Brian Jensen

Scientific Interests and Work

Studying material response at extreme conditions using time-resolved, in-situ diagnostics that can access length scales from the atomic to the continuum.

Dr. Jensen’s research focuses on understanding material response during shock wave or dynamic compression loading.   This includes the use of diagnostics such as X-ray diffraction and imaging along with interface velocimetry to correlate the microscopic behavior with the observed continuum-level response during shock wave propagation. Phenomena studied includes elastic-plastic deformation, phase transitions, and material strength along with more complex phenomena such as jet formation, ejecta production, and compaction of heterogeneous media.  A central theme throughout his career has been his participation in efforts to develop novel diagnostics and capabilities for dynamic compression science.  As the director of ISP, Dr. Jensen’s and colleagues will work to guide the development of next generation capabilities at light sources and grow the body of scientists with the knowledge base to utilize these new capabilities. 


Professor Brian Jensen completed his Ph.D. in physics at Washington State University in 2003.  In 2004, he joined the Dynamic Experiments Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a technical staff member working in the Shock and Detonation Physics group where he spent nearly 20 years studying the response of matter at extreme conditions.  During those years, he served as the team leader for the historic Shock Physic team and as the High-Z Project Leader for actinide science in the Dynamic Materials Properties (DMP) program in the Office of Experimental Science.  In this capacity, he led an interdisciplinary research program to address scientific problems of national importance related to high-Z or actinide metals. In September of 2023, Dr. Jensen joined the Physics Department at Washington State University as Professor and became the next Director of the Institute for Shock Physics.

Dr. Jensen’s work in dynamic compression science began at the Institute for Shock Physics in 1998 using dynamic x-ray diffraction combined with simultaneous shock wave profile measurement to examine shock induced elastic-plastic deformation in single crystals.  His work continued at Los Alamos Laboratory with research focused on the development of multiphase equations-of-state, understanding phase transitions, and material strength. He has played key roles in the modernization of LANL’s TA-55 40mm impact facility – a national signature facility for actinide research, in re-establishing the 40mm pRad capability at LANSCE for proton imaging, and the development of Los Alamos Lab’s new Dynamic Equation of State Facility (DEOS) that modernizes and consolidates LANL’s historic shock physics capabilities that extend back to the 1960s.  Notable diagnostics development efforts with colleagues included the develop photon Doppler velocimetry (PDV) for shock wave experiments, optical radiance to measure temperatures, and novel X-ray diagnostics such as multi-frame X-ray phase contrast imaging and, small angle X-ray scattering. 

Dr Jensen has a demonstrated history of mentoring students, postdocs, technicians, and scientific staff in dynamic compression science in his various roles over the years.  He has given more than 100 professional talks for domestic and international audiences and published more than a 100 archival manuscripts and reports.  He served as the Chair of the APS topical group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (GSCCM) in 2019, member of the Los Alamos Laboratory Scientific Advisory Panel 2018-2021, elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2019, and was awarded the Los Alamos Fellow’s Prize in 2022. 


Ph.D. (Physics) 2003, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington
M.Sc. (Physics and Classics) 1997, Knox College, Galesburg, IL

Honors and Recognition

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows’ Prize for Leadership, 2022
  • Los Alamos Awards Program, “In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to the DEOS First Experiment Team,” 2019
  • Los Alamos Awards Program, “In Recognition of Exceptional Efforts for the New Shock Physics Facility (DEOS),” 2018
  • NA-50 Excellence Award, 2018
  • NNSA Defense Program Award of Excellence for the pRad 40mm Powder Gun Team, 2018
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), 2018
  • LANL Distinguished Performance Award for Application of the MPCI System to Detonator Initiator Systems, 2017
  • Los Alamos Award for Recognition of Excellence in Mentoring, 2017
  • Los Alamos Award in Recognition for Exceptional Leadership and Mentoring of a Postdoc, 2017
  • Los Alamos Award Program for Exemplary Service for the “Development of the IMPULSE System at APS,” 2012
  • Los Alamos Award Program for Exemplary Service for the “TA-55 Capability and Diagnostics Modifications for the 40mm Plutonium Powder Gun,” 2012
  • NNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence for “Experimental and Theoretical Efforts for Multiphase Equation-of-State Development of Metals,” 2010
  • NNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence for “Developing the High-Explosive Pulsed Power (HEPP) Program for Isentropic Compression and its Analytical Advances and for Significant Contributions to the Stockpile Stewardship Program,” 2007
  • NNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence for “Isentropic Compression of Metals Using High-Explosive Pulse Power Techniques and for Significant Contributions to the Stockpile Stewardship Program,” 2006
  • NNSA Defense Program Award of Excellence for Development of the MPCI System, 2017

Representative Publications

  • M. Beason and B. J. Jensen.  “Examination of the cerium a-e phase transition under dynamic loading with x-ray diffraction” Phys. Rev. B 105, 214107 (2022).
  • M.T. Beason, B. J. Jensen, and S.D. Crockett. “Shock melting and the hcp-bcc phase boundary of Mg under dynamic loading.” Phys. Rev. B 104, 144106 (2021).   
  • B. J. Jensen, T. Hartsfield, D. Holtkamp, F.J. Cherne, J. Cooley, B. Carrow. “On-Hugoniot Temperature measurements for solid and liquid Ce.” Phys. Rev. B. 102, 214105 (2020).
  • C.T. Seagle, M.P. Desjarlais, A.J. Porwitzky, B. J. Jensen. “Compression Induced Solidification of Shock Melted Cerium.”  Phys. Rev. B. 102, 054102 (2020).
  • M.T. Beason, B. J. Jensen, and B. Branch. “Investigating shock-melting of metals through time-resolved X-ray diffraction of cerium.”  J. Apply. Phys. 128, 165107 (2020). 
  • B. J. Jensen, F.J. Cherne, and N. Velisavljevic.  “Off-Hugoniot experiments to examine the a-e phase boundary location of cerium.”  J. Appl. Phys. 127, 095901 (2020).
  • M. Bagge-Hansen, S. Bastea1, J.A. Hammons, et al. “Detonation synthesis of carbon nano-onions via liquid carbon condensation.” Nature Communications Volume 10, Article number: 3819 (2019).
  • B. J. Jensen, D.S. Montgomery, A.J. Iverson, C.A. Carlson, B. Clements, M. Short, and D.A. Fredenburg.  “X-ray phase contrast imaging of granular systems.”  Shock phenomena in granular and porous media.  Springer Publishing (2019) LA-UR-17-27104.
  • B. J. Jensen, F.J. Cherne, K. Ramos, A.J. Iverson, C. Carlson, J. Yeager, K. Fezzaa G. Dimonte. D. Hooks, “Multiphase material strength determined through shock generated Richtmyer-Meshkov Instabilities.”  J. Appl. Phys. 118, 195903 (2015). 
  • B. J. Jensen, C.T. Owens, K.J. Ramos J.D. Yeager, R.A Saavedra, A.J. Iverson, S.N. Luo, K. Fezzaa, D.E. Hooks.  “Impact System for Ultrafast Synchrotron Experiments.” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 84, 013904 (2013).
  • B. J. Jensen and F.J. Cherne.  “Dynamic Compression of Cerium in the Low-Pressure a-e Region of the Phase Diagram” J. Appl. Phys. 112, 013515 (2012).
  • B. J. Jensen, F.J. Cherne, J.C. Cooley, M.V. Zhernokletov, and A.E. Kovalev. “Shock melting of cerium.” Phys. Rev. B, 81, 214109 (2010).
  • B. J. Jensen, G.T. Gray III, and R.S. Hixson, “Direct Measurement of the alpha-epsilon Transition Stress and Kinetics for Shocked Iron.” J. Appl. Phys., 105, 013502 (2009).
  • B. J. Jensen and Y.M. Gupta. “Time-Resolved X-ray Diffraction to Examine the Elastic-Plastic Transition in LiF Crystals.” J. Appl. Phys., 104, 013510 (2008).
  • B. J. Jensen, D. B. Holtkamp, P.A. Rigg, and D. H. Dolan, “Accuracy Limits and Window Corrections for Photon Doppler Velocimetry.”  J. Appl. Phys. 101, 013523 (2007).
  • B. J. Jensen and Y. M. Gupta. “X-ray Diffraction Measurements in Shock Compressed Magnesium Doped LiF Crystals.” J. Appl. Phys. 100, 053512, (2006).