2023 News

28th December 2023: Reviews of Modern Physics publication

Proton imaging of high-energy-density laboratory plasmas” is published in Reviews of Modern Physics. This was really fun to work on writing this with Derek Schaeffer, Archie Bott, Marco Borghesi, Kirk Flippo, Will Fox, Julien Fuchs, Chikang Li, Fredrick Séguin, Hye-Sook Park, and Petros Tzeferacos.

21st November 2023: Hongmei Tang’s thesis defense

Congratulations to Hongmei Tang on the successful defense of her PhD thesis! Her thesis is titled “The Measurement and Optimization of Direct Laser Acceleration”.

8th November 2023: Omega EP shot day

Prof. Willingale and GSRAs Hongmei Tang and Veronica Contreras travel to Rochester, NY for an Omega EP shot day at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. PhD student Hongmei Tang was acting shot PI with Veronica Contreras in training! The shots investigated the effect of the plasma profile on the electron acceleration and x-ray generation.

(Oct/Nov 2023) 65th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics

Prof. Willingale and GSRAs Hongmei Tang, Brendan Stassel and Veronica Contreras attended the 65th annual meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics (APS DPP) held in Denver, CO. They made presentations on:

16th October 2023: ZEUS Grand Opening

ZEUS celebrates the construction of the facility being complete and ready to open as a user facility! Nobel Laureate Gérard Mourou made remarks at the event, followed by a symposium with world-leading experts from the field.

9th October 2023: Vulcan Celebration Event

Prof. Willingale was one of the speakers at the event held by the Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to mark the “end of and era” for the Vulcan laser. The decommissioning of the Vulcan system that has existed since the 1970s will make way for the Vulcan 20-20 project. Vulcan was the laser system where Prof. Willingale performed her PhD thesis research in the mid-2000s.

20th September 2023: Physics of Plasmas publication

Dr Brandon Russell’s manuscript “Ultrafast relativistic electron probing of extreme magnetic fields” is published in Physics of Plasmas. It has been selected as an Editors Pick – congratulations Brandon!

(September 2023) EAAC 2023

Prof. Willingale attended the 6th European Advanced Accelerator Concepts workshop that was held 17–23 September 2023 in Isola d’Elba, Italy. She presented talks titled “The ZEUS laser user facility” and “The X-lites Network”.

(September 2023) Nuclear Photonics 2023

Prof. Willingale attended the Fourth International Conference on Nuclear Photonics that was held September 11 – 15, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina, USA. She presented an invited talk titled “Multi-Petawatt Physics Prioritization (MP3)”.

31st August 2023: Nature Photonics Meeting Report

Nature Photonics publishes a meeting report titled “Into the high-power era” that highlights Prof. Willingale’s recent plenary talk at the SPIE meeting in Prague.

28th August 2023: DOE-SCGSR program

PhD student Brendan Stassel starts his 8 months on the DOE-SCGSR program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, his host DOE laboratory. His project title is “Relativistic Transparency of Thin Film Targets” and he will be working with Dr. Lieselotte Obst-Huebl.

(August 2023) Senior IEEE member

Prof. Willingale has been elevated to a Senior member of IEEE.

10th August 2023: OMEGA EP shot day

A shot day to study Direct Laser Acceleration of electrons was performed at the OMEGA EP laser facility, with PhD student Hongmei Tang acting as the shot PI. Veronica Contreras attended the shot day and was responsible for measuring the transverse ions accelerated during the interaction.

(July 2023) High-Energy-Density Summer School

PhD students Brendan Stassell and Veronica Contreras attended the High-Energy-Density Summer School (HEDSS) in San Diego, CA.

(July 2023) 2023 Xplore Engineering

ZEUS and CUOS faculty, staff and students participated in the 2023 Xplore Engineering camp run by the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Elizabeth Oxford, the ZEUS Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, led the “ZEUS | The most powerful laser!” workshop for 4th to 7th graders. Activities included building a spectroscope to investigate light, playing Laser Maze, and touring the ZEUS facility. Prof. Willingale and PhD student Brendan Stassel assisted with the activities and tours.

(June 2023) 2023 LaserNetUS Users’ Meeting

PhD students Hongmei Tang and Brendan Stassel attended the 2023 LaserNetUS Users’ meeting at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Hongmei Tang gave a talk titled “A High Intensity Laser Pulse Interactions with an Underdense Plasma: Electron Acceleration and Channel Formation”. Brendan Stassel presented a poster titled “Simulation and Experimental Measurements of Relativistic Transparency in Plasmas with Ultrafast High Intensity Laser Pulses”.

22nd June 2023: Ultrafast from Coast-to-coast seminar

Prof. Willingale presented for the Canadian seminar series Ultrafast from coast-to-coast session on “Shiny and brilliant – Laser-plasma interactions for everyone” giving a keynote presentation titled “Exploring extreme plasma physics with multi-Petawatt laser pulses”.

(June 2023) Funding for NNSA Center of Excellence

The Center for High Energy Density Laboratory Astrophysics Research, led by Prof. Carolyn Kuranz, received $12.5 million for over the next 5 years to study how hot plasmas behave. Prof. Willingale is excited to be a part of the CHEDAR center!

(June 2023) LANL Workshop

Prof. Willingale attended a workshop organized by the Los Alamos National Laboratory Advanced Diagnostics program on Laser Technology/Laser/Matter Interactions. She gave talks titled “The 3-PW ZEUS laser user facility” and “Proton deflectometry for measuring magnetic field dynamics”.

(May 2023) GPAP Summer School 2023

Prof. Willingale presented a lecture on “High Energy Density Physics (HEDP) And Laboratory Astrophysics” at the NSF/GPAP SUMMER SCHOOL on plasma physics for astrophysicists held at Swathmore, PA.

(May 2023) ICOPS 2023

Prof. Willingale attended the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS) in Santa Fe, NM. She presented an invited talk “The influence of focusing geometry on the Direct Laser Acceleration of electrons” and a poster “Status of the ZEUS laser user facility”.

(May 2023) X-lites Workshop

The X-lites workshop was hosted at the University of Michigan to discuss and develop an international network of extreme light facilities.

(May 2023) SCGSR award

Congratulations to PhD student Brendan Stassel for his successful application to the SCGSR program! Brendan will spend 8 months working with Dr. Lieseotte Obst-Huebl at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

(May 2023) LaserNetUS experiment

Brendan Stassel participates on an experiment to study ion acceleration on the newly commissioned BELLA target chamber 2 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA.

(May 2023) CLEO 2023

Prof. Willingale presented an invited paper on the “Performance and Status of the Zettawatt Equivalent Ultrashort Pulse Laser Facility” at the 2023 CLEO Conference and Exhibition in San Jose, CA.

(Apr 2023) Omega Laser User Group (OLUG) 2023

Graduate students Hongmei Tang and Veronica Contreras attended the Omega Laser User Group (OLUG) workshop 2023 in Rochester, NY.

Congratulations to Hongmei Tang for winning second place in the students poster competition! Her poster was titled “Optimization of the Laser Focusing Conditions and Plasma Density Profile for Direct Laser Acceleration of Electrons”.

(Apr 2023) SPIE Optics & Optoelectronics 2023 Conference

Prof. Willingale was honored to present a plenary talk “Exploring plasma physics with multi- petawatt laser pulses” at the SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics 2023 Conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

(Mar 2023) 2023 EECS Outstanding Achievement Awards

Prof. Willingale was one of four faculty who received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The award recognizes individual faculty for special contributions made in teaching, research, and/or service. The award was “For exceptional contributions to research and education in laser-plasma science.”

(Feb 2023) NIF and JLF User Group Meeting 2023

Prof. Willingale, as the Vice Chair for the NIF User Group Executive Committee, was the program committee chair for the NIF and JLF User Group Meeting 2023 in Livermore, CA. Prof. Willingale became the Chair of the Executive Committee at the close of the meeting for a 2 year term.

(Feb 2023) The 2023 Stewardship Science Academic Programs (SSAP) Symposium

Prof. Willingale, and graduate students Hongmei Tang and Veronica Contreras presented their work at the 2023 SSAP meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico.