Two important milestones achieved by the NIF&PS and Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI) directorates' Target Fabrication Team and their key partnerships were celebrated on September 19, 2014.
Target Fabrication Manager Alex Hamza kicked off the celebration by announcing the first milestone: This summer, the team built the 10,000th target for the OMEGA Laser Facility at the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE).
"When I think about NIF, two things always come to my mind," said Jeff Wisoff, principal associate director for NIF&PS. "First is the incredible engineering that happens on a large scale and on a small scale. Of course, today we are celebrating the small scale with targets."
"But the other thing is the partnerships," he said. "The OMEGA facility has been an incredible partner and LLE is incredibly important to us. OMEGA has provided the testing ground for a lot of things we wanted to do on NIF. It's a very enabling capability, and our success in building targets for that facility is part of that great partnership."
The second milestone announced by Hamza was the completion of the 500th cryogenic target for NIF. This is an important achievement because these millimeter-sized targets are complicated engineering marvels in tiny packages—so complicated that targets were produced at a rate of one per year when the capability first got off the ground in 2005.
Design and fabrication is so complex because of the precision required for the targets to perform under the extreme conditions experienced during a NIF experiment—temperatures of 180 million degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of 100 billion atmospheres. Components must be machined to within an accuracy of one micron (one-millionth of a meter) and many material structures and features can be no larger than 100 nanometers—just 1/1,000th the width of a human hair.