LIVERMORE, Calif., April 13 -- A major laser glass milestone has been achieved by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) and its glass vendors. Duryea, Penn.-based Schott Glass Technologies has successfully demonstrated a process to ensure continuous production of the economical, high-optical quality, neodymium-doped, phosphate laser glass needed for the NIF. Schott is one of two laser glass vendors working on the process; the second, Hoya Corp. of Fremont, Calif., plans to begin similar glass melting operations early next month.To date, Schott has produced more than 250 of the roughly meter-sized glass slabs required under the NIF's demanding optical specifications. The glass has been produced at a rate 20 times faster than could be achieved using the existing one-slab-at-a-time batch melting technology, the company said. This is truly a significant achievement, said Ed Moses, NIF project manager. Obtaining quality glass was one of the top technological and manufacturing issues our project faced. This achievement demonstrates that NIF's remaining technical challenges are rapidly being solved.