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Lessons from Building Laser-Driven Fusion Ignition Targets with the Precision Robotic Assembly Machine

R. C. Montesanti, E. T. Alger, L. J. Atherton, S. D. Bhandarkar, C. Castro, E. G. Dzenitis, G. J. Edwards, A. V. Hamza, J. L. Klingmann, D. M. Lord, A. Nikroo, T. G. Parham, J. L. Reynolds, R. M. Seugling, M. Stadermann, M. F. Swisher, J. S. Taylor, P. J. Wegner

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 59 / Number 1 / January 2011 / Pages 70-77


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The Precision Robotic Assembly Machine was developed to manufacture the small and intricate laser-driven fusion ignition targets that are being used in the National Ignition Facility. The machine enables one person to assemble a high-quality precision target in 1 day with repeatable quality. The target assembly technician provides top-level control of the machine, initiating and controlling the movement of the motorized precision instruments. Hand movements are scaled to precision at the 100-nm level. Sensors embedded in the manipulator system provide 100-mg resolution force and gram-millimeter resolution torque feedback of the contact loads between delicate components being assembled with micrometer-level or no clearance. Combining precision motion control with force and torque feedback provides active compliance for assembling tightly fitting or snap-together components. The machine provides simultaneous manipulation of five objects in a 1-cm3 operating arena and can stitch together multiple millimeter-scale operating arenas over distances spanning tens of centimeters with micrometer-level accuracy. Technology developed with the machine has been migrated to other machines used to assemble fusion targets.

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