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Optical Engineering

Alignment and wavefront control systems of the National Ignition Facility
Author(s): Richard A. Zacharias; Neil Reginald Beer; Erlan S. Bliss; Scott C. Burkhart; Simon J. Cohen; Steven B. Sutton; R. L. Van Atta; Scott E. Winters; Joseph Thaddeus Salmon; Milton R. Latta; Christopher J. Stolz; David C. Pigg; Timothy J. Arnold
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Paper Abstract

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a stadium-sized facility containing a 192-beam Nd glass laser. Its 1.053-µm output is frequency converted to produce 1.8-MJ, 500-TW pulses in the ultraviolet. Refer to the companion overview articles in this issue for more information. High-energy-density and inertial confinement fusion physics experiments require the ability to precisely align and focus pulses with single-beam energy up to 20 KJ and durations of a few nanoseconds onto millimeter-sized targets. NIF's alignment control system now regularly provides automatic alignment of the four commissioned beams prior to every NIF shot in approximately 45 min, and speed improvements are being implemented. NIF utilizes adaptive optics for wavefront control, which significantly improves the ability to tightly focus each laser beam onto a target. Multiple sources of both static and dynamic aberration are corrected. This article provides an overview of the NIF automatic alignment and wavefront control systems, and provides data to show that the facility is expected to meet its primary requirements to position beams on the target with an accuracy of 50-µm rms over the 192 beams and to focus the pulses into a 600-µm spot.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 December 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Opt. Eng. 43(12) doi: 10.1117/1.1815331
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 43, Issue 12
Show Author Affiliations
Richard A. Zacharias, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Neil Reginald Beer, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Erlan S. Bliss, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Scott C. Burkhart, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Simon J. Cohen, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Steven B. Sutton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
R. L. Van Atta, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Scott E. Winters, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Joseph Thaddeus Salmon, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Milton R. Latta, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Christopher J. Stolz, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
David C. Pigg, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Timothy J. Arnold, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)


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