LLNL Staff Scientist
Dr. Darren Bleuel, a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), has a diverse experimental nuclear physics research background with a particular focus on cross-disciplinary fields like nuclear-plasma-atomic interactions, biological effects of radiation, laser-induced nuclear reactions, and astrophysical nucleosynthesis. He also has extensive experience performing a wide variety of accelerator-based experiments involving gamma-ray spectroscopy in coincidence with particle identification, as well as neutronics simulations using MCNP.
He received his Bachelor’s, Master's, and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). He then served as a postdoctoral researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) developing a deuteron-breakup facility at the 88-Inch Cyclotron. Subsequently, as a postdoc at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, he developed and led the neutron activation diagnostic program at the National Ignition Facility, first demonstrating capsule compression anisoptropy displayed on the cover of “Physics of Plasmas,” Volume 20 (7). He became a full-time staff physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2007.
In 2012, he was awarded a highly competitive and prestigious “UCOP Management Fee” grant. Through this grant, he formed and led a team of graduate students, postdocs, research staff, and a number of undergraduates at the University of California at Berkeley, investigating high energy density plasma effects on nuclear reactions in astrophysical environments. This now-concluded effort formed a long-lasting collaboration between LLNL, LBNL, and UCB spanning a wide variety of nuclear physics fields, through which he continually mentors 2-5 students each year.
His current research focuses primarily on neutron reactions. He performs direct neutron scattering and fission cross section measurements with the Gamma Energy Neutron Energy Spectrometer for Inelastic Scattering (GENESIS) at LBNL, indirect determination of neutron absorption cross sections through measurement of gamma strength functions and nuclear level densities, neutronics simulations with MCNP, and neutron/gamma-ray spectroscopy.
Finally, he has moderate internet fame as the author of the webcomic strip, Nukees, which for over 25 years has illustrated the adventures of forever-ungraduating nuclear engineering students.