The Homepage of Dr Thomas White's Research Group

Laboratory Astrophysics and High Energy Density Physics at the University of Nevada, Reno

Our Research

NIF Discovery Science Program

Excitingly our proposal to measure diffusion in dense plasmas was awarded time on the world's most energetic laser, the National Ignition Facility (NIF). Awarded through their Discovery Science program, this work will help improve our understanding of planetary interiors. Our shot day is currently scheduled for 2021/2022.

December 2019


Congratulations to Jacob Molina for being accepted into the prestigious McNair Scholars Program. The program provides academic and research opportunities for first generation, low-income and underrepresented college juniors and seniors.

As part of his research Jacob will be participating in experiments conducted at the Extreme Light Laboratory at the University of Nebraska. These experiments were recently awarded through the DOE LaserNETUS program.

November 2019

More Info

Congratulations Emily

Congratulations to group member and undergradute student Emily Chau for sucessfully winning an internship at NASA this summer!

April 2019


New Paper

Our latest paper on Supersonic Turbulence has just been publsihed in Nature Communications. Check out the paper and blog post below!

April 2019

Paper Blog Post

OMEGA Laser User's Workshop

Myself along with with faculty and graduate students from the University of Nevada, Reno attended the extremely sucessful and productive OMEGA Laser User's Workshop in Rochester, NY.

April 2018


Happy Hour with a Scientist

Dr Thomas White discussing how some of the largest lasers in the world are currently being used to study some of the most energetic events in the Universe. His talk, titled "Laboratory Astrophysics: Explosions, Lasers and Supernova", was given at the Happy Hour with a Scientist series hosted by the Laughing Planet restaurant.

April 2018

Our research

Our group specialises in both experimental and computational study of extreme states of matter, known as warm dense matter (WDM) or high energy density (HED) states. Warm dense matter, typically defined by temperatures of a few electron volts and densities comparable with solids, is a complex state of matter where multi-body particle correlations and quantum effects play an important role in determining the overall structure and equation of state. The properties and behaviour of this matter thus determines the state and evolution of many astrophysical objects such as the giant gas and ice planets, brown and white dwarfs and the crust of neutron stars.

Computational HEDP


We perform large-scale classical and quantum atomistic simulations of these high energy density states of matter. The aim of these simulations is to calculate the ion-ion dynamic structure factor which then enables us to calculate thermodynamic and transport properties. The dynamic structure factor provides a direct comparison betweens simulations and experiments.

Experimental HEDP


Experimentally we typically create and diagnose these high energy density states through ultra-high intensity laser-matter interactions in both the optical and x-ray regimes. The recent development of free electron laser (FEL) technology has allowed unprecedented measurment of the properties of this matter through inelastic X-ray scattering. We have performed experiments around the world including at the LCLS (USA) and Rutherford Appleton Labs (UK).

Laboratory Astrophysics


Laboratory astrophysics is a comparatively new field where we attempt to understand our universe by recreating an aspect or phenomena in the laboratory that enables to better understand the underlying processes at work. Our recent work in this field has investigated the statistical properties of supersonic turbulence to aid our understanding of molecular clouds and star formation.



From left to right. Jacob Molina (UG), Cameron Allen (Graduate), Thomas White (PI), Emily Chau (UG), Rebekah Hermsmeier (Graduate), Matthew Oliver (Post-doc), Ryan Davis (UG).


This list contains our most recent publications. A more complete list can be found on my Google Scholar page.

  1. B. Larder, D. O. Gericke, S. Richardson, P.Mabey, T. G. White and G. Gregori, Fast nonadiabatic dynamics of many-body quantum systems, Science Advances 5(11), eaaw1634 (2019).
  2. T. G White, M. Oliver, P. Mabey, et al., Supersonic plasma turbulence in the laboratory, Nature Communications 10(1), 1758 (2019).
  3. E. E. McBride, T. G. White et al., Setup for meV-resolution inelastic X-ray scattering measurements and X-ray diffraction at the Matter in Extreme Conditions endstation at the Linac Coherent Light Source, Review of Scientific Instruments 89(10), 10F104 (2018)
  4. P. Tzeferacos, A. Rigby, A. Bott, A. Bell, R. Bingham, A. Casner, F. Cattaneo, E. Churazov, J. Emig, F. Fiuza, et al., Laboratory evidence of dynamo amplification of magnetic fields in a turbulent plasma, Nature Communications 9(1), 591 (2018).
  5. J.C. Wood, D.J. Chapman, K. Poder, N.C. Lopes, M.E. Rutherford, T.G. White, et al., Ultrafast Imaging of Laser Driven Shock Waves using Betatron X-rays from a Laser Wakefield Accelerator, arXiv preprint arXiv:1802.02119 (2018).
  6. S.A. Muller, D.N. Kaczala, H.M. Abu-Shawareb, E.L. Alfonso, L.C. Carlson, et al., Evolution of the Design and Fabrication of Astrophysics Targets for Turbulent Dynamo (TDYNO) Experiments on OMEGA, Fusion Science and Technology, 1-12 (2017).
  7. M. Oliver, T.G. White, P. Maybe, M. Kühn-Kauffeldt, L. Döhl, R. Bingham, et al., Magneto-optic probe measurements in low density-supersonic jets, Journal of Instrumentation 12 (12), P12001 (2017).
  8. T.G. White, A. Tikku, M. A. Silva, G. Gregori, A. Higginbotham, and D.E. Eakins, Identifying deformation mechanisms in molecular dynamics simulations of laser shocked matter Journal of Computational Physics 350, 16(24) (2017).
  9. A. Bott, C. Graziani, P. Tzeferacos, T.G. White, D. Lamb, G. Gregori, and A. Schekochihin, Proton imaging of stochastic magnetic fields, arXiv preprint arXiv:1708.01738 (2017).
  10. T. G. White, J. Patten, K.-H. Wan, A.. Pullen, D. Chapman, and D. E. Eakins, A single camera three-dimensional digital image correlation system for the study of adiabatic shear bands Strain 53 (2017).
  11. P. Tzeferacos, A. Rigby, A. Bott, A. Bell, R. Bingham, A. Casner, F. Cattaneo, E. Churazov, J. Emig, N. Flocke, et al. Numerical modeling of laser-driven experiments aiming to demonstrate magnetic field amplification via turbulent dynamo Physics of Plasmas 24, 041404 (2017).
  12. P. Mabey, S. Richardson, T.G. White, L. Fletcher, S. Glenzer, N. Hartley, J. Vorberger, D. Gericke, and G. Gregori, A strong diffusive ion mode in dense ionized matter predicted by langevin dynamics, Nature Communications 8, 14125 (2017).

Contact Information

Dr Thomas White
Assistant Professor, Physics
University of Nevada,
Reno, NV 89557