The Nevada Terawatt Facility with Dr. Aaron Covington

Program summary for the presentation on ….

Training Students in the Field of High-Energy-Density Science


Dr. Aaron Covington


NSF participants were afforded a unique opportunity to receive a briefing on the University of Nevada-Reno’s “Terawatt Facility” (the NTF), which performs high quality research in the area of high-energy-density (HED) physics; that is, the study of matter under extreme conditions of temperature and density. The Facility is part of the Department of Energy’s “National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)” Science Centers and a key participant in DOE’s nuclear stockpile stewardship programs.

Graduates of the UNR program are conducting critical (and often highly classified) research at a number of the nation’s major laboratories, including Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, and Los Alamos, as well as in specialty fields, including Astrophysics, detection and modeling of neutron sources, and “Proton Deflectometry” of Z-pinched Plasmas for the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Covington demonstrated how the UNR facility is assisting the NNSA is its mission of assuring the reliability or US nuclear weapons, without actually testing those weapons. Much of the analysis and testing is done through science and engineering simulation and by conducting sub-critical experimentation (no blast). Covington (see attached slides) provided an overview of the key mission of the NTF, making “high-energy density plasmas”. That is accomplished by quickly dumping a high volume of electrical energy into a material target, or by focusing the light on a target using a lasing medium. These extreme plasmas have high temperatures, densities and strength like those found in nuclear explosions. Professor Covington also discussed the major HED Plasma Research machines in use at the NTF, including the Zebra Z-Pinch, the Leopard Laser and the Cheetah Laser.

We encourage everyone to take a close look at the Vu-Graphs (attached) that Dr. Covington used in his presentation. And, for those who want a “close and personal” look at the NTF, we will be arranging tours for our NSF members in the near future.

A great program on a most interesting topic, with the critical research being conducted here at the UNR Terawatt facility at the former Stead AFB. Dr. Covington is a professor of physics at the University of Nevada-Reno and Director of the Terawatt Facility.

Follow the link below to the PowerPoint presentation or the link for the full video presentation.


Video of the Presentation

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