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Washington State University Institute for Shock Physics

Understanding Materials at Extreme Conditions

The Institute for Shock Physics (ISP) at Washington State University (WSU) is a DOE/NNSA “Center of Excellence” and multi-disciplinary research organization with a strong focus on understanding condensed matter response at extreme conditions.

WSU (as the lead institution) and three outstanding academic partners – Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, and Stanford University – conduct substantive research leading to advances/innovations in the field of Dynamic Compression Science. Multidisciplinary research activities, involving students, postdocs, and faculty members from different academic disciplines at the four participating institutions, comprehensively address the exciting scientific challenges. In addition, meaningful and mutually beneficial collaborations with scientists are undertaken at the NNSA Laboratories: Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia.

WSU is a leader in shock wave and high pressure research. The research activities, supported by the DOE/NNSA and other federal agencies, involve examining and understanding physical and chemical changes in solids and liquids under very rapid and large compressions. Using state-of-the-art experimental and computational capabilities, world-class faculty at the ISP conduct interdisciplinary research spanning the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, solid mechanics, planetary sciences, and applied mathematics. Graduate students and faculty from various academic departments participate in the research activities.

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Dynamic Compression Research

Dynamic compression experiments subject materials to unique conditions (very large compressions, high temperatures, and large deformations) on very short time scales resulting in a rich array of physical and chemical changes.

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Dynamic Compression Sector at APS

Washington State University (WSU) is leading the effort to develop and build the Dynamic Compression Sector (DCS) infrastructure and instrumentation at the APS.  The DOE/NNSA is sponsoring the development of this first-of-a-kind user facility, which offers an opportunity to pursue fundamental science that has not been possible at any synchrotron radiation facility in the past.

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Graduate Studies at ISP

ISP Graduate Students benefit from hands-on research opportunities in a multidisciplinary and exciting field.  Washington State University graduates who have completed their research in ISP have moved on to successful professional careers.

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News and Events

Sandia National Laboratories physicist Marcus Knudson is the first joint faculty appointee to serve both Sandia and Washington State University. Using Sandia’s unique Z machine, he will enhance fundamental research into the compression of materials under extreme conditions.

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Facilities and Equipment

The Institute for Shock Physics’ state-of-the-art research facilities provide an ideal environment for examining materials under extreme conditions.

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Dynamic Compression Summer School (August 5 – 10, 2018)

The Dynamic Compression Summer School has been established to provide an overview of dynamic compression science appropriate for upper-level undergraduates and first-year graduate students. The four-days of lectures, discussion, and a tour will introduce students to the scientific fundamentals, broad scientific applications, and career opportunities within this vital, diverse and challenging field.

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