Semiconductor Laser Diode Pumps for Inertial Fusion Energy Lasers

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Solid-state lasers have been demonstrated as attractive drivers for inertial confinement fusion on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and at the Omega Facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) in Rochester, NY. For power plant applications, these lasers must be pumped by semiconductor diode lasers to achieve the required laser system efficiency, repetition rate, and lifetime. Inertial fusion energy (IFE) power plants will require approximately 40-to-80 GW of peak pump power, and must operate efficiently and with high system availability for decades. These considerations lead to requirements on the efficiency, price, and production ... continued below

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Deri, R J January 3, 2011.

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Solid-state lasers have been demonstrated as attractive drivers for inertial confinement fusion on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and at the Omega Facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) in Rochester, NY. For power plant applications, these lasers must be pumped by semiconductor diode lasers to achieve the required laser system efficiency, repetition rate, and lifetime. Inertial fusion energy (IFE) power plants will require approximately 40-to-80 GW of peak pump power, and must operate efficiently and with high system availability for decades. These considerations lead to requirements on the efficiency, price, and production capacity of the semiconductor pump sources. This document provides a brief summary of these requirements, and how they can be met by a natural evolution of the current semiconductor laser industry. The detailed technical requirements described in this document flow down from a laser ampl9ifier design described elsewhere. In brief, laser amplifiers comprising multiple Nd:glass gain slabs are face-pumped by two planar diode arrays, each delivering 30 to 40 MW of peak power at 872 nm during a {approx} 200 {micro}s quasi-CW (QCW) pulse with a repetition rate in the range of 10 to 20 Hz. The baseline design of the diode array employs a 2D mosaic of submodules to facilitate manufacturing. As a baseline, they envision that each submodule is an array of vertically stacked, 1 cm wide, edge-emitting diode bars, an industry standard form factor. These stacks are mounted on a common backplane providing cooling and current drive. Stacks are conductively cooled to the backplane, to minimize both diode package cost and the number of fluid interconnects for improved reliability. While the baseline assessment in this document is based on edge-emitting devices, the amplifier design does not preclude future use of surface emitting diodes, which may offer appreciable future cost reductions and increased reliability. The high-level requirements on the semiconductor lasers involve reliability, price points on a price-per-Watt basis, and a set of technical requirements. The technical requirements for the amplifier design in reference 1 are discussed in detail and are summarized in Table 1. These values are still subject to changes as the overall laser system continues to be optimized. Since pump costs can be a significant fraction of the overall laser system cost, it is important to achieve sufficiently low price points for these components. At this time, the price target for tenth-of-akind IFE plant is $0.007/Watt for packaged devices. At this target level, the pumps account for approximately one third of the laser cost. The pump lasers should last for the life of the power plant, leading to a target component lifetime requirement of roughly 14 Ghosts, corresponding to a 30 year plant life and 15 Hz repetition rate. An attractive path forward involes pump operation at high output power levels, on a Watts-per-bar (Watts/chip) basis. This reduces the cost of pump power (price-per-Watt), since to first order the unit price does not increase with power/bar. The industry has seen a continual improvement in power output, with current 1 cm-wide bars emitting up to 500 W QCW (quasi-continuous wave). Increased power/bar also facilitates achieving high irradiance in the array plane. On the other hand, increased power implies greater heat loads and (possibly) higher current drive, which will require increased attention to thermal management and parasitic series resistance. Diode chips containing multiple p-n junctions and quantum wells (also called nanostack structures) may provide an additional approach to reduce the peak current.

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PDF-file: 9 pages; size: 0.8 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: LLNL-TR-465931
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/1018822 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1018822
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc829901

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  • January 3, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 1, 2016, 7:34 p.m.

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Deri, R J. Semiconductor Laser Diode Pumps for Inertial Fusion Energy Lasers, report, January 3, 2011; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc829901/: accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.