High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas (HEDLP) Program Overview
NNSA’s Office of Inertial Confinement Fusion and DOE’s Office of Science established a joint program in HEDLP in 2008. Initially, this program was a combination of work that was funded as part of the NNSA’s Stewardship Science Academic Alliances Program in the research area of high energy density physics and the DOE Office of Science's HEDLP Program and Innovative Confinement Concepts Program. The first solicitation for this new Joint Program in HEDLP was held in 2008. A total of 128 proposals responsive to this solicitation were received, and 23 proposals were chosen for awards for projects of between three and five years.
Steady advances in increasing the energy, power, and brightness of lasers and particle beams and advances in pulsed power systems have made possible the exploration of matter at extremely high energy density in the laboratory. In particular, exciting new experimental regimes could be realized by fully exploiting the scientific capabilities of existing and planned DOE facilities, as well as the relevant Department of Defense and university facilities. Progress in the exploration of extreme states of matter has also been facilitated by advances in computer simulation and diagnostic techniques. Other countries, e.g., Japan, China and the European Union, also have active programs in high energy density sciences.
Several National Academies of Science reports have described the compelling scientific challenges and opportunities that exist across the field of high energy density physics (HEDP). An interagency task force report has identified the following four research categories within the field of HEDP as critical: astrophysics, high energy density nuclear physics, high energy density laboratory plasmas (HEDLP), and ultra-fast, ultra-intense laser science. The interagency report found that stewardship of HEDLP should be improved and recommended that the NNSA and DOE’s Office of Science establish a joint program in HEDLP.