Slideshow

Work completed on world's most powerful laser

Following US$35 billion in funding and a decade of work, engineers have finished the world’s largest laser, capable of emulating the sun’s energy – it’s enough to make Dr. Evil jealous.

  • A laser glass slab in a line replaceable unit (LRU) which is a large metal frame that holds various types of lenses, mirrors or glass that can be easily installed in a beamline or removed for maintenance. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • Deformable mirrors, located at the ends of the main amplifiers, use an array of 39 actuators to create a movable surface that corrects any inadequacies in a beam due to slight distortions in the optics. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • The target chamber interior. The service module carrying technicians can be seen on the left. The target positioner, which holds the target, is on the right. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • The NIF Control Room consists of 300 front-end processors attached to nearly 60,000 control points, including mirrors, lenses, motors, sensors, cameras, amplifiers, capacitors and diagnostic instruments. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • The target positioner locates a target in the chamber. The target is positioned with an accuracy of less than the thickness of a human hair. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • US National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California will get cracking on its huge physics experiment by focusing 192 giant laser beams on a small pellet of hydrogen fuel. The experiments expected to take place this year are designed for the US nuclear weapon Stockpile Stewardship Program, the study of high energy density physics and astrophysical phenomena, and to begin groundwork into fusion energy power production. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • The making of melted and rough-cut blanks of laser glass amplifier slabs, 3072 pieces were used in construction. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • NIF's final optics inspection system, when extended into the target chamber, can produce images of all 192 beamline final optics assemblies. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • Laser Bay 2, one of NIF's two laser bays. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • The 10-metre-diameter target chamber weighs approx 130,000 kilos. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

  • This artist's rendering shows a NIF target pellet inside a hohlraum capsule with laser beams entering through openings on either end. The beams compress and heat the target to the necessary conditions for nuclear fusion to occur. br> Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy

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