2011 Status of the Automatic Alignment System for the National Ignition Facility

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Automated alignment for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is accomplished using a large-scale parallel control system that directs 192 laser beams along the 300-m optical path. The beams are then focused down to a 50-micron spot in the middle of the target chamber. The entire process is completed in less than 50 minutes. The alignment system commands 9,000 stepping motors for highly accurate adjustment of mirrors and other optics. 41 control loops per beamline perform parallel processing services running on a LINUX cluster to analyze high-resolution images of the beams and their references. This paper describes the status the NIF ... continued below

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Wilhelmsen, K.; Awwal, A.; Burkhart, S.; McGuigan, D.; Kamm, V. M.; Leach, R. et al. July 19, 2011.

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Automated alignment for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is accomplished using a large-scale parallel control system that directs 192 laser beams along the 300-m optical path. The beams are then focused down to a 50-micron spot in the middle of the target chamber. The entire process is completed in less than 50 minutes. The alignment system commands 9,000 stepping motors for highly accurate adjustment of mirrors and other optics. 41 control loops per beamline perform parallel processing services running on a LINUX cluster to analyze high-resolution images of the beams and their references. This paper describes the status the NIF automatic alignment system and the challenges encountered as NIF development has transitioned from building the laser, to becoming a research project supporting a 24 hour, 7 day laser facility. NIF is now a continuously operated system where performance monitoring is increasingly more critical for operation, maintenance, and commissioning tasks. Equipment wear and the effects of high energy neutrons from fusion experiments are issues which alter alignment efficiency and accuracy. New sensors needing automatic alignment assistance are common. System modifications to improve efficiency and accuracy are prevalent. Handling these evolving alignment and maintenance needs while minimizing the impact on NIF experiment schedule is expected to be an on-going challenge for the planned 30 year operational life of NIF.

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  • Presented at: IAEA 8th Technical Meeting, San Francisco, CA, United States, Jun 20 - Jun 24, 2011

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  • Report No.: LLNL-CONF-491497
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1022928
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc846208

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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.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • July 19, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 2:08 p.m.

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Wilhelmsen, K.; Awwal, A.; Burkhart, S.; McGuigan, D.; Kamm, V. M.; Leach, R. et al. 2011 Status of the Automatic Alignment System for the National Ignition Facility, article, July 19, 2011; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc846208/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.