Laboratory for Laser Energetics

Laboratory for Laser Energetics

Laboratory for Laser Energetics
Motto "A unique national resource"
Established 1970
Research type Unclassified
Field of research
The investigation of the interaction of intense radiation with matter
Director Robert L. McCrory
Staff 400 - 500 people
Address 250 East River Rd
Rochester, NY 14623-1212
Location Brighton, New York, US
Zip code
Affiliations United States Department of Energy
MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center
State University of New York at Geneseo
University of Nevada, Reno
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Operating agency
University of Rochester

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) is a scientific research facility which is part of the University of Rochester's south campus, located in Brighton, New York. The lab was established in 1970 and its operations since then have been funded jointly; mainly by the United States Department of Energy, the University of Rochester and the New York State government. The Laser Lab was commissioned to serve as a center for investigations of high-energy physics, specifically those involving the interaction of extremely intense laser radiation with matter. Many types of scientific experiments are performed at the facility with a strong emphasis on inertial confinement, direct drive, laser-induced fusion using OMEGA, currently the world's highest-energy ultraviolet laser. The lab shares its building with the Center for Optoelectronics and Imaging and the Center for Optics Manufacturing. A new addition, the Robert L. Sproull Center for Ultra High Intensity Laser Research, was opened in 2005 and houses the OMEGA EP laser, which was completed in May 2008.

The laboratory is unique in conducting big science on a university campus. More than 180 Phds have been award for research done at the LLE. [1] [2] During summer months the lab sponsors a program for high school students which involves local-area high school juniors in the research being done at the laboratory. Most of the projects are done on current research that is led by senior scientists at the lab.[3]


  • History 1
  • LLE OMEGA laser facility 2
  • LLE OMEGA EP laser system 3
  • Organization 4
  • See also 5
  • External links 6
  • References 7


The LLE was founded on the University of Rochesters' campus in 1970, by Dr. Moshe Lubin.[4][5] Working with outside companies such as Kodak the team built Delta, a four beam laser system in 1972. Construction started on the current LLE site in 1976.[4] The facility opened in 1978 a six beam laser systems and a 24 beam system follows two years later. In 1985, Donna Strickland[6] and Gérard Mourou invent a method to amplify lasers pulses by "chirping". This method change a single wavelength of laser light into a spectrum of wavelengths. The system amplifies the laser at each wavelength and then reconstitutes the beam into one color. Chirp pulsed amplification became instrumental in building the National Ignition Facility and the Omega EP system. In 1995, the omega laser was increased to 60 beams system and in 2008 the Omega extended performance system was opened.

LLE OMEGA laser facility

The OMEGA laser at the LLE is one of the most powerful and highest energy lasers in the world. It is a 60-beam ultraviolet frequency-tripled neodymium glass laser, which is capable of delivering 30 kilojoules at up to 60 terawatts onto a target less than 2 millimeter in diameter. Construction and commissioning of the laser were completed in 1995. OMEGA held the record for highest energy laser (per pulse) from 1999 (after the Nova laser's dismantling) to 2005, when the first 8 beams of the National Ignition Facility exceeded OMEGA's output by about 30 kJ in the ultraviolet. The maximum fusion yield of OMEGA so far is about 1014 neutrons per shot (first achieved in 1995),and it once held the record for highest neutron yield of any inertial confinement fusion device.

LLE OMEGA EP laser system

The four beam OMEGA EP (extended performance) laser system was dedicated on May 16, 2008. Along with the four NIF-like laser beams, it consists of a new target chamber and a vacuum pulse compression chamber containing large-aperture pulse compression gratings, allowing the laser system to perform short pulse laser shots. The laser is housed inside the newest addition to the building, which was completed in 2005. The combination of the OMEGA and the OMEGA EP laser systems will allow the LLE to be the world's only facility capable of fully integrated cryogenic fast ignition experiments.


LLE is located on and operated by the University of Rochester.[7] Omega and Omega EP are user facilities, open for use by the entire scientific community.[8]

LLNL's principal sponsor is the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) Office of Defense Programs, which supports its stockpile stewardship and advanced scientific computing programs.[8][9]

The Laboratory has a five-fold mission:[10]

  • To conduct implosion experiments and basic physics experiments in support of the National Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program.
  • To develop new laser and materials technologies.
  • To provide graduate and undergraduate education in electro-optics, high-power lasers, high-energy-density physics, plasma physics, and nuclear fusion technology.
  • To operate the National Laser Users' Facility.
  • To conduct research and development in advanced technology related to high-energy-density phenomena.

See also

External links

  • Official website
  • Center for Optics Manufacturing
  • Omega Laser Facility Users' Guide This users’ guide was created to help users of the Omega Laser Facility propose and carry out experiments at the facility. It has extensive technical details on the facility.
  • R. Stephen Craxton


  1. ^ "LLE Theses"
  2. ^ "Theses from NLUF Research"
  3. ^ "LLE High School Students and Projects"
  4. ^ a b "Leading Lights" Features, Rochester Magazine, 2010, By Scott Hauser
  5. ^ "History of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics"
  6. ^ "Dr. Donna Strickland: Packing a laser punch" The University of Waterloo , Personal Profiles, accessed 1-11-2014,
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^