Wolf Seka has been named the new director of the Experimental Division at the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Seka is senior scientist and associate professor of optics at the University and formerly headed the laboratory's beam control and diagnostics group and the laser-plasma interactions group.
In his new role, Seka will oversee the 40 scientists and engineers who conduct experiments with LLE's OMEGA laser, the world's largest direct-drive ultraviolet inertial confinement fusion laser. Most of the experiments conducted with OMEGA use the laser's 60 beams to implode pellets the size of coarse grains of sand. It's hoped that such experiments eventually will lead to nuclear fusion reactors, a potentially powerful and inexhaustible new energy source. OMEGA is also used on other targets to advance researchers' understanding of basic problems in physics.
Seka is an authority in laser physics and laser-plasma interactions, in which high-intensity lasers blast ionized gases at very high temperature and density. He earned a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Texas at Austin in 1965. He held research positions at the University of British Columbia, the French Atomic Energy Commission, the European Space Research Institute, and the University of Berne in Switzerland before joining LLE in 1972. He is author or co-author of more than 100 research publications.