23 July 1999 Plasma electrode Pockels cell for the National Ignition Facility
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Proceedings Volume 3492, Third International Conference on Solid State Lasers for Application to Inertial Confinement Fusion; (1999) https://doi.org/10.1117/12.354225
Event: Third International Conference on Solid State Lasers for Application to Inertial Confinement Fusion, 1998, Monterey, CA, United States
Abstract
The NIF, now under construction at LLNL, 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 are formed on both sides of a thin slab of electro-optic material. Typically, we use KH2PO4 crystals (KDP). The discharges form highly conductive, transparent sheets that allow uniform application of a high-voltage pulse across the crystal. A 37 cm X 37 cm PEPC has been in routine operation for two years on the 6 kJ Beamlet laser at LLNL. For the NIF, a module four apertures high by one wide is required. However, this 4 X 1 mechanical module will be comprised electrically of a pair of 2 X 1 sub-modules. Last year, we demonstrated full operation of a prototype 2 X 1 PEPC. In this PEPC, the plasma spans two KDP crystals. A major advance in the 2 X 1 PEPC over 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 4 X 1 NIF prototypes.
© (1999) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Mark A. Rhodes, Mark A. Rhodes, Scott N. Fochs, Scott N. Fochs, Peter J. Biltoft, Peter J. Biltoft, Terry W. Alger, Terry W. Alger, Bill Funkhouser, Bill Funkhouser, Charles D. Boley, Charles D. Boley, } "Plasma electrode Pockels cell for the National Ignition Facility", Proc. SPIE 3492, Third International Conference on Solid State Lasers for Application to Inertial Confinement Fusion, (23 July 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.354225; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.354225
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