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E. Michael Campbell - University of Rochester. Rochester, NY, US

E. Michael Campbell E. Michael Campbell

Director, Laboratory for Laser Energetics | University of Rochester


Campbell is an internationally known expert in inertial fusion, high-energy-density physics, high-power lasers and their applications.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Advanced Energy Technologies

High-Energy-Density Physics

Inertial Fusion

High-Power Lasers





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Dr. Campbell is an internationally known expert in inertial fusion, high-energy-density physics, high-power lasers and their applications, and advanced energy technologies including Generation IV nuclear fission reactors and biofuels. He has won numerous awards including the Department of Energy's E. O. Lawrence Award, the American Nuclear Society's Edward Teller Award, the American Physical Society's John Dawson Award, the Department of Energy's Excellence in Weapons Research Award, and the Leadership Award of Fusion Power Associates. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the European Institute of Physics. He has published over 100 articles in scientific journals and holds five patents including the design of the first laboratory x-ray laser. He has given numerous invited and plenary talks at both national and international conferences. He is the originator of the Inertial Fusion Science and Applications Conference.

Dr. Campbell has been a member of numerous committees providing advice and strategy, including the National Academy of Sciences, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Texas, the National Research Council of Canada, and Lockheed Martin Corporation. He serves on the Board of Evans and Sutherland Corporation and has worked in various scientific and leadership positions at both federal laboratories and the private sector including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, General Atomics, Logos Technologies, and Sandia National Laboratories. He has received his degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the University of Western Sydney.

Education (3)

University of Western Sydney: D.Sc., Plasma Physics, X-Ray Lasers, Inertial Confinement Fusion 2006

Princeton University: M.A., Plasma and High-Temperature Physics 1977

University of Pennsylvania: B.A.Sc., Engineering and Applied Science 1972

Selected Media Appearances (11)

When laser beams meet plasma: New data addresses gap in fusion research

Science Daily  online


New research from the University of Rochester will enhance the accuracy of computer models used in simulations of laser-driven implosions. The research, published in the journal Nature Physics, addresses one of the challenges in scientists' longstanding quest to achieve fusion. "The results are a great demonstration of the innovation at the Laboratory and the importance of building a solid understanding of laser-plasma instabilities for the national fusion program," says Michael Campbell, the director of the LLE.

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‘Lasers are everywhere’

University of Rochester Newsletter/Wired  online


When lasers were first demonstrated in 1960, many people speculated about their potential applications. Now, “lasers are everywhere,” says Donna Strickland ’89 (PhD). They are used to study gravity and black holes, to manufacture parts in cell phones, and to conduct medical procedures like Lasik eye surgery. In a video for WIRED, Strickland, a professor of physics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and a 2018 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, explains the inner-workings and importance of lasers to five different people: a child, a teenager, a college student, a graduate student, and, finally, to an expert. That expert is Mike Campbell, director of the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE).

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New National Nuclear Security Administration agreement authorizes record LLE funding

University of Rochester Newscenter  online


According to LLE Director Michael Campbell, the renewed NNSA agreement is a great expression of the agency’s long-term support for LLE and helps ensure that the lab’s leading role in fusion, high-energy-density science, and advanced high-intensity lasers and optics will continue in Rochester.

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Rochester recognized as leader in high-energy-density physics

University of Rochester Newscenter  online


Recognizing the importance of high-energy-density science, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently selected eight national projects in high-energy-density physics to be awarded a total of $3.5 million. Three of the eight awards were given to researchers at the University of Rochester. “The recent notification of the awards in high-energy-density physics demonstrates the quality and impact of research at the University and the Laser Lab,” says Michael Campbell, director of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). “HEDP is a growing and important field of research and the University of Rochester is a recognized world leader. We are grateful to the Department of Energy for selecting these outstanding proposals.”

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UR Laser Lab signs 5-year agreement with the federal government

WXXI News  online


Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is also the Senate Minority Leader, has announced that a division of the U.S. Department of Energy has finalized a new five year, $410 million work agreement with the lab, the highest amount of funding ever approved for a five-year period in the lab’s history. Michael Campbell is Director of the laser lab, and says the funding will help them continue to attract top talent. “Recognizing the excellence of the research that’s been done, the quality of both the staff and the students and importance to the government. So it gives us a sense of confidence that we will have stable support over the next number of years, and of course, you can imagine when you’re trying to run a research program, and hire the best people, stability is a key thing,” Campbell told WXXI News.

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Laser lab ‘truly inspiring’ to federal government visitors

University of Rochester Newscenter  online


“The fundamental research done here [at the LLE] helps keep our nation on the cutting edge of science, which, in turn, helps keep our nation safe,” said National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who, along with US Representative Joseph Morelle, visited the LLE on Tuesday. As part of a visit she called “truly inspiring,” Gordon-Hagerty met with researchers and students and toured the OMEGA and OMEGA EP laser facilities. LLE Director Michael Campbell said the LLE plays a key part in providing science and expertise to support the NNSA in ensuring a reliable and secure nuclear deterrent. “We’re fully committed to supporting a national program that is the best in the world and keeps the United States foremost in this important field of national security,” he said.

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Laser fusion output is tripled by new computer algorithm

Physics World  online


Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments have been improved by a new computer algorithm that analyses statistical correlations between previous results. The program was created by researchers in the US, who have already used it to triple the energy yield in a small-scale ICF experiment. The researchers hope that the algorithm could be used to achieve “ignition” in future ICF experiments.

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Laser scientists just tripled their fusion power yield

Futurism  online


Fusion power — the process that keeps stars like the Sun burning — holds the promise of nearly unlimited clean power. But scientists have struggled for decades to make it a practical energy source.

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What is fusion, and why is it so difficult to create?

University of Rochester Newscenter  online


Fusion is the energy of nature, powering the stars and making it possible for life to exist on Earth. Why, then, has achieving fusion power eluded researchers for decades? “All the stars, including the sun, are powered by fusion. We are here because of fusion. But fusion is really hard to create,” says E. Michael Campbell, director of the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). As part of the Jesse L. Rosenberger Seminar Series, Campbell will present a lecture on October 11 discussing the challenges involved in creating fusion, why it’s the ultimate clean energy source, and the LLE’s important role in energy research.

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Rochester breakthrough in laser science earns Nobel Prize

University of Rochester Newscenter  online


A University of Rochester graduate and a former faculty member shared the Nobel Prize in Physics today for work they undertook at the University’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). Donna Strickland, who received her doctorate in optics from Rochester in 1989 and is now a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and Gérard Mourou, a former engineering professor and scientist at LLE and currently a professor at the École Polytechnique in France, were recognized for their work to develop lasers as a high-powered tool that ultimately opened the door to new medical, scientific, and commercial applications. Known as “chirped-pulse amplification,” or CPA, the work was the basis of Strickland’s PhD dissertation at Rochester.

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Scientists rally to save research laser that Trump has targeted for closure

American Association for the Advancement of Science  online


Physicists and politicians are rallying to the defense of the Omega laser at the University of Rochester (U of R) in New York, an iconic facility in the search for fusion energy that President Donald Trump has proposed defunding.

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Selected Articles (3)

A StarDriver-Class Laser Achieving 1% Beam Uniformity in 1 ns

Journal of Fusion Energy

David Eimerl, Stan Skupsky, Jason Myatt,E. Michael Campbell

2016 StarDriver was recently proposed as a highly flexible laser driver for inertial confinement fusion and high energy density physics. It envisions a laser drive consisting of many beamlets at an aperture where optical technology is well-developed, and each beamlet has energy ~100 J in a several times diffraction limited beam. Each beamlet has ~1.5THz of 2D SSD smoothing, but the ensemble of lasers has frequency bandwidth 2–10 %, thereby providing significant control of both hydrodynamic and laser-plasma instabilities. In this paper we illustrate the attractive features of the StarDriver concept with detailed calculations of beam smoothing for control of hydrodynamic instabilities in a direct drive ICF target, using a full 3D simulation of the laser drive. We describe here a StarDriver-class laser with 5120 physical beamlets disposed about the target chamber in 80 evenly spaced ports, each port containing 64 beamlets, each beamlet having about ~1.5THz of 2D SSD bandwidth and suitable phase plates, an aperture of ~65 mm, an energy of 80 J, and frequency-converted to ~351 nm. The drive at the target is ~400 kJ, has a well-behaved low L-mode spectrum, and smoothes very rapidly, reaching an asymptotic smoothness of

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StarDriver: a flexible laser driver for inertial confinement fusion and high energy density physics

Journal of Fusion Energy

David Eimerl, E. Michael Campbell, William F. Krupke, Jason Zweiback, W. L. Kruer, John Marozas, J. Zuegel, J. Myatt, J. Kelly, D. Froula, R. L. McCrory

2014 We propose a novel method to minimize laser–plasma instabilities and improve laser–plasma coupling by the use of multi-beam laser architecture with a large system frequency bandwidth and many beamlets per unit solid angle. The StarDriver™, laser driver is constructed from 104 to 105 individual lasers, each delivering nominally 100 J in pulses of ~3–30 ns at a nominal wavelength of ~355 nm with better than 3–5 diffraction-limited performance. The beamlets are individually relatively narrowband to facilitate maximum laser performance, but the ensemble of beamlets span a wide frequency range. Currently available laser media enable Δω/ω ~ 2 % at 355 nm with the possibility of system bandwidths approaching 10 % in the future. The many beamlets of StarDriver™ provide optimal asymptotic smoothing for hydrodynamic instabilities (0–1 %), innovative focusing strategies including zooming, and the large bandwidth enables extremely rapid hydrodynamic smoothing times ~30 fs. The distribution of frequencies among the beamlets allows flexibility for fine control of the seeding of the Rayleigh–Taylor instability. The ultra-broad bandwidth combined with the large total k-spectrum of the laser drive in the plasma corona may enable complete suppression of the most problematic laser–plasma instabilities such as stimulated Brillouin backscatter, stimulated Raman scatter, cross-beam energy transfer, and the two plasmon decay instability. StarDriver™ offers potentially superior flexibility in laser drivers for inertial confinement fusion, enabling almost arbitrary sequencing of wavelength, polarization, focus, and fine control of the spatio-temporal properties of the drive in the corona. The highly modular strategy of StarDriver™ should enable an attractive development pathway as well as maximizing overall system efficiency.

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Highly efficient acceleration and collimation of high-density plasma using laser-induced cavity pressure

Applied Physics Letters

J. Badziak, S. Borodziuk, T. Pisarczyk, T. Chodukowski, E. Krousky, K. Masek, J. Skala, J. Ullschmied, Yong-Joo Rhee

2010 An efficient scheme of acceleration and collimation of dense plasma is proposed and examined. In the scheme, a target placed in a cavity coupled with a guiding channel is irradiated by a laser beam introduced into the cavity through a hole and accelerated along the channel by the pressure of the ablating plasma confined in the cavity. Using 1.315μm, 0.3 ns laser pulse of energy up to 200 J and a thin CH target, it was shown that the energetic efficiency of acceleration in this scheme is an order of magnitude higher than in the case of conventional ablative acceleration.

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