Z-Beamlet is a large aperture, high energy laser at Sandia National Laboratory. The lasers primary mission is to radiograph experiments at the adjacent Z accelerator facility. The laser beam is transported almost 200 feet from the Z-Beamlet building to the Z accelerator where it is focused onto a target foil to produce a short burst of high energy x-rays that are used to image details of experiments performed on the Z accelerator.
Z-Beamlet was originally built as a prototype for the NIF at LLNL and as such includes several novel features that had not previously been incorporated in lasers of this scale including multi pass main amplifiers and a full aperture Pockels cell. Once this new architecture was proven successful the laser (then known as Beamlet) was transferred to Sandia and renamed Z-Beamlet. Since firing its first laser shot into the Z
When not supporting Z experiments Z-Beamlet is used for developing Z diagnostics and for independent laser driven HEDP experiments.
accelerator in 2001 Z-Beamlet has again proved very successful and is now the primary diagnostic on many of the experiments performed on Z. Initial experiments concentrated of imaging imploding ICF capsules (3mm spheres crushed in under 20ns) and continuous development of the Z-Beamlet diagnostic has greatly increased the quality of the imaging and has expanded Z-Beamlet’s utility into other experimental campaigns performed on the Z accelerator.