Particle physics research

Lab’s ACT-UP Awards Focus on Collaborative Academic Research

The ACT-UP Awards are supported by LLNL’s Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI) Directorate with a focus on WCI Weapons Physics and Design Stockpile Science, Inertial Confinement Fusion, and Space national security mission. LLNL Principal Investigators include, from left to right: Félicie Albert, Jutta Escher, Saad Khairallah, Kambiz Salari and Anton Tonchev.

With a focus on increasing joint research efforts between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and universities, the laboratory’s University Collaboration in Weapons Physics and Design (WPD) University Program (ACT-UP) presented the awards this year’s ACT-UP.

Now in its third year, the ACT-UP Awards were created to encourage and advance strategic partnerships between universities with a focus on the lab’s mission. The awards focus on key results, including innovation and basic science to build long-term relationships on target topics with target universities; and products comprising data, methods, and technologies where the lab taps into academic connections to respond with agility to the challenges of the WPD program.

The ACT-UP Awards also serve as a pipeline to promote education, recruitment, and hiring that builds on the Lab’s academic connections for a workforce with cultivated skills, knowledge, and abilities.

“The ACT-UP Awards help advance the laboratory’s physics and weapons design missions by engaging academic researchers,” said Rose McCallen, President of ACT-UP. “We’ve had tremendous success attracting some of the best researchers from various universities to collaborate with the lab.”

Led by McCallen, the team established a one-stop shop for academic collaborations, with a focused administrator and a committee of 11 representatives from the WPD, the Weapons Simulation and Computation Program, the High-Performance Physics Summer Program Energy Density, Center for High Energy Density Science, and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s University Stewardship Science Programs. The LLNL ACT-UP committee includes Teresa Bailey, Daniel Casey, Perry Chodash, Dana Goto, Frank Graziani, Brian Maddox, Rob Neely, Luc Peterson, Scott Sepke and Joe Wasem, with McCallen as chair and Kim Rivera as director.

This year’s awards

This year, five scholarships were distributed to five universities for a total of $500,000 per year for three years. This year’s recipients, project title and principal investigators from LLNL and the university are as follows:

The University of Alabama

High fidelity modeling of laser-plasma interaction in metal laser additive manufacturing

  • Saad Khairallah, Principal Investigator of LLNL
  • U of A Principal Investigator Alexey Volkov
  • Michael Stokes, PhD student at the University of Alberta

San Diego State University

New ability to predict fission fragment reaction and decay properties

  • Jutta Escher, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • San Diego State Principal Investigator Calvin Johnson
  • San Diego State PhD student Oliver Gorton

Duke University and Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory

Energy-dependent fission product yields

  • Anton Tonchev, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Calvin Howell, Principal Investigator, Duke University
  • Aitor Bracho, PhD student at Duke University

University of Texas at Austin

A new radiographic capability using X-rays from laser-plasma accelerators

  • Félicie Albert, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • UT Austin Principal Investigator Michael Downer
  • Isabella Pagano, UT Austin PhD student

University of California, Davis

Improved macro-scale material strength model predictions under extreme conditions via meso-scale simulations

  • Kambiz Salari, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Jennifer Curtis, UC Davis Principal Investigator
  • Chanh Nguyen, UC Davis PhD student

Previous year awards

Last year, five universities received the ACT-UP award, totaling nearly $500,000 per year for three years. Last year’s recipients, project title, LLNL and university researchers and students are as follows:

The University of Colorado at Boulder

Modeling of MagLIF laser preheating experiments

  • David Strozzi, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • John Cary, U of C Principal Investigator
  • Ryan Lau, PhD Candidate at U of C

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Advanced experimental capability to study high-speed collisions of metallic microparticles

  • Alison Saunders, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Chris Schuh, MIT Principal Investigator
  • Tyler Lucas, MIT PhD Candidate

Stanford University

Determination of exact RANS operators with the macroscopic forcing method

  • Brandon Morgan, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Ali Mani, Stanford Principal Investigator
  • Dana Lansigan and Jessie Liu, Stanford PhD Candidates

New Mexico Technology

Quantitative optical measurement of shock interactions around high-velocity projectiles

  • Alejandro Campos, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Michael Hargather, NMT Principal Investigator
  • Jason Falls, NMT Ph.D. graduate

University of Alberta

Diagnosis of ICF Hohlraum plasmas using advanced Thomson diffusion techniques

  • George Swadling, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Wjciech Rozmus, Alberta Principal Investigator
  • Colin Bruulsema, PhD candidate from Alberta

In 2020, four universities received the ACT-UP award, totaling nearly $400,000 per year for three years. The recipients, project title, LLNL and university researchers and students are as follows:

University of California, Los Angeles

Investigation of the control of nonlinear optics of plasmas through advances in laser and plasma capabilities

  • Denise Hinkel, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • UCLA Principal Investigator Warren Mori
  • Sarah Chase, UCLA PhD Candidate

Stanford University

Study of the underlying physics of shock-shock and shock-surface interactions

  • Kambiz Salari, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Juan Alonso, Stanford Principal Investigator
  • Walter Maier, Stanford PhD candidate

Notre Dame University

Non-LTE physics in embedded computations using machine learning

  • Kelli Humbird, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Ryan McClarren, Principal Investigator of Notre Dame
  • Notre Dame PhD Candidate Michael VanderWal

University of California, San Diego

Dynamic resistance of iron under phase change conditions

  • Hye-Sook Park, LLNL Principal Investigator
  • Marc Meyers, UCSD Principal Investigator
  • Gaia Righi, UCSD PhD Candidate
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