The Extreme Light Infrastructure ERIC

High-Energy Density Physics

High-energy density plasmas are generally characterized by pressures above 1 Mbar or energy densities above 1011 J/m3. Lasers are the only way to create such conditions in a controlled way in the laboratory on a small scale (an uncontrolled way would be nuclear explosions).

Laser-plasma interaction for HEDP conditions:

  • Contributes to new schemes for inertial confinement fusion (ICF) such as shock ignition and fast ignition
  • Helps to understand strongly correlated systems
  • Provides opacity data of compressed materials
  • Has many applications for astrophysical phenomena

In contrast to “standard” plasma physics, HEDP-plasmas have often very few particles in the Debye-sphere which makes any numerical or analytical treatment very difficult due to strong correlation effects. Experiments in this field will also help us to refine the theories for HEDP and make prediction models more reliable. HEDP experiments will provide information on the phase transition of insulators to metal-like conductors. In optically thick material radiation is an important player in HEDP as it is altering the structure and dynamics of shocks. Modeling radiative shocks is challenging as it is a multi-scale problem. The physics of pre-pulses in high-intensity laser-matter interaction is a difficult problem of HEDP as up- and down-stream optical depths are very different, affecting the shock-physics. HEDP is strongly linked to laboratory astrophysics (→ html link) and comprises WDM (→ html link). The lasers available in P3 will allow to drive strong shocks and provide sophisticated diagnostic tools for HEDP-research.


  1. R.P. Drake, High-Energy-Density-Physics, Springer Verlag 2006
  2. National Research Council, Frontiers in High Energy Density Physics, Natl. Academy Press 2003
  3. S.V. Lebedev, High energy density laboratory astrophysics, Springer Verlag 2009
  4. P.W. Bridgman, The physics of high pressure, Dover 1970
  5. P.O.K. Krehl, History of Shock Waves, Explosions and Impact: A Chronological and Biographical Reference, Springer 2007

Stefan WEBER,