University Use of the NIF for Planetary Science

Dylan Spaulding, University of California, Berkeley


Large-scale laser facilities, including the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, enable experimental investigation of the material properties that govern the evolution and origins of planets and brown dwarves. Emerging techniques combining Megajoule-lasers with dynamic compression methods and diamond-anvil cells extend the range of high-pressure experiments from the Megabar to the Gigabar regime. New questions arise at these extreme conditions, including the nature of the chemical bond at Gbar pressures, and the nature of solids above a few tens of Mbar. HED science is thus opening new windows in planetary research, testing first-principles theory in new ways, and extending our reach from the laboratory to the conditions of distant worlds.

Abstract Author(s): Dylan K. Spaulding, Raymond Jeanloz