Andrea E W Schmidt

Portrait of  Andrea E W Schmidt

  • Title
    Applied Plasma Physicist/Engineer
  • Email
  • Phone
    (925) 423-9636
  • Organization
    Not Available

Professional Experience

Dr. Schmidt is the Electromagnetics Section Leader within the National Security Engineering Division (NSED) at LLNL and the acting Deputy Division Leader of NSED. Dr. Schmidt received her B.S. in Physics from the University of California/Berkeley in 2004 and her Ph.D. in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011. She joined LLNL as a postdoctoral researcher in 2011 and then joined the staff in 2013.

Dr. Schmidt has led several DoE and DoD-funded projects in dense plasma focus (DPF) research that have both modeling and experimental components. She recently led the design and build of a large Megajoule-class DPF facility, currently being developed for flash neutron radiography. She has also initiated efforts in kinetic modeling of magnetron plasmas, specifically high-powered impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) plasmas, and kinetic modeling of shear-flow-stabilized z-pinch configurations for controlled fusion under the ARPA-E ALPHA program. She has been invited to speak on z-pinches at multiple conferences and workshops, and co-chaired a working group on materials and sources for accelerators for a Department of Energy Basic Research Needs (BRN) workshop. She has also hosted workshops at Livermore in the topical areas of DPFs and Accelerator Technologies. She is a member of the Technical Committee for ZNetUS, an organization for coordinating and collaborating on Z-pinch research across universities and national laboratories. She is a member of the Oppenheimer Science and Engineering Leadership Program 2020 cohort.

Dr. Schmidt has served on the LLNL Labwide LDRD committee, and has been a reviewer for NSF, the Office of Science, the ORISE Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, the Office of Stockpile Stewardship/Stewardship Science Academic Alliances Program, and the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (SBIR and STIR). She is currently on the LLNL HED LDRD committee.

Dr. Schmidt also has participated in numerous outreach activities to further public understanding of science, including Dinner with a Scientist/Get Set STEM Program, Expanding Your Horizons middle school girl’s workshop, LLNL Stem Day, UC Berkeley Cal Day/physics demo room, APS DPP Plasma Physics Expo, numerous tokamak tours and fusion presentations for school groups and visitors, Fusion Day on Capitol Hill, as well as participation in several outreach videos.

Research Interests

Kinetic modeling of plasmas, dense plasma focus, neutron sources, radiation sources.

Ph.D., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011

B.S., Physics, University of California/Berkeley, 2004

A. Schmidt, C. Goyon, A. Link, C. Cooper, E. Anaya, M. Anderson, G. Bartolo, P.C. Campbell, S. Chapman, D. Max, M. McMahon, Y. Podpaly, and A. Povilus. “Measuring characteristic differences between high- and low-performing discharges on the MegaJOuLe Neutron Imaging Radiography (MJOLNIR) DPF.” Physics of Plasmas, v 29 (2022); 062708.

A. Schmidt, E. Anaya, M. Anderson, J. Angus, S. Chapman, C. Cooper, O. Drury, C. Goyon, S. Hawkins D. P. Higginson, I. Holod, E. Koh, A. Link, D. Max, M. McMahon, J. Mitrani, Y. Podpaly, A. Povilus, D. Van Lue. “First Experiments and Radiographs on the MegaJOuLe Neutron Imaging Radiography (MJOLNIR) Dense Plasma Focus.” IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, v 49 (2021); 3299.

J. Angus, A. Link, A. Schmidt. “1D kinetic study of pinch formation in a dense plasma focus: Transition from collisional to collisionless regimes.” Accepted to Physics of Plasmas, December 2020.

J. Angus, A. Link, A. Schmidt. “One-dimensional theory and simulations of the dynamic Z-pinch.” Physics of Plasmas, v 27 (2020); 012108.

J. Mitrani, D. Higginson, Z. Draper, J. Morrell, L. Bernstein, E. Claveau, C. Cooper, E. Forbes, R. Golingo, B. Nelson, A. Schmidt, A. Stepanov, T. Weber, Y. Zhang, H. McLean, U. Shumlak. “Measurements of temporally- and spatially-resolved neutron production in a sheared-flow stabilized Z-pinch.” Nuclear Instruments and Methods A, v 947, (2019); 162764.

D.P. Higginson, A. Link, A. Schmidt. “A pairwise nuclear fusion algorithm for weighted particle-in-cell plasma simulations.” Journal of Computational Physics, v 388 (2019); 439.

K. Tummel, D. Higginson, A. Link, A. Schmidt, H. McLean, D. Offermann, D. Welch, R. Clark, U. Shumlak, B. Nelson, and R. Golingo. “Kinetic Simulations of Sheared Flow Stabilization in High-Temperature Z-pinch Plasmas.” Physics of Plasmas, v 26 (2019); 062506.

S. Jiang, D. Higginson, A. Link, I. Holod, A. Schmidt. “Effect of polarity on beam and plasma target formation in a dense plasma focus.” Physics of Plasmas, v 26 (2019); 042702.

A. Badruzzaman, A. Schmidt, A. Antolak. “Neutron Generators as Alternatives to Am-Be Sources in Well Logging: An Assessment of Fundamentals.” Petrophysics, v 60 (2019); 136-170.

B. Shaw, S. Chapman, C. Cooper, C. Goyon, J. Angus, A. Link, D. Higginson, J. Liu, J. Mitrani, Y. Podpaly, A. Povilus, A. Schmidt. “Maximizing neutron yields by scaling hollow diameter of a dense plasma focus anode.” Journal of Applied Physics, v 124 (2018); 233301.

D.T. Offermann, D.R. Welch, D.V. Rose, C. Thoma, R.E. Clark, C.B. Mostrom, A. Schmidt, A. Link. “Transition from Beam-Target to Thermonuclear Fusion in High-Current Deuterium Z-Pinch Simulations.” Physical Review Letters, v 116 (2016); 195001.

M.J. May, G.V. Brown, C. Halvorson, A. Schmidt, D. Bower, B. Tran, P. Lewis, C. Hagen. “Gamma ray measurements with photoconductive detectors using a dense plasma focus.” Review of Scientific Instruments, v 85 (2014): 11E117.

A. Schmidt, A. Link, D. Welch, T. Meehan, V. Tang, C. Halvorson, M. May, E.C. Hagen. “Fully Kinetic Simulations of MegaJoule-Scale Dense Plasma Focus.” Physics of Plasmas, v 21 (2014): 102703.

A. Schmidt, A. Link, D. Welch, V. Tang, J. Ellsworth, S. Falabella. “Comparisons of Dense Plasma Focus Kinetic Simulations with Experimental Measurements.” Physical Review E, v 89 (2014): 061101.

J. Ellsworth, S. Falabella, V. Tang, A. Schmidt, G. Guethlein, S. Hawkins, B. Rusnak. “Design and Initial Results from a Kilojoule Level Dense Plasma Focus with Hollow Anode and Cylindrically Symmetric Gas Puff.” Review of Scientific Instruments, v 85 (2014):013504.

A. Schmidt, V. Tang, D. Welch. “Fully Kinetic Simulations of Dense Plasma Focus Z-Pinch Devices.” Physical Review Letters, v 109 (2012): 205003.

S. Shiraiwa, J. Ko, O. Meneghini, R. Parker, A. Schmidt, S. Scott, M. Greenwald, A. Hubbard, J. Hughes, Y. Ma, Y. Podpaly, J. Rice, G. Wallace, J. Wilson, S. Wolfe, Alcator C-Mod Team. “Full wave effects on the lower hybrid wave spectrum and driven current profile in tokamak plasmas.” Physics of Plasmas, v 18 (2011); 080705.

O. Meneghini, S. Shiraiwa, I. Faust, R. Parker, A. Schmidt, G. Wallace. “Fullwave Simulations of Lower Hybrid Waves Coupled to 3D Fokker-Planck Solver: Comparison with Alcator C-Mod Experiment.” Fusion Science and Technology, v 60 (2011); 40.

G. Wallace, A. Hubbard, P. Bonoli, I. Faust, R. Harvey, J. Hughes, B. LaBombard, O. Meneghini, R. Parker, A. Schmidt, S. Shiraiwa, A. Smirnov, D. Whyte, J. Wilson, J. Wright, S. Wukitch, Alcator C-Mod Team. “Lower hybrid current drive at high density in Alcator C-Mod.” Nuclear Fusion, v 51 (2011); 083032.

A. Schmidt et al. “Investigation of LH Physics Through Power Modulation Experiments on C-Mod.” Physics of Plasmas, v 18 (2011): 056122.

G. Wallace, R. Parker, P. Bonoli, A. Hubbard, J. Hughes, B. LaBombard, O. Meneghini, A. Schmidt, S. Shiraiwa, D. Whyte, J. Wright, S. Wukitch, R. Harvey, A. Smirnov, J. Wilson. “Absorption of lower hybrid waves in the scrape off layer of a diverted tokamak.” Physics of Plasmas, v 17 (2010); 082508.

J. Wright, P. Bonoli, A. Schmidt, C. Phillips, E. Valeo, R. Harvey, M. Brambilla. “An assessment of full wave effects on the propagation and absorption of lower hybrid waves.” Physics of Plasmas, v 15 (2009); 072502.

J. Snipes, R. Parker, P. Phillips, A. Schmidt, G. Wallace. “Fast electron driven Alfvén eigenmodes in the current rise in Alcator C-MOD.” Nuclear Fusion, v 48 (2008); 072001.

P. Bonoli, J. Ko, R. Parker, A. Schmidt, G. Wallace, J. Wright, C. Fiore, A. Hubbard, J. Irby, E. Marmar, M. Porkolab, D. Terry, S. Wolfe, S. Wukitch, Alcator C-Mod Team, J. Wilson, S. Scott, C. Phillips, and R. Harvey. “Lower hybrid current drive experiments on Alcator C-Mod: Comparison with theory and simulation.” Physics of Plasmas, v 15 (2008); 056117.

J. Fajans and A. Schmidt. “Malmberg–Penning and Minimum-B trap compatibility: the advantages of higher-order multipole traps.” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics A, v 521 (2004); 318.




Y. Podpaly, J. Hall, A. Povilus, A. Schmidt, D. Yang. (2024) “System and Method For Fissionable Material Detection with a Short Pulse Neutron Source.” U.S. Patent No. 11,867,866.

A. Schmidt, M. Aufderheide, D. Fittinghoff, J. Hall, Y. Podpaly. (2022) “Time-gated Fast Neutron Transmission Radiography System and Method.” U.S. Patent No. 11,428,831.

  • Defense Programs Award of Excellence, NA-10, 2022

  • Department of Energy Early Career Award, DoE Office of Science, 2021

  • Defense Programs Award of Excellence, NA-10, 2020

  • Early and Mid-Career Award, LLNL, 2020

  • Ellen Weaver Award, 2020, Association of Women in Science NorCal chapter, 2020

  • WCI Bronze Award, LLNL, 2020

  • Global Security Gold Award, LLNL, 2016

  • Global Security Gold Award, LLNL, 2014

  • Global Security Silver Award, LLNL, 2013

  • Laya Wiesner Community Award, MIT, 2007

  • Physics Departmental Citation, UC Berkeley, 2004