Since October of 2003, the High Energy Density Physics (HEDP) Group at UC San Diego has been pursuing research on inertial confinement fusion (ICF), fast ignition, laser matter interactions, wire array z-pinches, x-pinches and neutron sources. The group has a strong simulation component and has access to Particle-in-Cell (PIC) (LSP and Osiris), radiation-hydrodynamic (H2D), and 3D resistive Magneto-Hydrodynamic (MHD) codes. These codes are used to design and interpret experiments carried out both at National Laboratories and other user facilities, and also in the HEDP laboratory at UCSD.

Farhat Beg

Our Group is led by Farhat Beg, a professor in UCSD's MAE Department & the Director of the Center for Energy Research.


Mechanical & Aerospace

The High Energy Density Physics Group is based in UC San Diego's Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.


Center for Energy Research

We are a member of the Center for Energy Research, one of the largest organized research units at UC San Diego.



Joohwan Kim publishes proton transport study

December 3, 2018

A team led by Center for Energy Research scientists Chris McGuffey, Joohwan Kim, and Prof. Farhat Beg have shown that proton beams, which are well-studied products of intense lasers, can locally heat a gold sample to over 35 eV, or 400,000 degrees. But, surprisingly, the heating strongly depended on what material was in front of the gold, suggesting that the energy lost by the beam in the hot materials is far different from what existing cold models predict. The experiment was carried out at the National Nuclear Security Administration's Trident Laser at Los Alamos National Laboratory with collaborators at Trident, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, General Atomics, the University of Alberta, and the Ohio State University.

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Professor Farhat Beg named AAAS Fellow

November 28, 2018

Farhat Beg is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Center for Energy Research. He is recognized for his contributions to the field of high energy density science, which deals with the study of matter under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature, such as those that exist in the interior of stars and planets. Beg develops experiments capable of reproducing such extreme conditions using short pulse, high intensity lasers and pulsed power Z-pinches. This work enables researchers to test theories and models of how celestial bodies are formed and to understand more about the universe.

Read the Jacobs School of Engineering press release

NNSA Awards New Center of Excellence to be led by Professor Farhat Beg

October 17, 2018

The University of California San Diego was awarded $10.5 million over five years from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to create one of four new centers of excellence. The Center for Matters under Extreme Pressure (CMEC) will be the third NNSA center focused on high energy density science. The center will be led by Professor Farhat Beg and headquartered at UC San Diego but will work in partnership with three other University of California campuses - Berkeley, Davis and Los Angeles - the University of Chicago, Florida A&M University and General Atomics. Additionally, they will work in close collaboration with four Department of Energy national laboratories: Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, Los Alamos and SLAC National Accelerator.

Read the UCSD press release
Read the NNSA press release Read the Jacobs School of Engineering press release


The HEDP group performs computer simulations and experiments at cutting edge laser facilities around the world, in order to study interactions of ultraintense lasers with solid and warm dense targets.