ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 6 -- The University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) will receive $72.6 million in funding under the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for 2006.
The funding is both for current operations and construction of the university's four-beam extension facility and includes $25 million for its new Omega EP facility.
"The Laboratory for Laser Energetics has played a leading, national role in efforts to develop nuclear fusion as a reliable energy source and in the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship program," said University President Joel Seligman. "This funding keeps this unique facility at the forefront of high-technology research, training, and education for the nation."
Opened in 1970, the LLE is home to the world's most powerful laser, Omega, which currently releases more than 100 times the total power output of the nation in a billionth of a second. The facility serves a particularly crucial role as the nation's main fusion program while the US Department of Energy builds the National Ignition Facility (NIF).
The laboratory employs more than 425 people, including students conducting advanced research.
The new 82,000-square foot Robert L. Sproull Center for Ultra High Intensity Laser Research now being completed at the University of Rochester (UR) will extend Omega's capabilities to include a "petawatt" facility, meaning the laser will produce 1 million billion watts of power. The extended performance facility will allow LLE to conducts experiments involving modeling the very young universe, understanding the quantum world and studying relativistic laser-matter interactions.
The enhanced facility also would test a new concept called a "fast ignitor," which may be able to dramatically increase the energy derived from a fusion target, providing a possible new avenue toward clean, renewable fusion power.
The new laser is scheduled to begin operation in 2007.
For more information, visit: www.rochester.edu