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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Opportunities in the Science, Applications, and Technology of Intense Ultrafast Lasers


Statement of Task: 

A committee will be formed to prepare a report that will:


  1. Survey high intensity science and related technology, including the following:
    • Identify science opportunities opened up by ultrafast, high peak power lasers at the frontiers of peak power and average power (“high intensity science”).
    • Assess the potential impact of applications associated with high intensity science.
    • Assess the status of laser engineering and technology in the United States associated with high intensity science.
  2. Review the framework in which high intensity science and the development of related technology is conducted in the United States. Such review should take place in an international context, with efforts in Europe to serve as a benchmark. In doing so, the committee is to address the following questions:
    • Is there an explicit or implicit national strategy for stewarding high intensity science in the United States? If not, can one be formulated and if so what would be an appropriate structure for such a strategy?
    • Is there a case for a large-scale initiative to coordinate, accelerate, and steward high intensity science at peak and average power well beyond the current state of the art?
    • Is there a compelling science case for the construction of a forefront U.S. facility or a staged sequence of facilities in high intensity science at peak powers of 1 petawatt to 1 exawatt? If so, what should the parameters be and what capabilities should be included in such a facility or sequence of facilities?
    • Is high peak power laser technology development in the United States being well stewarded? If not, what roadmap should the United States follow for coherently supporting the development of this technology and what new technologies, if any, should be pursued?”



October 27-28, 2016
Beckman Center of the National Academies
Irvine, CA
Agenda (Word)


July 14-15, 2016
Rochester University
Rochester, NY
Agenda (Word)


March 7-8, 2016
Stanford University
Palo Alto, CA
Agenda (Word)


December 4-5, 2015
The National Academies Keck Center
Keck 105
Washington, DC

Agenda (Word)

Presentation (PDF)

Committee Members

Phil Bucksbaum (NAS), Stanford University, Chair
Riccardo Betti, University of Rochester
John Collier, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Louis F. DiMauro, The Ohio State University
Elsa Garmire (NAE), Dartmouth College
Jacqueline Gish (NAE), Northrup Grumman Aerospace Systems
Ernie Glover, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Marshall Jones (NAE), General Electric Global Research
Henry C. Kapteyn (NAS), University of Colorado, Boulder
Andrew Lankford, University of California at Irvine
Howard Milchberg, University of Maryland
Stephen Milton, Colorado State University
Peter Moulton (NAE), MIT Lincoln Laboratory
C. Kumar Patel (NAS/NAE), Pranalytica, Inc. (resigned September 2016)
Eli Yablonovitch (NAS/NAE), University of California, Berkeley (resigned August 2016)




This activity is supported by funding from the Department of Energy, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force