About Pulsed Power

About Pulsed Power

Pulsed power science is the collection of technologies, capabilities, and theoretical and experimental tools that enable the concentration of electrical energy in space and time.  This allows the creation of high energy density environments and highly diagnosed experiments to be conducted for multiple national security applications.

What is Pulsed Power?

In the early days, this technology was often called ‘pulse power’ instead of pulsed power.  In a pulsed power machine, low-power electrical energy from a wall plug is stored in a bank of capacitors and leaves them as a compressed pulse of power.  The duration of the pulse is increasingly shortened until it is only billionths of a second long.  With each shortening of the pulse, the power increases.  The final result is a very short pulse with enormous power, whose energy can be released in several ways.  The original intent of this technology was to use the pulse to simulate the bursts of radiation from exploding nuclear weapons.

Radiation Effects & High Energy Density Physics (HEDP)

The study of materials in extreme conditions of temperature and density is known as HEDP. Our mission is to advance science and engineering in the areas of radiation effects sciences, high energy density science, and pulsed power science and technology to address critical national security issues.

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The Power of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF)

ICF literally provides us with the ultimate force of the universe; the energy of the sun and stars. Using a series of intense bursts of power, Sandia’s Z machine experiments attempt to initiate nuclear fusion reactions by heating and compressing a fuel target until it implodes and ignites a fusion reaction.

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