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A Continuous, In-Chamber Target Tracking and Engagement Approach for Laser Fusion

Ron Petzoldt, Neil Alexander, Lane Carlson, Graham Flint, Dan Goodin, Jon Spalding, Mark Tillack

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 52 / Number 3 / October 2007 / Pages 454-458

Technical Paper / The Technology of Fusion Energy - Inertial Fusion Technology: Targets and Chambers /

Target engagement is the process of measuring the target trajectory and directing the driver beams to hit the target at a position that is predicted based on these measurements. New target engagement concepts have been proposed in the last few years to continuously track the targets and to verify that the tracking system is aligned with the driver beams for each shot.

For transverse position, a laser beam continuously backlights the target and the position of the Poisson spot in the center of the target's shadow is measured. Axial target displacement is measured using a laser interferometer and counting interference fringes as the target moves away from the laser source. Final steering corrections use a "glint" reflected off the target ~1 ms prior to firing the laser beams and collected in a separate Position Sensitive Detector (PSD) for each driver beamlet. The position of the glint on the PSD is compared to the position of an alignment beam that is collinear with the driver beam. Steering corrections are then made based on the difference in position of the two spots reaching the PSD.

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