Applied Physics B

, 123:42 | Cite as

A >2-MJ, 1014-W laser system for DT fusion—NIF: a note in celebration of the 75th birthday of Prof. Theodore Haensch

  • John F. HolzrichterEmail author
  • Kenneth R. Manes
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. “Enlightening the World with the Laser” - Honoring T. W. Hänsch


In 1970, Dr. Theodore Haensch joined A.L. Schawlow’s group in the physics department at Stanford, as a NATO postdoctoral researcher. Within a short time, he and his colleagues had invented a new, high-resolution, tunable laser system using expanded reflection gratings and an N2 laser for pumping the fluorescing dyes. This work resulted in a high-brightness, high-repetition-rate, narrow-band laser probe for conducting optical spectroscopy at extreme levels of precision. Dr. Haensch, and his many colleagues, particularly Prof. Arthur Schawlow and their students at Stanford, then proceeded to revolutionize optical spectroscopy and to train several generations of exceptional young scientists. At the same time, the Siegman, Harris, and Byer laboratories also at Stanford were making major contributions to the laser and quantum electronics fields. Several students from both groups joined the Livermore Laboratory. That early work, and that of others, encouraged teams at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to design and build a series of increasing complicated, high-power multi-beam laser systems to investigate the potential of laser fusion. The National Ignition Facility, recently completed, is enabling investigations of matter at very high temperatures, T > 1 million K and densities 100-1000× normal. In addition, researchers are creating 1015 DT fusion neutrons per fusion experiment and generating new knowledge about unusual and important conditions of matter.


Master Oscillator National Ignition Facility Laser Design Laser Emission Line Hughes Research Laboratory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The staff of the Laser program at Livermore and our colleagues around the world have been working to develop these systems since the early 1960s. The lasers described herein could not have been contemplated without their creativity and enormous dedication. At Livermore, John Emmett, Carl Haussman (deceased), and John Nuckolls deserve a great deal of credit for creating and building the Livermore inertial fusion program in 1971, to today’s level of performance. Thanks also to the Livermore teams who explored early target concepts and started experiments in the 1960s [1]. Dr. Edward Moses and his team, led by Ralph Patterson, managed the NIF construction project to its completion in 2009.

This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. The document submitted for publication is LLNL-JRNL-701399.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA

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