The high-energy lasers at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) employ exquisite pulse-shaping control to achieve ramp compression pressures to 50 Mbar (15x center of earth pressure) and higher. Ramp compression, contrasted to shock compression, keeps sample temperatures low and allows the study of extreme-density compressed-matter.
Using these capabilities, researchers will gain experimental access to giant-planet interior states and the phase space relevant to exotic crystal structures predicted by modern theory. Early experiments are underway, and in Denver Jon Eggert of LLNL will present some of the first results of extreme-compression experiments, which show the ability to compress solid iron and tantalum to nearly 10 Mbar, carbon to 50 Mbar and the first x-ray diffraction done on NIF.
Amy Lazicki (LLNL) will discuss new results of x-ray diffraction experiments on NIF and Omega (a smaller laser at the University of Rochester) on dynamically-compressed Sn, Ta, MgO, Pb and diamond — work that reveals some new structural transitions at previously inaccessible pressures.