28 May 2004 Phosphate laser glass for NIF: production status, slab selection, and recent technical advances
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The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a stadium-sized high-energy (1.8 megajoule) / high-peak power (500 terawatt) laser system, which will utilize over 3000 meter-size Nd-doped metaphosphate glasses as its gain media. The current production status, the selection criteria of individual slabs for specific beam line locations, and some recent technical advances are reviewed. The glass blanks are manufactured by a novel continuous glass melting process, and the finished slabs are then prepared by epoxy bonding a Cu-doped phosphate glass edge cladding and by advanced finishing techniques. To date, nearly 3400 slab equivalents have been melted, 2600 have been rough-cut to blanks, 1200 have been finished, and 144 have been installed in NIF. A set of selection rules, which are designed to optimize laser performance (e.g., maintain gain balance between beam lines and minimize beam walkoff) and to maximize glass lifetime with respect to Pt damage site growth, have been established for assigning individual slabs to specific beam line locations. Recent technical advances for amplifier slab production, which include: 1) minimizing surface pitting (hazing) after final finishing; 2) minimizing humidity-induced surface degradation (weathering) upon storage and use; and 3) preventing mounting-induced surface fractures upon installation, have contributed in improving the laser glass quality.
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Tayyab I. Suratwala, Tayyab I. Suratwala, John H. Campbell, John H. Campbell, Philip E. Miller, Philip E. Miller, Charles B. Thorsness, Charles B. Thorsness, Michael O. Riley, Michael O. Riley, Paul R. Ehrmann, Paul R. Ehrmann, Rusty A. Steele, Rusty A. Steele, "Phosphate laser glass for NIF: production status, slab selection, and recent technical advances", Proc. SPIE 5341, Optical Engineering at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory II: The National Ignition Facility, (28 May 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.539689; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.539689

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