Using the multi-MJ laser at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California, a breakthrough in exploring matter at high compression, to 1000-fold initial density, is underway thanks to experimental developments associated with achieving inertially confined fusion in the laboratory. High-energy lasers can now manipulate the energy density of matter to atomic pressures, i.e. the pressure required to significantly distort core electron orbitals. Improvements in controlling dynamic compression paths enable the exploration of solids and fluids to >10s of TPa (> 100 million atmospheres pressure), and the incipient stages of inertial fusion. I will describe recent experimental results revealing quite exotic behavior of matter at extreme compression and our effort to understand and control material microphysics and gradients on the way to inertial fusion. Apologies for break in recording at 16:40 - technical problems... Links: https://lasers.llnl.gov/
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