Berkeley Lab

David Turk, Deputy Secretary of Energy, Visits BELLA Center

David Turk, second-ranking official at the Department of Energy, toured ATAP’s Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center during his November 3, 2021 visit to Berkeley Lab. ATAP staff briefed him on the BELLA Center’s work to create a new generation of particle accelerators that are much more compact than conventional ones by using ultra-intense lasers to drive plasma waves. Topics included kBELLA, a proposed next-generation laser facility, and coherent beam combining, a candidate for one of kBELLA’s key enabling technologies. kBELLA would help make laser-plasma accelerators useful for applications.

Photography by Thor Swift/Berkeley Lab.

Michael Witherell, Natalie Roe, David Turk, Cameron Geddes view historic photos in BELLA hallway

L-R: Visiting the BELLA Center were Berkeley Lab Director Michael Witherell; Environment, Safety, and Health Division liaison to the Physical Sciences Directorate Herb Toor; ATAP researcher Tong Zhou; Senior Advisor for Nuclear Security Captain Sean M. Muth, USN; Special Assistant to the DOE Deputy Secretary Sandie Raines; Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences Natalie Roe; DOE Deputy Secretary David Turk; and ATAP Division Director Cameron Geddes. They are looking at a photo of Laboratory founder Ernest O. Lawrence at the 37-Inch Cyclotron, part of a display of historical photographs in this area depicting our accelerator heritage.


“It was an honor to showcase our facilities and explain how the the Division’s research benefits society,” said ATAP Director Cameron Geddes.


Supplying high average power at the eponymous repetition rate of a thousand pulses per second, or a kilohertz (compared to present-day high-power lasers like the BELLA Petawatt, which fire a pulse per second), kBELLA will be able to drive the next generation of laser- plasma accelerators. This will open up their many applications, ranging from biomedical treatment to light sources for fundamental research and national security. Such lasers will also enable new industrial processes that create and measure the properties of materials needed for advanced manufacturing, energy storage, and carbon management.

David Turk and Cameron Geddes in BELLA laser control room

ATAP Director Cameron Geddes (right) shows Deputy Secretary Turk around the BELLA laser control room.


David Turk and Cameron Geddes look at capillary

In the BELLA Petawatt amplifier bay, ATAP Director Cameron Geddes (center) show Deputy Secretary Turk (right) and Special Assistant Sandie Raines (left) one of the plasma capillaries in which laser-plasma accelerators can achieve energies in centimeters that typically require hundreds of meters in conventional accelerators. At right, the plasma capillary in use, creating a plasma that can guide ultra-intense lasers, enabling plasma acceleration.

David Turk and Tong Zhou

ATAP Research Scientist Tong Zhou (r.) briefs Deputy Secretary Turk on coherent beam combining — a technique, being developed at BELLA Center together with colleagues from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of Michigan, to assemble a high repetition rate, high average power laser beam from the fast-pulsing but low-powered beams of numerous fiber lasers. Such a laser is a frontrunner for kBELLA, a proposed shovel-ready project that could power the next generation of ultracompact laser-plasma particle accelerators.



To learn more…

See more of the Berkeley Lab endeavors that Deputy Secretary Turk visited.

Visit the kBELLA pages on the BELLA Center website.