Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser system has set a new record, firing 2.15 megajoules (MJ) of energy to its target chamber – a 15 percent improvement over NIF’s design specification of 1.8 MJ, and more than 10 percent higher than the previous 1.9 MJ energy record set in March 2012.
This demonstration shot successfully meets a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Level 2 milestone for 2018. NIF, the world’s largest and most energetic laser, is funded by NNSA to serve as a critical research facility supporting the U.S science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP).
The purpose of this experiment was to demonstrate the highest energy NIF can safely deliver with its current optics and laser configuration. Increasing NIF’s energy limit will expand the parameter space for stewardship experiments and provide a significant boost to the pursuit of ignition – a key element of NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program.
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