NIF and TMC Team Up Again. The National Ignition Facility has again chosen TMC for the projects next major phase, building the Preamplifier Module (PAM) optical tops and housings.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

PEABODY, Massachusetts,Peabody, Massachusetts Technical Manufacturing Corporation (TMC) has announced that it has received a second major design and build order from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for its National Ignition Facility (NIF) program. This order follows the overwhelming success of TMC’s delivery of more than 500 optical tops for an earlier phase of the NIF project.

The stadium-sized NIF is an inertial confinement fusion research facility whose primary mission is to help ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. It houses the world’s largest laser.

TMC will design and build a complex, 15-foot-long, “T”-shaped, coupled optical table system with an integrated stainless steel housing to control acoustic noise, drafts, dust, and electromagnetic interference. This optical table structure supports NIF’s Preamplifier Module (PAM) optics. The PAM has a total of 48 units that receive a “seed type” pulse from the Master Oscillator Room and perform certain amplifier functions. The 20-joule output from each PAM goes into ISP, a pulse-shaping function.

“Engineering a custom, integrated system to solve major technical problems for PAM was certainly a challenge,” said Ulf Heide, founder and President of TMC. “But we were confident that our technical expertise, precision manufacturing capabilities, and depth of product line could meet the demanding requirements of this second NIF project.”

n 2000, TMC received its first order from NIF – 504 eight-foot-long CleanTop® II optical tops to support the optics in the Preamplifier Beam Transport System (PABST). PABST splits the PAM beams into four equal beams, creating a total of 192 18-inch- diameter beams. These pulses then enter the Main Laser Bay where they undergo multiple pass amplifications in the slab laser amplifiers before passing on to the target chamber.

Five years ago, NIF was faced with an unprecedented requirement for quality, quantity, performance, cleanliness, low cost, and fast delivery for the PABST, said Steve Ryan, V.P., Marketing for TMC. “It chose TMC to produce the largest single order of optical tops ever successfully completed. When faced with a similarly daunting challenge for PAM, NIF again chose TMC.”

NIF is only facility that can achieve fusion ignition and thermonuclear burn in the laboratory. Its 192 giant laser beams focus onto a target the size of a cold capsule, producing temperatures and densities like those in the Sun or an exploding nuclear weapon. Experiments conducted will advance basic understanding in areas such as materials science and astrophysics.

TMC designs and manufactures sophisticated vibration isolation and control products for manufacturing processes and research applications worldwide, including semiconductor manufacturing, microbiology, optics, metrology, and numerous academic, industrial, and military research projects.

Steve Ryan
Technical Manufacturing Corp.