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Plasmas for national security span an enormous range in temperature and density. For example, high energy density plasma research helps assure the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons stockpiles under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty


High energy density plasmas are often produced using pulsed power hardware. In operation, an eerie glow emerges from the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories.


Plasma ion implantation can produce hardened surfaces for many defense and civilian applications.


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In inertial-confinement fusion, laser beams or ion beams energize the inside of a small cylindrical target. X rays then rapidly heat the capsule (1) causing its surface to blow off (2). The resulting force compresses the plasma fuel (hydrogen isotopes), raising temperatures to 100,000,000 degrees C and densities to 20 times greater than lead. This ignites the plasma fuel (3) and produces fusion energy output (4) many times the laser energy input (thus yielding large energy gain).


Mirrors using low-density plasmas are attractive candidates for electronic steering of shipboard radar
for the 21st century
( Naval Research Laboratory).


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The National Ignition Facility will be used for research in inertial fusion energy and applications and help build a basis for realistic development of inertial fusion energy systems.
The National Ignition Facility is a key element in our nation's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program which aims to maintain confidence in the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile under a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Target data from this facility will be used to verify complex computer simulations of nuclear weapons physics.