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Title: 2013 R&D 100 Award: 'SHIELD' protects NIF optics from harmful pulses

In the past, it took as long as 12 hours to manually screen 48 critical checkpoints at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) for harmful laser pulses. The screening equipment had to be moved from point to point throughout a facility the size of three football fields. Now with a new technology, called Laser SHIELD (Screening at High-throughput to Identify Energetic Laser Distortion), and with the push of a button, the screening can be done in less than one second. Proper screening of pulses is critical for the operation of high-energy lasers to ensure that the laser does not exceed safe operating conditions for optics. The energetic beams of light are so powerful that, when left uncontrolled, they can shatter the extremely valuable glass inside the laser. If a harmful pulse is found, immediate adjustments can be made in order to protect the optics for the facility. Laser SHIELD is a custom-designed high-throughput screening system built from low-cost and commercially available components found in the telecommunications industry. Its all-fiber design makes it amenable to the unique needs of high-energy laser facilities, including routing to intricate pick-off locations, immunity to electromagnetic interference and low-loss transport (up to several kilometers). The technology offersmore » several important benefits for NIF. First, the facility is able to fire more shots in less time-an efficiency that saves the facility millions of dollars each year. Second, high-energy lasers are more flexible to wavelength changes requested by target physicists. Third, by identifying harmful pulses before they damage the laser's optics, the facility potentially saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance costs each year.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1143631
Resource Type:
Other
Research Org:
LLNL (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION NIF; NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITY; LASER; OPTICS; FUSION; ENGINEERING; PROGRAMNG; SHIELD; SCREENING