Dr. Keith LeChien is a Program Manager in the Defense Science Division, NA-113 at the National Nuclear Security Administration. This Division supports programs that advance the scientific basis for nuclear weapons assessment.
Dr. LeChien, born and raised in Belleville, Ill., graduated Summa Cum Laude in December 2001 with a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia (UMC). In December 2002, he completed a M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering at UMC studying advanced gas switches for the primary energy storage section of large pulsed power accelerators. In January 2006, he completed his Ph.D. research at UMC on the development of multi-megavolt, megampere gas switches for the synchronization of multi-module terawatt pulsed- power accelerators. At UMC, he constructed one of the largest pulsed-power test modules at a university.
Dr. LeChien joined the Advanced Accelerator Physics Group at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in February 2006. At SNL, he became the principal investigator for development of the 6-megavolt laser triggered gas switch for the $90M refurbished Z Accelerator, a 70-TW driver for high energy density physics and dynamic materials experiments. In 2010, he was promoted to Principal Member of Technical Staff at SNL.
In May 2010, Dr. LeChien joined the National Nuclear Security Administration as a Program Manager in the Defense Sciences Division in Washington, DC. To date, Dr. LeChien has authored or co-authored over 15 journal or conference papers on high power switching and pulsed-power applications. He has chaired oral and poster sessions for the 2007 and 2009 IEEE International Pulsed-Power Conferences and organized a session for the 2010 International Conference on Plasma Science.