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Orion laser facility

Orion is one of the most powerful lasers and largest laser facilities in the UK.

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Target fabrication

Target Fabrication supports high energy density plasma physics (HEDP) experiments, undertaken in laser facilities including Orion, by producing specially designed targets designed in collaboration with the experimental physicists.

The targets are manufactured and characterised by the Target Fabrication team based around the experimental requirements for a specific campaign. To do this Target Fabrication draws together staff from within AWE and collaborates with university departments in the UK and with the equivalent teams at the DoE National Laboratories in the US.

Target Fabrication also supplies targets for use with US lasers including OMEGA at the University of Rochester and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at LLNL.

A typical design of target for Orion is no greater then a couple of millimetres in size, and often comprises layers of material 200 nanometres thick or less. The materials used in the construction of a target can vary from simple rolled metal foil to very thin single crystal diamond. They can also include unusual materials such as metal foams or silica aerogels. Due to size and material composition, both the components and the assembled targets can be extremely fragile and difficult to work with.

 

target fab 2

 

 

 

A minute train (smaller than the eye of a needle) designed & fabricated by Target Fabrication to demonstrate their capabilities.

 

 

 Target fabrication group capabilities

In order to meet the demands placed upon Target Fabrication, a range of specialised capabilities and techniques have been, and continue to be, developed. This includes developing techniques to make new materials, micro-machining of individual components, assembly methods for complex structures and characterisation techniques.

Capabilities and equipment available include:

  • High temperature critical point dryer (for the production of aerogels)
  • Diamond turning lathe (micro-component fabrication)
  • 5-axis precision CNC KERN milling machine
  • 3D X-ray tomography (characterisation of complex structures)
  • Scanning Electron Microscope with Electron Back-Scatter Diffraction (EBSD) detector
  • Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coater for coating very thin layers of materials
  • Clean room for Target Assembly