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Accelerator Systems

MaRIE will provide a capability to address the control of performance and production of weapons materials at the mesoscale. MaRIE fills a critical gap in length scale between the integral scale addressed by studies conducted at DARHT, U1a, NIF, and Z.


  • Richard Sheffield
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Revolutionizing Microstructural Physics to Empower Nuclear Energy

Realizing MaRIE’s full suite of capabilities requires developing and integrating a suite of probes including proton beam radiography, electron radiography and a source of hard, brilliant, and coherent photons. The preferred alternative for the MaRIE light source is a very-hard-x-ray (50 keV) high peak, low average brightness x-ray free electron laser (XFEL). Key technologies originally developed at Los Alamos in the 1980s and 1990s enabled the present free-electron x-ray laser facilities currently in use world-wide. 

Proton radiographs

Proton radiographs of ejecta created by Richtmyer-Meshkov instability of shock-loaded surface. Charged particle radiography is ideally suited for generating movies of dynamic events looking through the full samples.

Multiple radiographs and coherent x-ray diffraction patterns collected at time steps through the evolution of dynamic processes can deliver critical information on the dynamic response to various impulsive loading conditions, such as shock waves or radiation interactions. Los Alamos has pioneered the science and technology of flash radiography since the earliest days of the Laboratory. In the late 1990s Los Alamos scientists invented the technique of charged particle radiography, using the 800-MeV proton beam at LANSCE to generate multiple “stop-action” radiographs of dynamic systems during a single event.

MaRIE would be unique in the capability to provide a series of images, a movie, over time scales of microseconds through thick samples of material undergoing a dynamic event. Present brilliant XFEL sources focus their beams on small (1-micron or so) size spots with few atoms, and the inelastic scattering deposits enough energy to turn the sample into a plasma. Illuminating a larger spot size and sample volume can reduce the intensity of deposited energy from the x-ray probe, albeit while accepting spatial resolution that is larger. This is exactly the mesoscale on which MaRIE is focused.