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HED physics

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posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 02:57 PM
Does anyone out there have any concerns about the expansion of the HED physics that has been receiving such greatly increased funding in the recent years. This is one of the areas of research that has so many problems when you consider the possible uses of the new capabilities.

If there are no concerns, some of you physics people out there need to explain why there are none.

posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 03:08 PM
reply to post by Truth1000

I think we can do great things with HED physics, in some areas.
but honestly..
I dont think we are intelligent enough to not do more harm than good.
Maybe for some astrophysics and planetary science..
but not for nuclear weapons and such.
no way.

it is very interesting though.

posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 03:16 PM
If your going to start a thread you may want to elaborate slightly more on the the heck are you talking about?

Firstly, for those of us not able to decipher every acronym carelessly hurled at us on a daily basis from the universe of geek; HED stands for high energy density.

Now, maybe you might give us some kind of metaphoric handle to grasp on to; what expansion, problems and new capabilities are you speaking of?

Even if you are a physicist, if this is not your particular field of study chances are you will not know what is being spoken of here, let alone have any concerns about it. And I think I can say with a fair amount of certainty that most of us here aren't physicists.

posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 03:55 PM
Sorry about that.

Here is a non-classified report:

High-Energy-Density Physics: With the advent of the current generation of high-power lasers, a high-energy-density environment can be routinely reproduced in a laboratory. Energy densities in excess of 1012 ergs/cm3 exist in the core of stars, and, until recently, they could be reproduced only through nuclear explosions. The US ban on nuclear testing closed the access to such high-energy densities until high-power lasers such as NOVA at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and OMEGA at the UR's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) became available. Energy densities of 1012 ergs/cm3 correspond to a pressure of 1 Mbar. For example, a milligram of hydrogen at a temperature of 1 keV confined within 1 cm3 is at 1 Mbar of pressure. At such high temperatures, matter is in the form of plasma, where atoms decompose into electrons and ions. With the construction of the next generation of high-power lasers-the National Ignition Facility at LLNL and the Laser Megajoule project (LMJ) in France-pressures in the range of 10 Gbars are expected to be routinely achieved and energy densities never obtained before will be accessible.

The access to the gigabar regimes and the achievement of controlled thermonuclear ignition still present many challenges. Thermonuclear ignition is the process of self-sustained burn occurring in the thermonuclear fuel of hydrogen bombs and in the core of the sun. Achieving ignition in a laboratory has been the "dream" of many generations of scientists. With the advent of the next generation of super lasers, controlled thermonuclear ignition seems to be within our reach for the first time in history. Ignition will be attained by inertial confinement (ICF) of a hot, dense plasma compressed by the super lasers over an interval of a few nanoseconds.

High-energy-density physics encompasses all the physics issues pertinent to the production, characterization, and utilization of plasmas in such a high-pressure environment. The achievement of high-energy-density regimes and thermonuclear ignition can be accomplished only through extensive studies of laser-plasma interaction, radiative hydrodynamics, plasma physics, atomic physics, and nonlinear optics. So far, the main applications of high-energy-density physics are laboratory simulations of astrophysical phenomena (supernova explosions, astronomical jets, equation of state), science-based nuclear stockpile stewardship, and fusion energy productions via inertial confinement fusion.


posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 04:36 PM
Here you can read about the Omega Laser Facility:

Here you can read about the Jupiter Laser Facility:

Here you can read about the Trident Laser Facility:

Here is an article that will BEGIN to explain why I started this thread:

posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 05:02 PM
Here is another example of non-classified reporting about the capabilities that HED opens up.

The Atomic Weapons Establishment has proposed building a new laser facility in the United Kingdom. This will use 10 ns-class beams in conjunction with two, subpicosecond, petawatt-class beams to access plasma conditions inaccessible to even the largest megajoule-class facilities. Diagnostic techniques for the long pulse regime are fairly mature, whereas techniques in the short pulse regime are still evolving. This article describes the development of a suite of target diagnostics to exploit the high temperature, high density plasma conditions that will be achievable on the Orion laser, and discusses some of the opportunities and problems that will be encountered in attempting to combine the two sets of techniques.


posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 05:22 PM
Check out this public announcement about the Orion Laser Facility:

This is URGENT: please act now
At its last planning meeting of 26th November, West Berkshire Council Planning Committee deferred its consideration of the Ministry of Defence's Notice of Proposed Development (NoPD) for the ORION laser facility. The Committee is due to consider it again on 26th January 2006.
We now have a real opportunity to stop this application - and with it the building at AWE Aldermaston of facilities to build the next generation of nuclear weapons.
The developments at AWE Aldermaston are more than a local matter, and that's why we want you to write to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and ask him to call in the laser application, and establish a public inquiry. An inquiry would stop the developments for now and would give us more time to build a real opposition to any replacement for the Trident weapons system.
The letter below is fairly detailed, but it is useful at this stage to use the appropriate grounds set out in planning legislation and guidelines rather than make objections on political, legal or moral grounds.

Please just cut and paste the attached letter, sign it and send it to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as soon as possible.
Copies should be sent to:
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon John Reid MP
Eland House Secretary of State for Defence
Bressenden Place House of Commons
London London


posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 06:15 PM
And this:

The new Orion facility will be home to 12 high-powered laser beams capable of heating and compressing material to millions of degrees Celsius in less than a nanosecond. Housed in a gleaming building the size of a soccer pitch, the laser system will provide physicists at Aldermaston with crucial data about how components of their ageing nuclear weapons behave. Under current plans, around 15% of Orion's time will be offered to academics wanting to study conditions on stars or inside giant planets. And in that open spirit, researchers there invited a Nature reporter in for a look around.

In most respects, Orion is the smaller cousin of the US National Ignition Facility (NIF) in Livermore, California, which is already running academic experiments. When operating at full steam, the NIF will use 192 lasers to create around 4 million joules of energy, some 100 times more powerful than Orion. What makes the AWE's laser notable is the exquisite precision that it will give researchers in controlling the heat and compression exerted on the materials placed in its target chamber — and the fact that the AWE is sharing it at all.

“The defence ministry is notoriously tight-lipped about the lab's activities.”

Orion's main mission, like that of the NIF, is to explore how nuclear weapons work, particularly as they get older. In 1998, Britain ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, an international agreement prohibiting tests of nuclear weapons. Scientists in Britain and worldwide have therefore been busy developing computer models to simulate nuclear warheads and work out whether the weapons will still detonate after decades in storage, and what type of detonation will result. What is missing, however, are actual data.

US scientists hope that the more powerful NIF will contribute some of those data, by generating temperatures and pressures so high that they will spark nuclear fusion in small quantities of two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium. This fusion process would resemble conditions inside the most powerful stage of a modern thermonuclear weapon.

If the NIF is a thermonuclear hammer, then Orion is a scalpel. The smaller facility will never achieve full-scale fusion, but it will be able to carefully control conditions inside test materials such as uranium. Pressure and temperature usually go hand-in-hand, explains Peter Roberts, head of the AWE's plasma-physics department. "You pump up a tyre with a bicycle pump and it gets hot," he says. But Orion can get around this. It can compress a material with its long, nanosecond pulses then suddenly heat it with its very short, half-picosecond pulses. The result is 'isochoric heating', an unusual condition in which a material is heated so quickly that it doesn't have time to expand. This capability allows Orion to probe materials at wide-ranging combinations of temperatures and pressures.

In particular, researchers will use Orion to explore two key parameters for materials used in nuclear weapons: their opacity and their equation of state. The first describes how radiation travels through a material — in this case, the two stages that make up a weapon. The first stage, or primary, is a few kilograms of plutonium that are compressed by conventional explosives until they begin a runaway nuclear reaction. The radiation from that reaction is then focused onto the 'secondary', the stage in which hydrogen isotopes create a much larger blast using nuclear fusion. Researchers want to know what the opacity is and how it changes with age so that they can model radiation's flow from the primary to the secondary and verify whether the warheads will still work. The other parameter — the equation of state — describes how a material behaves at enormous pressures and temperatures. By generating data on these and other crucial parameters, Orion will give nuclear-weapons scientists the information they need to ensure that their models are correct. "You can't look this stuff up," Rose says.

The researchers running the NIF often emphasize the giant laser's applications in energy production and fundamental science over its military role; it could, for example, lead to new reactors that produce electricity using tiny fusion implosions. Orion's scientists are much less circumspect. "We're working on weapons physics fundamentally," Roberts says.


posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 07:05 PM
In the mean time, this is how it is being promoted:

This is absolutely amazing, a group in the US at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are trying to create a self-sustaining fusion reaction. They hope that this will lead to a commercial solution for energy production using the most powerful and efficient method in the universe, nuclear fusion.


"What's most exciting about it is the potential to revolutionize our energy future," Schwarzenegger said. "Scientists here will work to harness that fusion energy and turn it into a viable long-term nuclear power source. And I have said many times that nuclear power ought to be part of our future energy supply, assuming that it is safe and the waste issue is addressed."

"If successful, this new endeavor, called The Life Program, would generate an endless amount of megawatts of carbon-free power - and that's the important thing, of carbon-free power - but without the drawbacks of the conventional nuclear plants, which means that there is no risk of a reactor melting down or anything like this," the governor said. "The nuclear waste is minimized. In fact, it would even replace or reduce existing nuclear stockpiles, since live engines can burn nuclear waste."


posted on Jun, 19 2010 @ 07:30 AM

Is anyone reading any of this?

Am I simply wasting my time here?

posted on Jun, 19 2010 @ 09:36 AM
Did anyone read the quote:

"We're working on weapons physics fundamentally," Roberts says.

That is why this topic is relevent.

posted on Jun, 20 2010 @ 03:09 AM

Originally posted by Truth1000

Is anyone reading any of this?

Ive been reading this so your time hasnt been totally wasted!

I live in the UK and this is the first i have heard of the AWE laser project so my compliments on your research. Your post is perhaps a little heavy going but it's interesting to learn of the direction nuclear weapon development is taking.

Is the process really viable for energy production? It seems to be a secondary consideration.

Thank you for the information.

posted on Jun, 20 2010 @ 11:59 AM
Basic scientific research frequently leads to multiple types of utilization, once the technology is developed.

There is a great potential for energy production. People have discussed "cold fusion" for decades, but it has never been proven, and according to our current level of knowledge, is impossible.

"Hot fusion" has been proven, but only in thermonuclear weapons. In fact, that is why they are called "THERMO"-nulear weapons. A fission weapon creates the heat required to allow the fusion part of the weapon to function.

Always before, only the heat of a fission weapon can create a hot enough environment for fusion to occur on a significant basis. That is why HED physics is so unique. HED physics can create a localized temperature high enough to replicate the heat at which the fusion portion of a nuclear weapon kicks in. This, potentially, would allow a fusion weapon without the fission device. THAT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, because it could revolutionize future nuclear weapons. It could, potentially, create a selective-yield weapon that could be tuned-up or tuned-down to allow a selective yield, depending on the target being selected. It could even allow a "small" fusion device, perhaps as low as a 500 kt yield, or even less. The lower the yield, the more likely it is to be used!

Because it would be a fusion device, it would be a "clean" nuclear weapon, and as such, a weapon that could be functionally used on a battlefield, rather than as a massive weapon that would NOT be useful, if you had your own troops in the area.

I can't discuss the classified aspects of what this capability would be, but it is so important, it is very frustrating that no one seems interested in this.

posted on Jun, 20 2010 @ 12:04 PM
One other interesting aspect of this is that the Americans, having the NIF, seem uninterested, while the British, with just the little Orion Laser Facility, are throwing a fit, because they sense what is going on.

Pretty interesting!

posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 12:22 PM

Originally posted by Truth1000
This, potentially, would allow a fusion weapon without the fission device. THAT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, because it could revolutionize future nuclear weapons. It could, potentially, create a selective-yield weapon that could be tuned-up or tuned-down to allow a selective yield, depending on the target being selected. It could even allow a "small" fusion device, perhaps as low as a 500 kt yield, or even less. The lower the yield, the more likely it is to be used!

Sorry, but selective yield nuclear weapons have existed for some time already. The UK, according to this article is currently using them on its SLBM's.

The British Trident warheads are capable of selective yield, ranging from under a kiloton up to the full yield of 100 kt or so ...

It sounds like you're might be trying to sound alarmist over things that already exist.

[edit on 6/21/2010 by centurion1211]

posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 01:42 PM
Yes, i have heard of these existing warheads but they operate on a different principle. This emerging technology (although ultimately achieving the same effect) would be doing it in a much different way, by the sounds of it. Who knows where it could go and what its possibilities could be?

Apparently, the Uk have developed these extremely low yield warheads in order to be deployed as a nuclear 'Statement of intent', causing the target much reduced devastation and loss of life. I think the world has become sensible about nuclear weapons and i am not alarmed.

By the way, is this all for real:

Originally posted by Truth1000 I can't discuss the classified aspects of what this capability would be, but it is so important

Or am i being naive?

posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 04:57 PM
The current technology of warheads have a variable range of yields, but we are talking one half of a magnitude or less. These warheads could be variable to at least two orders of magnitude.

The most destabilizing part of this is that a very low yield FUSION weapon is much more likely to be used than a large fission one. Tactical fission nukes have low-end yields of 10,000 tons (10 kt) of TNT. A fusion weapon of say 350 tons (0.35 kt) would be much more tempting to use in battle.

posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 10:24 PM
Think about this: when we simply dropped 2,000 pound bombs, and had to drop 40 or 50 to take out a bridge, we had "dumb" bombs. Just by developed the laser, seeker head, and primitive steering flaps, we created a "smart" bomb, where one bomb could now take out that same bridge. We now could take one fighter with two bombs and that one aircraft could take out two bridges, all by itself.

Now think about nuclear weapons. We started with 20 kt bombs we dropped on Japan, and increased up to 10 megaton deliverable warheads. These bombs were so massive, all they could do is guarantee than no one wanted to use one. Think of these as "dumb" nukes.

Now, all of a sudden, we have very small tactical fusion bombs, that don't destroy whole metropolitan cities, and don't leave as much radiation behind. If we use one of these in a backwoods nation, what nuclear power would risk retaliating with their own huge warheads, that would inevitably lead to global destruction? Answer: no one! That means that a very small fusion bomb MIGHT be useable, where even the smaller fission bombs would NOT be useable. This type of tactical nuke becomes a "smart" nuke. They could totally destroy a mountain hideout, without destroying the world around it. The U.N. might protest like crazy, but we just made all of the bad guys around the world scared of something they are completely unable to match. The technology would be so completely beyond their capability, it would be just like 1945 again - we can destroy you in a manner in which you cannot match.

That is why these capabilities are so potentially de-stabilizing!

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 02:03 AM
I wonder how small and portable a fusion device could become?

Imagine the disparity in firepower between two forces on a battlefield if one side was equipped with this technology and the other had only conventional weaponry.

De-stabilizing indeed!

What recourse would, say for example, China have in the event of a flare-up with a fusion warhead equipped USA on the Korean peninsula?

I suspect that in my ignorance i underestimated the possible implications of this. You mention a situation like 1945, could this lead to a new arms race?

Gosh! Nobody could accuse you of not knowing your stuff Truth1000.

This is food for thought.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 02:38 AM
Does this tie in with some of your other posts?
Namely the ones about the Tonopah test range and NGO's?

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