Philosophiae Doctores Graduations


Jessica Pilgram: "High repetition rate exploration of Biermann battery generated magnetic fields in vacuum and hydrodynamic shock waves", PhD Dissertation (November, 2023)

Robert Dorst: "High Repetition Rate Mapping of the Different Regimes of Laminar Collisionless Coupling", PhD Dissertation (September, 2023)

Peter Heuer: "Laser-Produced Plasmas as Drivers of Quasi-Parallel Collisionless Shock Formation in the Laboratory", PhD Dissertation (June, 2020)

Erik T. Everson: "Magnetic Field Characterization of a Diamagnetic Cavity Piston for Generation of Quasi-Perpendicular Collisionless Shocks", PhD Dissertation (December, 2016)

Eric S. Clark: "Simulations of Super Alfvenic Laser Ablation Experiments in the Large Plasma Device", PhD Dissertation (November, 2016)

Anton Bondarenko: "Collision-less Coupling between Explosive Debris Plasma and Magnetized Ambient Plasma", PhD Dissertation (November, 2015)

Derek Schaeffer: "Generation of Quasi-perpendicular Collisionless Shocks by a Laser-Driven Magnetic Piston", PhD Dissertation (June, 2014)

Nathan Kugland: "Study of Laser-Irradiated Gas Jet Plasmas and Warm Dense Matter using X-ray Scattering, Spectroscopy, and Imaging", PhD Dissertation (December, 2010)



  • 11/22/2023: Jess graduates. Congratulations, Dr. Pilgram!

  • balloons

  • 09/15/2023: Bobby graduates. Congratulations, Dr. Dorst!

  • 08/24/2022: UCLA Physics and Astronomy REU Program: student Haiping Zhang participates in our high-rep rate experiments on shock wave generation in laser plasmas with background gases, driven by the PEENING laser.
  • June 25-August 20, PHOENIX Laser Lab @UCLA


  • 06/06/2020: Peter graduates. Congratulations, Dr. Heuer!

  • balloons

  • 12/10/2016: Erik graduates. Congratulations, Dr. Everson!

  • 08/24/2016: UCLA Physics and Astronomy REU Program: student Jessica Pilgram participates in our high-rep rate experiments on magnetic field generation in laser plasmas driven by the PEENING laser.
  • June 25-August 20, PHOENIX Laser Lab @UCLA


  • 11/18/2016: Eric graduates. Congratulations, Dr. Clark!

  • balloons

  • 11/24/2015: Anton graduates. Congratulations, Dr. Bondarenko!

  • 10/09/2015: EOS Earth & Space Science News features an article about our experimental achievement in creating magnetized collisionless shock waves in laboratory, previously published in GRL 2014.

  • balloons

  • 08/03/2015: First high repetition rate laser experiments on magnetized collisionless shock, using PEENING laser at 20 J per pulse, in the LAPD plasma. Aug. 03 - Aug. 28, 2015.

  • balloons

  • 11/16/2014: Our paper on magnetized collisionless shock experiments is featured on the cover of Geophysical Research Letters. (Author: C. Niemann et al, Vol. 41, Issue 21, 2014).

  • 10/10/2014: CMPD seminar: Derek Schaeffer (UCLA) "Generation of quasi-perpendicular collisionless shocks by a laser-driven magnetic piston"
  • 09/15/2014: First observations of Larmor coupling via Doppler spectroscopy; PI: Anton Bondarenko. RAPTOR laser in LAPD plasma. Sep. 15 - Oct. 04, 2014.
  • balloons

  • 06/13/2014: Derek graduates. Congratulations, Dr. Schaeffer!

  • 10/14/2013: APS Invited Talk: Derek Schaeffer (UCLA), on our magnetized collisionless shocks results"
  • 10/21/2013: First observations of magnetized collisionless shock of cosmic relevance, driven by a laser in a laboratory plasma. Raptor (200 J) in the LAPD with the new plasma source, at densities in the 1013 cm-3 range. October 21 - October 31, 2013.
  • 07/24/2013: Experiments with RAPTOR and PHOENIX in the LAPD and the first blow-off plasma characterization via Thomson scattering. July 07 - July 29, 2013.
  • 01/18/2013: RAPTOR shots at high energy in the LAPD. January 18 - January 31, 2013
  • 04/18/2012: IPAM Lecture: Edward Moses (LLNL), "The National Ignition Facility: Pathway to fusion ignition, frontier science, and clean energy"
  • Wednesday, April 18, 4:30 pm, Franz Hall 1178 @UCLA


  • 03/06/2012: Derek's LabView command and control system for the PHOENIX Laser Lab is featured on the National Instruments Sweet Apps blog: "Boldly Going Where No GUI Has Gone Before"

  • 11/03/2011: UCLA Physics & Astronomy Colloquium: Chris Niemann (UCLA), "Laboratory simulations of collisionless shocks with high-power lasers"

  • PNG

  • 10/30/2011: High-rep rate PEENING laser is sent to UCLA form LLNL. It will engage on collisionless shock experiments in the LAPD plasma. Both devices run at 1 Hz.

  • LAPD2011

  • 07/01/2011: First target experiments with the new high-energy laser - RAPTOR - in the LAPD plasma.

  • glass RPT

  • 06/10/2011: Construction of the kJ RAPTOR laser is completed. 9.4cm amplifier succesfully fired with surrogate Nd:silicate glass (from Shiva)
  • Images on the right: Overview of the Raptor laser system and the vertical glass assembly for the amplifiers.


  • 12/2010: Nathan graduates. Congratulations, Dr. Kugland!

  • PP

  • 10/20/2010: Construction of RAPTOR's 500 kJ capacitor bank is completed. The 40 capacitors with two independent ignitron high-current switches can drive both former-NOVA disk amplifiers. We thank A. Tauschwitz (GSI), B. LeGalloudec (NTF), and M. Ringuette (UT Austin) for all the help and advice!

  • Trident-shocks

  • 07/10/2010: Experiments on collisionless shocks with a large Helmholtz coil at the TRIDENT laser (LANL). Dynamics of laser plasmas in a large magnetized laser plasma plume is investigated by means of Thomson scattering and proton radiography.
  • C. Niemann et al., "Collisionless Shocks in a Large Magnetized Laser-Plasma Plume", IEE Trans. Plasma Science 39, 2406 (2011)
    D. Schaeffer et al., "Thomson Scattering Measurements of Temperature and Density in a Low-Density, Laser-Driven Magnetized Plasma", JINST 7, P)2002 (2012)

  • 06/28/2010: 1st HEDP Student and Postdoc Workshop, UCSD, June 28-30, 2010.
  • 06/10/2010: Experiments on EMP-generation in laser x-ray sources at the PW PHELIX laser at GSI (Germany).
  • 04/05/2009: Collaboration with LANL on nonlinear plasma waves and Thomson scattering at TRIDENT laser facility, at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

  • drill

  • 04/23/2010: In preparation of upcoming collisionless shock experiments with the new kJ laser on the LaPD we drilled a 30 cm beam port through the 5 foot thick steel-reinforced concrete floor between PHOENIX lab and the LAPD lab.

    Image on the right.

  • gasjet

  • 03/25/2010: Our gasjet K-alpha source is fielded on the Sandia BEAMLET laser (Sandia National Laboratory).

    Image on the left: first shots in the UCLA's gasjet.

  • opt-tables
  • 03/25/2010: Start the construction of kJ-class RAPTOR laser at UCLA, PHOENIX Laser Lab.

    Image on the right: RAPTOR's optical tables.

  • 03/01/2010: Leading experiments at the TITAN PW laser at LLNL to study laser channeling in underdense plasma for NIF detector calibrations, using low EMP noise gasjets.
  • 01/24/2010: More than 500 laser shots at 35 J in the LAPD with the LaB6 cathode and higher density background plasma for collisionless shock experiments at UCLA.
  • 12/02/2009: HEDP seminar: Siegfried Glenzer (LLNL), "Update on the NIF hohlraum energetics campaign"
  • December 2, 2 pm, PAB 2-434 @UCLA

  • 11/10/2009: First Thomson scattering measurements in LAPD.
  • D.B. Schaeffer et al, A scalable multipass laser cavity based on injection by frequency conversion for noncollective Thomson scattering
    Rev. Sci. Instrum. 81, 10D518 (2010)


  • 09/04/2009: First NOVA pulsed power circuit fired succesfully in tests. Twenty of these circuits will poer the newly designed kJ laser at UCLA (RAPTOR).

    Image on the left.

  • nova_comp

  • 04/21/2009: REU student Lucas Morten presents his results on magnetic field measurements in laser produced plasmas.

    Image on the right: Lucas holding a B-dot probe in front of the Sphere chamber.

  • 07/23/2009: HEDP seminar: David Larsen (LLNL), "A magnetized, spherical plasma expansion in an inhomogeneous plasma: the transition from super- to sub-Alfvénic"
  • Thursday, July 23, 2 pm, Rehab Center 15-70 @UCLA

  • 04/05/2009: Our group leads experiments on K-alpha imaging at the CALLISTO 100 TW laser at LLNL.
  • 07/07/2009: REU seminar: Chris Niemann, "Laser fusion and the National Ignition Facility"
  • Tuesday, July 7, 4 pm, PAB 1-749 @UCLA

  • 06/23/2009: HEDP seminar: Dan Winske (LLNL), "A laboratory collisionless shock wave experiment"
  • Tuesday, June 23, 2 pm, Rehab Center 15-70 @UCLA

  • 06/03/2009: CMPD seminar: Erik Everson (UCLA) "Design, construction, and calibration of a 3-axis, high-frequency B-dot probe as a diagnostic for exploding plasmas"
  • Wednesday, June 3, 12 pm, Rehab Center 15-70 @UCLA

  • 06/01/2009: HEDP seminar: Chris Ebbers (LLNL), "The past, present, and potential future of the Mercury laser system"
  • Monday, June 1, 1 pm, PAB 4-708 @UCLA

  • 04/05/2009: Our group participates in x-ray scattering on warm dense matter experiments at the TITAN PW laser at LLNL.
  • 05/26/2009: Additional NOVA laser components picked up from LLNL scrap yard.

  • 05/13/2009: Plasma Physics seminar: N. Kugland, "Fast electron transport in high density Ar gas jets diagnosed with K-alpha x-ray imaging"
  • Wednesday, May 13,12:00 pm, PAB 4-708 @UCLA


  • 04/21/2009: NOVA laser components arrive at UCLA from Alaska.

          Image on the left: In the backyard of the STRB, ready to unload the components for the future RAPTOR laser off the 40ft truck.

  • 04/05/2009: Our group participates in x-ray Thomson scattering experiments at the TRIDENT laser Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  • 04/01/2009: NOVA laser components shipped from UCLA HIPAS site in Alaska to UCLA.
  • 02/10/2009: Laser Teslathon and Presidential Briefings
  • Friday, February 10, @UCLA

  • 02/04/2009: 201Q Physics seminar: C. Niemann, "Laser fusion and the National Ignition Facility"
  • Wednesday, February 4, 2 pm, Knudsen Hall 4-134 @UCLA

  • 01/26/2009: Our group collaborates in experiments at the VULCAN laser at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK).
  • 12/08/2008: Our group performs experiments on hot electron transport and K-alpha imaging at the CALLISTO laser at LLNL.
  • 12/08/2008: M122 plasma physics NIF tour @LLNL.

  • Phx_Upgr

  • 11/16/2008:PHOENIX upgrades implemented. Special thanks to Rob Campbell and Chris Ebers (LLNL)!

          Image on the left: PHOENIX laser system after the upgrades.

  • 10/22/2008: CMPD/PSTI seminar: Samuel Martins (IST, Portugal), "Particle dynamics in relativistic shocks"
  • Wednesday, October 22, 12 pm, PAB 4-730 @UCLA

  • 10/01/2008: Our group collaborates with LLNL team on x-ray scattering experiments at the TITAN laser at LLNL.

  • 09/01/2008: Our group performs experiments on hot electrons at the 100 TW Callisto laser at LLNL.

  • 08/21/2008: Physics and Astronomy- REU program: student Alex Zylstra presents results from plasma flow measurements in laser plasma experiments at the LAPD.
  • Thursday, August 21, 8:30 am - 4 pm, PAB 2-434 @UCLA

  • 08/19/2008: LAPD experimental campaign with PHOENIX laser to study interactions between an exploding laser plasma with a large magnetoplasma. More than 1000 shots at 25 J.
  • Friday, March 21, 1 pm, PAB 4-708 @UCLA

  • 07/29/2008: REU seminar: C. Niemann (UCLA), "Laser fusion and high-energy density physics"
  • Tuesday, July 29, 4 pm, PAB 1-749 @UCLA

  • 06/03/2008: UCI Plasma seminar: C. Niemann (UCLA), "High-power laser experiments at the Large Plasma Device"
  • Tuesday, June 3, 3 pm, Reines Hall @UCLA

  • 05/30/2008: CMPD seminar: N. Kugland (UCLA), "Laser-generated K-alpha x-rays and hot electrons in Ar and Kr gas jet plasmas"
  • Friday, March 30, 1 pm, PAB 4-708 @UCLA

  • 05/23/2008: HEDP seminar: A. Tauschwitz (GSI, Germany), "PHELIX meets Unilac- Status and perspective for combined laser and ion beam experiments at GSI and FAIR"
  • Friday, May 23, 1 pm, PAB 4-708 @UCLA

  • 05/01/2008: Physics & Astronomy Colloquium: Ed Moses (LLNL), "The National Ignition Facility: Its role in fusion energy and the emerging field of high energy density science"
  • Thursday, May 1, 4 pm, PAB 1-425 @UCLA

  • 04/28/2008: Our group participates in x-ray scattering experiments at the VULCAN petawatt laser at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK).
  • June 25- July 20, Callisto (Jupiter facility, LLNL)

  • 04/23/2008: Our group leads an experimental campaign to study K-alpha sources at the 100 TW Callisto laser at LLNL. PI: Nathan Kugland
  • 03/21/2008: CMPD seminar: C. Constantin (UCLA), "Magnetic perturbations driven by laser plasma interactions with a large magnetized plasma"
  • Friday, March 21, 1 pm, PAB 4-708 @UCLA

  • 02/21/2008: CSULA Physics & Astronomy Colloqium: C. Niemann "Laser plasma interactions in inertial confinement fusion"
  • Thursday, February 20, 3:30 pm @UCLA

  • 01/29/2008: C. Niemann's Physical Review Letters paper "Green Frequency-Doubled Laser-Beam Propagation in High-Temperature Hohlraum Plasmas" on green laser-plasma interaction is published.
  • 01/15/2008: CESTAR Distinguished Speaker seminar: G. Janeschitz (FZ Fusion Program,, Germany), "The development of commercial fusion energy in the European Union"
  • Friday, January 15, 11 am, 6764 Boelter Hall Rice Room @UCLA

  • 11/26/2007: Our group participates in experiments at the TRIDENT laser facility (LANL, New Mexico) for nonlinear plasma waves studies.
  • 11/06/2007: CESTAR Distinguished Speaker seminar: G.L. Kulcinski (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison), "Where in the world can we find clean, safe, long-lasting, and economical energy sources for the 21st century & beyond?"
  • Tuesday, November 6, 4 pm, Faculty Center, California Room @UCLA

  • 11/02/2007: Day of the Dead 3D Teslathon at UCLA
  • November 2, 6:30 pm - 9 pm, Knudsen 2-222 @UCLA

  • 10/05/2007: Visiting scholar Patrick Schneider from Universität der Bundeswehr (Münich, Germany) joins our group for 6 months to perform collaborative experiments on ultra-fast soft x-ray detectors.
  • 08/06/2007: Our group participates in experiments at the HELEN laser (England) for ultra-short x-ray source studies.
  • 07/24/2007: Physics and Astronomy REU Presentation: Chris Niemann (UCLA), "Laser fusion: Ignition by 2010?"
  • Tuesday, July 24, 4 pm, PAB 1-749 @UCLA


  • 07/15/2007: A picture of our Sphere target chamber is featured on the cover of the UCLA general catalog 2007-2008, and mentions of our work on page 15.

  • 06/24/2007: Our group leads an experimental campaign to study K-alpha source production at the 100 TW Callisto laser at LLNL. PI: Nathan Kugland
  • June 25- July 20, Callisto (Jupiter facility, LLNL)

  • 06/24/2007: UCLA Physics and Astronomy REU Program: student David Asher participates in our hot electron experiment in plasmas driven by PHOENIX laser.
  • June 25-August 20, PHOENIX Laser Lab @UCLA

  • 06/18/2007: Our group starts an experimental campaign on LAPD to investigate laser-driven collisionless shocks in a magnetized background plasma using the PHOENIX laser. More than 600 shots at 20 J were succesfully fired into LAPD plasma.
  • June, 18-29, LAPD-STRB @UCLA

  • 06/04/2007: Physics 201Q Lecture: Chris Niemann (UCLA), "High Energy Density Physics: The X-Games of Contemporary Science"
  • Tuesday, June 5, 1 pm, PAB 3-703 @UCLA

  • 05/23/2007: NIF Science Workshop at UCLA. "Virtual institutes and real photons- Next years laser experiments at GSI"
  • Tuesday, May 29, 10 am, Engr. IV Archive Room @UCLA

  • 04/23/2007: Plasma physics seminar at UCLA: M.A. Malkov (UCSD), "Particle acceleration and magnetic field generation in astrophysical shocks"
  • Wednesday, April 23, 1 pm, BaPSF auditorium @UCLA

  • 04/18/2007: HEDP seminars at UCLA: Pisin Chen (KIPAC/SLAC), "Magnetowave induced plasma wakefield acceleration for ultra high enrgy cosmic rays"
  • Wednesday, April 18, 4:30 pm, Knudsen 4-134 @UCLA


  • 04/05/2007:Our group participates in experiments at the 100 TW Calisto laser at LLNL for studies of x-ray sources and generation of hot electrons.

  •       Picture on the right: grad student Nathan Kugland in front of the target chamber at Callisto.

  • 03/07/2007: HEDP seminars at UCLA: Markus Roth (TU-Darmstadt, Germany), "Virtual institutes and real photons- Next years laser experiments at GSI"
  • Wednesday, March 7, 1 pm, PAB 4-330 @UCLA

  • 02/28/2007: HEDP seminars at UCLA: L. John Perkins (LLNL), "Fusion: The ultimate energy source"
  • Wednesday, February 28, 1 pm, PAB 4-330 @UCLA

  • 02/14/2007: HEDP seminars at UCLA: Bedros Afeyan (Polymath Research), "Optical mixing controlled stimulated scattering instabilities in laser produced plasmas"
  • Wednesday, February 14, 1 pm, PAB 4-330 @UCLA

  • 01/31/2007: HEDP seminars at UCLA: Freddie Hansen (LLNL), "Astrophysics experiments using the world's largest laser"
  • Wednesday, January 31, 1 pm, PAB 4-330 @UCLA

  • 01/24/2007: HEDP seminars at UCLA: Scott Wilks (LLNL), "Fast Ignition: An alternative to approach to Inertial Confinement Fusion"
  • Wednesday, January 24, 1 pm, PAB 4-330 @UCLA

  • 01/18/2007: Physics & Astronomy colloquium at UCLA: ROger Falcone (UC Berkeley), "Time-resolved X-ray scattering from materials at high energy density"
  • Thursday, January 18, 3;30 pm, PAB 1-434 @UCLA

  • 01/12/2007: Second NIF tour for UCLA students
  • 10/29/2006: Plasma Physics seminar at UCLA: Nigel Woolsey (Univ. of York), "Laboratory astroplasma physics experiments using lasers"
  • Thursday, December 7, 3 pm, BaPSF conference room @UCLA

  • 10/29/2006: HEDP seminars at UCLA: Bruce Remington (LLNL), "High energy density science: a new frontier in laboratory science"
  • Wednesday, October 29, 1 pm, PSTI Auditorium 15-70 @UCLA

  • 10/25/2006: HEDP seminars at UCLA: Siegfried Glenzer (LLNL), "First experiments on the National Ignition Facility"
  • Wednesday, October 25, 1 pm, PSTI Auditorium 15-70 @UCLA

  • 10/11/2006: HEDP seminars at UCLA: Otto Landen (LLNL), "Inertial Confinement Fusion: Physics and challenges"
  • Wednesday, October 18, 1 pm, PAB 4-708 @UCLA

  • 08/16/2006: NIF Summer Scholars seminar seeries: C. Niemann (UCLA), "Opportunities at UCLA's Basic Plasma Science Facility"
  • Wednesday, August 16, 1:30 pm; Building 482 Auditorium @LLNL

  • 08/15/2006:REU presentations: C. Niemann (UCLA), "NIF and laser fusion".
  • Monday, August 15, 3 pm; PAB 1-749 @UCLA

  • 08/04/2006: UCLA students tour the NIF laser at LLNL.
  • 07/26/2006: Physics and Astronomy- REU program: student Craig Hogle joins the group for a project on laser-driven shock waves in LAPD..
  • 06/03/2006: UCLA workshop on laser plasma experiments with a high-power laser and the large plasma devices.
  • Saturday, June 3, 9 am - 5 pm; Plasma conference room R15-70 @UCLA

  • 05/24/2006: Group visit at CLEO 2006, Longbeach.
  • 03/30/2006: Participation in experiments on nonlocal heat transport in laser produced plasmas, at the VULCAN laser facility at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK.