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Proceedings Paper

Deployment, commissioning, and operation of plasma electrode Pockels cells in the National Ignition Facility
Author(s): Phillip A. Arnold; Craig W. Ollis; Andrew F. Hinz; Calvin L. Robb; Keith A. Primdahl; Jayson J. Watson; Michael D. O'Brien; William G. Funkhouser; Peter J. Biltoft; Randy T. Shelton; William C. Tapley; William J. DeHope
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Paper Abstract

Large aperture Plasma Electrode Pockels Cells (PEPCs) are an enabling technology in the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The Pockels cells allow the NIF laser to take advantage of multipass main amplifier architecture, thus reducing costs and physical size of the facility. Each Pockels cell comprises four 40-cm x 40-cm apertures arranged in a 4x1 array. The combination of the Pockels cell and a thin-film polarizer, also configured in a 4x1 array, forms an optical switch that is key to achieving the required multi-pass operation. The operation of the PEPC is a follows: Before the arrival of the laser pulse, optically transparent, low-density helium plasmas are initiated to serve as electrodes for the KDP crystals mounted in the Pockels cell. During beam propagation through the main laser cavity a longitudinal electric field is impressed on the electro-optic crystals. The polarization of the propagating beams is rotated by 90° on each of two passes, thereby allowing the beam to be trapped in the main laser amplifier cavity for a total of four passes before being switched out into the cavity spatial filter. The physics aspects of the PEPC are well documented. Consequently, this paper will emphasize the PEPC subsystem in the context of its role and relevance within the broader NIF laser system, provide a view of the complexity of the subsystem and give an overview of PEPC's interactions with other elements of NIF, including interfaces to the Beamline Infrastructure, the NIF Timing Subsystem, and the Integrated Computer Control System (ICCS); along with dependence on the Optics Production, Transport and Handling (T&H), and Assembly, Integration and Refurbishment (AIR) and Operations organizations. Further, we will discuss implementation details related to the functional blocks and individual components that comprise PEPC, with particular emphasis on the unique constraints placed on the elements and the attendant engineering solutions. Finally, we describe performance, fabrication and assembly requirements unique to PEPC and the various considerations necessary for successfully commissioning and operation of each PEPC unit. These considerations include, but are not limited to, materials choices, materials preparation and processing (especially cleanliness), inspection, pre- and post-assembly testing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5341, Optical Engineering at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory II: The National Ignition Facility, (28 May 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.538468
Show Author Affiliations
Phillip A. Arnold, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Craig W. Ollis, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Andrew F. Hinz, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Calvin L. Robb, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Keith A. Primdahl, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Jayson J. Watson, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Michael D. O'Brien, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
William G. Funkhouser, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Peter J. Biltoft, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Randy T. Shelton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
William C. Tapley, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
William J. DeHope, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5341:
Optical Engineering at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory II: The National Ignition Facility
Monya A. Lane; Craig R. Wuest, Editor(s)

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