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Congratulations to NIF on New Laser Energy Record

by Eric Rice

This article references a July 10, 2018 press release from LLNL.

Applied Motion Products congratulates Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and their National Ignition Facility (NIF) on the record level of energy they fired earlier this year. NIF successfully fired a record 2.15 megajoules (MJ) of energy into its target chamber, a 10 percent improvement over the previous NIF record set in 2012. What’s more, this new record is 15 percent higher than what was originally envisioned possible during NIF’s design.

NIF is the largest and most energetic laser facility in the world. Operational since 2009, NIF houses a giant laser that is focused on a variety of targets to create extreme states of matter, including temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius and pressures that exceed 100 billion times the Earth’s atmosphere. These amazing conditions allow NIF users and researchers to study fusion, the atomic reaction that occurs in only two other places in the universe, inside stars and inside nuclear weapons.

Within the NIF laser, 192 individual laser beams are conditioned, filtered, amplified, and focused onto a single fuel target that is roughly 2 mm in diameter. Focusing is done through a pair of ten-story switchyards, where an array of mirrors precisely redirects the individual laser beams to specific points at the top and bottom of the target. Positioning of the mirrors is accomplished in part by step motors from Applied Motion Products. The step motors chosen for this critical positioning task were selected through collaboration between researchers at NIF and the engineering team at Applied Motion Products.

NIF is dedicated to many important areas of scientific study including clean energy for the future and safeguarding our national stockpile of nuclear warheads. Read more about the important work being done at NIF here:

Applied Motion Products is proud to be a supplier of step motors and other precision motion control components to LLNL and NIF.

Images courtesy Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

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