Working closely with our colleagues in the Engineering Directorate and external partners, we conduct basic and applied research to support the fabrication of targets for the National Ignition Facility (NIF). These targets are complex, three-dimensional microassemblies with plastic, metal, and ceramic components that range in size from nanometers to millimeters. Our fabrication science emphasizes adhesives technology, thin-film science, cleaning and process engineering, and deposition methods for metals and polymers.
We implement a range of functional adhesives that provide high thermal and electrical conductivities and also maintain flawless gas-tight integrity of the assembly at temperatures of 20 K (-253 °C). Our forte is both in the understanding of the activation of the surfaces as well as the performance of engineered adhesives that are used in volumes ranging from picoliters to milliliters. Our development has enabled high yield production of NIF cryogenic targets.
See our work in thin film science here.
Targets are comprised of dozens of fragile three-dimensional components, each of which must survive complex fabrication procedures while meeting strict tolerances for damage and cleanliness. We have an active program in developing, deploying, and maintaining processes for metrology and precision cleaning of components as they pass from materials synthesis through bonding and target assembly.
We also help NIF maintain efficient operations by tracking and scheduling complex assembly processes.
Fabricating target components to exacting specifications on their size, shape, microstructure, composition, thermal properties, reactivity, and barrier properties requires control over a variety of deposition technologies. We control the these and other physical and chemical properties by studying the electrodeposition, sputtering, and plasma processes used to fabricate target materials, as well as thermal and chemical post-processing techniques.