Center of Excellence

Center for Pulsed-Power-Driven High-Energy-Density Plasmas


The mission of the Center is to carry out world class experimental, theoretical, and computational high energy density laboratory plasma (HEDLP) physics research, through fundamental studies and applications of magnetized high energy density (HED) plasmas produced by pulsed power machines, and to train the next generation of HEDLP research scientists. The Center of Excellence carries out experiments in a variety of configurations, all of which are current-driven, hot, dense plasmas that fit within the general name "dense Z-pinches." The experiments are supported by computer simulations and theoretical modeling in order to help achieve an understanding of the experimental results and to help validate the computer simulations and theoretical models.

The principal objective of our research center is now and will continue to be to improve our understanding of the physics of HED plasma through high quality experimental research, computer simulations, and theory. In the process, our goals include advancing the capability of HED science in the United States, and contributing substantially to the training of the next generation of HED research scientists for stockpile stewardship and other programs of importance to national security. Other goals include contributing to the application of magnetized HED plasmas to inertial fusion energy and intense radiation generation, and to the understanding of observed high energy astrophysical phenomena.

In order to achieve these objectives in the large, we operate two pulsed power machines with state-of-the-art suites of diagnostics. With these machines, our graduate students at Cornell design and carry out world class magnetized HED plasma experimental research. They also develop advanced computer simulation and analytic theory tools to help understand the experiments. Where necessary, we develop our own diagnostic tools, including visible and X-ray spectroscopic and imaging devices. Although the bulk of this effort is now and will continue to be carried out at Cornell, where appropriate, we collaborate with other HED researchers: from elsewhere in the United States, to enhance in-house capability; and from outside the United States, to enhance US scientific infrastructure by familiarizing ourselves and our students with world-class research capability that has been developed in foreign research laboratories.



Principal Investigators
Professor David Hammer & Professor Bruce Kusse

Cornell Co-Principal Investigators
Professor Charles E. Seyler, Senior Research Associate Dr. John Greenly

Off-Site Co-Investigators

  • Dr. Simon Bland (Imperial College, London, UK)
  • Dr. Simon Bott-Suzuki (University of California at San Diego)
  • Prof. Nathaniel Fisch (Princeton University)
  • Prof. Yizthak Maron (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)
  • Dr. Sergei Pikuz (Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, Russia)