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  • Zygo to Develop NIF Substrates
Jul 2004
MIDDLEFIELD, Conn., July 15 -- Zygo Corp., a supplier of optical metrology intruments, precision optics and electro-optical design and manufacturing services, announced it has received an order from the University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to develop improved manufacturing technologies and pilot plant equipment required for fabricating thin fused silica optics for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser, including diffractive optic plates and debris shields. Diffractive optic plates are used to help characterize the power and energy of the laser beam, and debris shields are used to protect the 192 final focus lenses from target chamber debris and contamination.

"To preclude damage from NIF's powerful laser beam, thin-fused silica optics located in the final optics assembly must have fabricated surfaces that are essentially flawless," said Sol F. Laufer, Zygo's vice president of optics. "This requires the development of new and improved fabrication and testing techniques, as well as equipment to accomplish thin fused silica optics fabrication cost-effectively."

NIF, currently under construction at LLNL under funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Agency, is designed to produce 1.8-million joules of laser energy and a design fusion yield of 20-million joules. Experiments performed on NIF will be essential to DOE's Stockpile Stewardship Program to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile. NIF will also have basic science applications in such areas as astrophysics, hydrodynamics and material properties, and is expected to provide insight into the viability of fusion as a future economic energy source.

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The science of measurement, particularly of lengths and angles.
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