Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA
50 Years of Laser Development Leading to NIF Breakthrough
Meeting the stiff scientific and engineering challenges leading to the NIF laser ignition driver took five generations of hardware and multiple generations of personnel. We follow these challenges and their solutions from 1970 to the present.
About the Speaker
Mary Spaeth and Ken Manes both joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in 1972. After receiving her MS at Wayne State University in Detroit in 1962, Mary spent the following 10 years at Hughes Aircraft Company honing her skills as a physicist and systems engineer. While at Hughes she imagined and then demonstrated the original tunable dye laser. Ken received his PhD at Stanford in 1970, followed by two years as a Lecturer, teaching Electrodynamics at the University of Alberta. At LLNL, Mary became the leader of laser development for the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) Program, deploying plant-scale lasers that ran around-the-clock for 10 years. At LLNL, Ken immediately became immersed in the development of ICF lasers. In 1999, Mary became the lead systems engineer for NIF. Also in 1999, they joined forces to help complete NIF as it moved through its final steps for fabrication, Installation, commissioning and operation.