BLACKWOOD, N.J., Feb. 28, 2006 -- Adaptive Optics Associates Inc., a maker of electro-optic and optomechanical products, has received $6.8 million in additional funding from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for sensor packages and light source launchers used in the National Ignition Facility construction project.
Since 2001, Adaptive Optics Associates (AOA), a subsidiary of optical solutions and image processing software provider Metrologic Instruments Inc., has been working with LLNL to provide precision optomechanical assemblies in support of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) project. Previous purchase orders totalling $13 million included multiyear production contracts for output and input sensor packages, including diagnostics for NIF's main laser power, energy and wavefront quality and light source launchers. The additional $6.8 million is for delivery of 16 input sensor packages, 196 light source launchers and 18 output sensor packages. Most of the items are to be delivered by the end of 2006, with some slated for the first quarter of 2007. Additional subcontracts which may be awarded through the third quarter of 2007 could push the contract's overall value to $17.3 million.
The National Ignition Facility building complex, which spans the length of two football fields and houses 192 laser beams in two bays of precision-aligned and environmentally controlled conditions. This aerial photograph of the NIF facility has been combined with a computer-generated model revealing one of the laser bays. (Image: NIF/LLNL)
NIF houses the world's largest laser system, consisting of 192 laser beams that will deliver 1.8 megajoules of ultraviolet light to targets located at the center of its 10-meter-diameter target chamber. NIF experiments will allow scientists to create conditions of extreme temperature and pressure in materials similar to those that occur naturally in the centers of planets, stars and nuclear weapons.
NIF's lasers can also be used to compress and heat BB-sized capsules of hydrogen fusion fuel that will create thermonuclear ignition and energy gain, an important step on the path towards limitless energy production. NIF is the world's most energetic laser and has already delivered record-setting energies in the infrared, green and ultraviolet laser beams. When NIF is completed, it is expected to be able to create, for a billionth of a second, nearly 1000 times the electric generating power of the entire US.
Built to support the nation's Stockpile Stewardship Program, the facility will also aid basic science and fusion energy research. When completed in 2008, NIF will have over 33,000 sq. ft. of precision optics with more than 26,000 small optics components. Under the management of the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and the University of California, the project is a collaboration of government agencies, national laboratories, universities and industrial partners. For more information, visit: www.llnl.gov/nif