In 2015, experiments on Sandia’s Z machine and quantum simulations in the Z Fundamental Science Program made discoveries that help explain iron rain when the moon was formed, the age of Saturn, and the abundances of heavy elements in the sun.
The conditions created on Sandia’s Z machine are literally out of this world — states of matter found in giant planets, meteor impacts, or in the sun are attracting scientists to collaborate with Sandia through the Z Fundamental Science Program (ZFSP). ZFSP made three major scientific discoveries in 2015: The opacity of iron was measured at solar conditions (Bailey et al, Nature). Hydrogen was compressed to a metallic state (Knudson et al, SCIENCE) and the vaporization threshold of iron was measured (Kraus et al, Nature Geoscience). (1600) LF
The first in-situ diagnostic images were captured at both the Sandia Z pulsed power facility and the Lawrence Livermore National Ignition Facility using Sandia’s ultra-high-speed digital X-ray framing camera. Designed and fabricated in collaboration between the Pulsed Power Sciences and Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications centers, the cameras consist of a photodiode array bonded to a radiation-hardened custom readout integrated circuit with nearly half a million 25µm pixels. At 1.5ns temporal resolution, the UXI sensors are the fastest multiframe X-ray imagers in the world. NW, NW
Making fusion conditions easier to achieve.
Sandia’s Z pulsed power facility uses large currents and the resulting magnetic pressure to compress cylindrical metal tubes (liners) containing fuel to reach the extreme conditions needed for fusion. Instabilities growing up on the outside surface of the liners can limit our ability to do this. Researchers found that by combining strong axial magnetic fields and thick insulating coatings, they could reduce the instability growth, maintaining the inner portion of the plasma liner in a relatively unperturbed state, potentially making fusion conditions easier to achieve. (1600) NW, NW