Lab Spotlight

LLNL’s Next-Generation NIF Optics Boost Energy and Limit Damage

Dept. of Energy

(Photo credit: Jason Laurea/LLNL)

A new anti-reflective coating and novel chemical process for laser optics developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers represents an important breakthrough in efforts to boost the energy of the National Ignition Facility's (NIF) 192 giant lasers and cut the cost of repairing or replacing damaged optics vital to operations. The coating was developed to overcome energy-robbing reflections and limit damage from the rear surface of the facility’s grating debris shields (GDSs). The colloidal silica particle coating was applied to the grating surface of the GDS. Particles were treated with a chemical modifying the surface, making them more immune to changes in humidity and other environmental factors.

LLNL’s defining responsibility is ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Livermore’s mission is broader than stockpile stewardship, as dangers ranging from nuclear proliferation and terrorism to energy shortages and climate change threaten national security and global stability. LLNL’s science and engineering are being applied to achieve breakthroughs for counterterrorism and nonproliferation, defense and intelligence, energy and environmental security.

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