Inside: Controlling the Sun's Center


T he coliseum-sized National Ignition Facility (Livermore, Calif.) uses an astounding array of controls and software technologies. This cutaway diagram illustrates the fusion project's size and complexity. (For more information about the project see CE , Nov. '99, p. 51 , or go to .)

It shows two laser bays, switchyards (for turning 192 laser beams with motorized mirrors to evenly illuminate the fusion fuel capsule), and target chamber (right center). The class 100 optics assembly building (upper right) and target diagnostics building (lower left) both attach to the main building.

Automated guided vehicles will transport ultra-clean precision optical modules from the assembly stations to be inserted into the laser. At the target and switchyard areas, the building is seven stories high and three stories deep.

This diagram and photos in the related article were used with permission from University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Their attorneys say neither LLNL nor the U.S. Government makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, or process disclosed in this article.


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