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NIF Uses PerkinElmer Flashlamps

Photonics.com
Jun 2005
MUNICH, Germany, June 17 -- The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) program is using PerkinElmer Optoelectronics' pulsed xenon flashlamps in the pre-amplifier module section of what will be the world's largest laser to advance fundamental nuclear research.

Using PerkinElmer's flashlamps, an NIF laser pre-amplifier module, or PAM, has successfully produced shaped pulses and injected them into the main laser system. Output from the NIF laser enables scientists to carry out research into nuclear fusion, future energy sources and fundamental science. For example, a pulse of laser light from the NIF will enable scientists to simulate temperatures and pressures similar to those at the center of our sun.

PerkinElmer Optoelectronics designs and manufactures the flashlamps for use inside the laser's PAM amplifier head. The PAM amplifier head is custom designed in a collaboration between the LLNL and Continuum, a Santa Clara, Calif., maker of flashlamp pumped solid state Nd:YAG lasers, OPOs (optical parametric oscillators), dye lasers and custom laser systems.

The NIF laser project has 48 PAMs that amplify the master oscillator pulse 1,000,000 times. Each uses 12 PerkinElmer pulsed xenon flashlamps, which pump a total of 25,000 joules of broadband optical energy into the amplifier's Nd:YAG crystal with each pulse. Each PAM first amplifies the early NIF laser pulse by a factor of about one million times, then the pulse is boosted again by a four-pass amplification process for maximum laser output.

When completed in 2008, the NIF will dwarf many times over any laser to date and will provide a platform for many experiments in high-energy and high-density physics, from learning more about the planets and stars to advancing the elusive hunt for fusion energy to generate electric power.

For more information, visit: www.optoelectronics.perkinelmer.com



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