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The Mercury Project: A High Average Power, Gas-Cooled Laser for Inertial Fusion Energy Development

A. Bayramian, P. Armstrong, E. Ault, R. Beach, C. Bibeau, J. Caird, R. Campbell, B. Chai, J. Dawson, C. Ebbers, A. Erlandson, Y. Fei, B. Freitas, R. Kent, Z. Liao, T. Ladran, J. Menapace, B. Molander, S. Payne, N. Peterson, M. Randles, K. Schaffers, S. Sutton, J. Tassano, S. Telford, E. Utterback

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 52 / Number 3 / October 2007 / Pages 383-387

Technical Paper / The Technology of Fusion Energy - Experimental Devices and Advanced Designs /

Hundred-joule, kilowatt-class lasers based on diode-pumped solid-state technologies, are being developed worldwide for laser-plasma interactions and as prototypes for fusion energy drivers. The goal of the Mercury Laser Project is to develop key technologies within an architectural framework that demonstrates basic building blocks for scaling to larger multi-kilojoule systems for inertial fusion energy (IFE) applications. Mercury has requirements that include: scalability to IFE beamlines, 10 Hz repetition rate, high efficiency, and 109 shot reliability. The Mercury laser has operated continuously for several hours at 55 J and 10 Hz with fourteen 4 × 6 cm2 ytterbium doped strontium fluoroapatite amplifier slabs pumped by eight 100 kW diode arrays. A portion of the output 1047 nm was converted to 523 nm at 160 W average power with 73 % conversion efficiency using yttrium calcium oxy-borate (YCOB).

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