The LaserNetUS Users’ Conference hosted this week at Colorado State University shines a light on the critical role of high-intensity laser research in advancing science and technology to solve pressing societal challenges.
The event brings together an ecosystem of top scientists and engineers who are using the world’s most powerful lasers to conduct innovative research. More than 160 attendees from around the world are working toward a common goal: to create a brighter world together.
Their results are impacting discovery and science while helping solve problems with enormous societal impact. That includes generation of nearly unlimited clean energy by laser-driven nuclear fusion, and development of a workforce that creates laser-based machines for printing the most powerful semiconductor chips.
Among the event’s most distinguished guests is Donna Strickland, a recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. She joins many of the world’s top laser and plasma scientists.
The conference showcases CSU’s high-intensity laser capabilities and achievements, while highlighting Colorado’s leadership position as one of the most innovative states in the nation.
“Ultra-intense lasers have the potential to advance research and knowledge in a wide range of fields that are critical to the health of our world and our understanding of the universe,” CSU’s Interim President Rick Miranda said in his opening remarks.
“By providing access to research facilities and an unparalleled network of training and support, LaserNetUS is helping to ensure that today’s students are well-prepared to move this research forward in truly exciting ways,” said Miranda.
Established by the U.S. Department of Energy, LaserNetUS is a network that provides U.S. and international scientists access to 10 of the most powerful lasers in the United States and Canada. The network has transformed the way ultra-intense laser science is conducted in the U.S. It includes Colorado State University and its Advanced Beam Laboratory, led by Jorge Rocca, University Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
High-intensity lasers are central to the development of new technologies for basic research, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, medicine and more. The DOE conceived LaserNetUS to restore the U.S.’s once-dominant position in high-intensity laser research and broaden scientists’ access to ultra-high power laser facilities. To date, more than 70 experiments have been completed at LaserNetUS facilities by scientists from more than 100 different institutions.
Key stakeholders and users of LaserNetUS facilities are on campus to collaborate and discuss future directions of the network. Nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate students will present their research to the scientific community during a poster session. The event wraps up with a tour of the Advanced Beam Laboratory at CSU’s Foothills Campus.
In addition to Colorado State University, LaserNetUS facilities are located at the University of Texas at Austin, University of Rochester, The Ohio State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, University of Central Florida, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The program is supported by the DOE Office of Science, Fusion Energy Sciences.