Off-line conditioning of full-size optics for the National Ignition Facility required a beam delivery system to allow conditioning lasers to rapidly raster scan samples while achieving several technical goals. The main purpose of the optical system designed was to reconstruct at the sample plane the flat beam profile found at the laser aperture with significant reductions in beam wander to improve scan times. Another design goal was the ability to vary the beam size at the sample to scan at different fluences while utilizing all of the laser power and minimizing processing time.
An optical solution was developed using commercial off-the-shelf lenses. The system incorporates a six meter relay telescope and two sets of focusing optics. The spacing of the focusing optics is changed to allow the fluence on the sample to vary from 2 to 14 Joules per square centimeter in discrete steps. More importantly, these optics use the special properties of image relaying to image the aperture plane onto the sample to form a pupil relay with a beam profile corresponding almost exactly to the flat profile found at the aperture. A flat beam profile speeds scanning by providing a uniform intensity across a larger area on the sample. The relayed pupil plane is more stable with regards to jitter and beam wander. Image relaying also reduces other perturbations from diffraction, scatter, and focus conditions. Image relaying, laser conditioning, and the optical system designed to accomplish the stated goals are discussed.