In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy established a network of facilities operating ultra-powerful lasers, called LaserNetUS. Organized and funded through the department's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, the network was created to provide vastly improved access to unique lasers for researchers and to help restore the U.S.' once-dominant position in high-intensity laser research. We are one of ten high-intensity laser labs in the network.
LaserNetUS includes the most powerful lasers in the United States and Canada, some of which have powers approaching or exceeding a petawatt. Petawatt lasers generate light with at least a million billion watts of power, or nearly 100 times the combined output of all the world’s power plants but compressed in the briefest of bursts. These lasers fire off ultrafast pulses of light shorter than a tenth of a trillionth of a second.
All facilities in LaserNetUS operate high-intensity lasers, which have a broad range of applications in basic research, advanced manufacturing and medicine. They can recreate some of the most extreme conditions in the universe, such as those found in supernova explosions and near black holes. They can generate particle beams for high-energy physics research or intense X-ray pulses to probe matter as it evolves on ultrafast time scales. They are being used to develop new technology, such as techniques to generate intense neutron bursts to evaluate aging aircraft components or implement advanced laser-based welding. Several LaserNetUS facilities also operate high-energy longer-pulse lasers that can produce exotic and extreme states of matter like those in planetary interiors or many-times-compressed materials; they can also be used to study laser-plasma interaction, important to fusion energy programs.
Please see the LaserNetUS homepage for more information about how to propose experiments at our facility.