Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Plasma Physics

By leveraging plasma under extreme conditions, we concentrate on solving critical scientific challenges such as detecting smuggled nuclear materials, advancing weapons physics and generating fusion energy.

Contact Us  

  • Deputy Group Leader
  • Julie Canepa
  • Email
  • Group Office
  • (505) 665-9145
Laser-generated neutrons

Researchers at Los Alamos have successfully demonstrated for the first time that laser-generated neutrons can be enlisted as a useful tool in the war on terror.

Leveraging plasma under extreme conditions

Plasma Physics (P-24) is committed to scientific excellence in basic and applied research. Our breadth and depth in experimental high energy density physics and plasma physics is applied to solving scientific and technical problems of importance to the nation and to the world.

We apply an extensive knowledge of plasma, atomic and laser-matter interaction physics, plasma chemistry, laser and pulsed-power technology, and complex diagnostics to study matter under extreme conditions in states ranging from plasma to condensed matter.

We concentrate on fielding and interpreting the results from laboratory-based experiments at laser, pulsed-power, and other high energy density physics experimental facilities, both within the group and at other national laboratories.


Plasma Physics has expertise that supports research topics of national importance in inertial confinement fusion, magneto-inertial fusion, radiation hydrodynamics, and material dynamics. We collaborate closely with scientists in the modeling, theory, and material science capabilities at Los Alamos and worldwide.

This includes experimental expertise in the following areas:

  • High energy density physics/high energy density lab plasmas in support of weapons physics and fundamental science
  • Laser-matter and laser-plasma interactions experiments including stimulated laser-plasma instabilities
  • Relativistic laser-plasma interactions experiments and simulations
  • Magnetized plasma and magnetic fusion energy
  • Laboratory-based plasma astrophysics
  • Laser-based material dynamics and shock physics
  • Plasma diagnostic design and engineering

Plasma Physics operates the following facilities:

  • Trident Laser Facility: High energy density facility; high-energy, high-intensity, high-power lasers
  • Field-Reversed Experiment-Liner: Field-reversed configuration plasma devised for magnetized target fusion development
  • Plasma Liner Experiment: Converging and colliding plasma jets for inertial confinement fusion and basic astrophysics
  • Reconnection Plasma Experiment Laboratory
  • Low–temperature Plasma Laboratory

Plasma Physics supports laboratories such as x-ray calibration, target characterization, optical development and darkrooms, and engineering design.

Plasma Physics personnel also field experiments in off-site, state-of-the-art experimental facilities at the National Ignition Facility and the OMEGA laser facility in Rochester, New York.


Our staff members are involved in many research programs, such as

  • inertial and magnetic fusion
  • nuclear weapons
  • conventional defense
  • homeland defense
  • civilian applications of plasma technologies

Plasma Physics includes scientists, engineers, technicians, and administrative support staff who team both within the group and externally to fulfill our missions.