Plasma electrode pockels cell for the National Ignition Facility

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The National Ignition Facility (NIF), now under construction at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will be the largest laser fusion facility ever built. The NIF laser architecture is based on a multi-pass power amplifier to reduce cost and maximize performance. A key component in this laser design is an optical switch that closes to trap the optical pulse in the cavity for four gain passes and then opens to divert the optical pulse out of the amplifier cavity. The switch is comprised of a Pockels cell and a polarizer and is unique because it handles a beam that is 40 cm ... continued below

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Biltoft, P; Fochs, S & Rhodes, M A June 30, 1998.

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The National Ignition Facility (NIF), now under construction at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will be the largest laser fusion facility ever built. The NIF laser architecture is based on a multi-pass power amplifier to reduce cost and maximize performance. A key component in this laser design is an optical switch that closes to trap the optical pulse in the cavity for four gain passes and then opens to divert the optical pulse out of the amplifier cavity. The switch is comprised of a Pockels cell and a polarizer and is unique because it handles a beam that is 40 cm x 40 cm square and allows close horizontal and vertical beam spacing. Conventional Pockels cells do not scale to such large apertures or the square shape required for close packing. Our switch is based on a Plasma-Electrode Pockels Cell (PEPC). In a PEPC, low-pressure helium discharges (l-2 kA) are formed on both sides of a thin slab of electro-optic material. Typically, we use KH2P04 crystals (KDP). The discharges form highly conductive, transparent sheets that allow uniform application of a high-voltage pulse (17 kV) across the crystal. A 37 cm x 37 cm PEPC has been in routine operation for two years on the 6 W Beamlet laser at LLNL. For the NIF, a module four apertures high by one wide (4x1) is required. However, this 4x1 mechanical module will be comprised electrically of a pair of 2x1 sub-modules. Last year (FY 97), we demonstrated full operation of a prototype 2x I PEPC. In this PEPC, the plasma spans two KDP crystals. A major advance in the 2x1 PEPC ovel the Beamlet PEPC is the use of anodized aluminum construction that still provides sufficient insulation to allow formation of the planar plasmas. In this paper, we discuss full 4x1 NIF prototypes.

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  • 1998 American Nuclear Society Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, June 7-11, 1998

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  • Other: DE00003010
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC-131208
  • Grant Number: W-7405-Eng-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 3010
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc687429

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • June 30, 1998

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • May 6, 2016, 11:22 p.m.

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Biltoft, P; Fochs, S & Rhodes, M A. Plasma electrode pockels cell for the National Ignition Facility, article, June 30, 1998; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc687429/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.