the future directions in HED science that can be exploited with the latest petawatt laser technology.