LPS Colloquium on Plasma Science & Application featuring Dr. Todd Ditmire



Clark Hall 701


The Science and Technology of High Peak Power Lasers and their Applications to Inertial Fusion Energy Research

Dr. Todd Ditmire
Director of the Center for High Energy Density Science;
Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Austin

The invention of chirped pulse amplification (CPA), which was the subject of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, has revolutionized high peak power, ultrafast lasers. CPA has made possible construction of lasers with peak power up to 10 PW (1016 W). This presentation will discuss this technology and describe how it has been used in the Texas Petawatt Laser and the L4 10 PW laser built in Austin and delivered to the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) laboratory in Prague, and will then discuss inertial fusion energy (IFE) and will talk about how these high-power lasers can be employed in IFE research.

Host: Gennady Shvets  

Join us for a reception before the talk from 3:45 until 4:15 p.m.

About the speaker: Todd Ditmire is Professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) where he directs the Center for High Energy Density Science and works on experimental studies of high intensity laser interactions with matter. In 2003 under Ditmire’s direction, UT was awarded one of four Stockpile Sciences Academic Alliance Centers of Excellence by the National Nuclear Security Administration, and was funded until 2017. Ditmire was also one of the founding members of the DOE’s LaserNetUS network. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 1991 in physics and art history, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1995 from the Department of Applied Science, and conducted his Ph.D. research that focused on high-intensity laser technology and laser-plasma interactions at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). After a two year post-doctoral fellowship at Imperial College in London, he returned to LLNL to join the staff in the National Ignition Facility directorate. In 2000, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin in the Physics Department.
In 2010 Ditmire established National Energetics, Inc. a company devoted to constructing custom high-energy laser systems, and has been President and CEO since its establishment. In 2021 he co-founded Focused Energy Inc., a new company devoted to the commercialization of laser-driven fusion.