The National Ignition Facility

"Creating a miniature star on Earth" is the goal of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), home to the world's largest and highest-energy laser in Livermore, California. On September 29th, 2010, the NIF completed its first integrated ignition experiment, where it focused its 192 lasers on a small cylinder housing a tiny frozen capsule containing hydrogen fuel, briefly bombarding it with 1 megajoule of laser energy. The experiment was the latest in a series of tests leading to a hoped-for "ignition", where the nuclei of the atoms of the fuel inside the target capsule are made to fuse together releasing tremendous energy - potentially more energy than was put in to start the initial reaction, becoming a valuable power source. The NIF has cost over $3.5 billion since 1997 and is a part of the federally funded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Scientists at NIF say they hope to achieve fusion by 2012. (27 photos total)


Inside the National Ignition Facility, a service system lift gives technicians access to the target chamber interior for inspection and maintenance. The chamber is a sphere 10 meters in diameter, assembled from ten-centimeter-thick aluminum panels which were preformed and then welded in place. It is covered with .3 meters of concrete which was injected with boron to absorb neutrons from the fusion reaction. The holes in the chamber permit the 192 laser beams to enter the chamber and to provide viewing ports for diagnostic tools. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

The single largest piece of equipment at the National Ignition Facility is its 130-ton target chamber. The design features 6 symmetric middle plates and 12 asymmetric outer plates, which were poured at the Ravenswood Aluminum Mill in Ravenswood, West Virginia. The plates were shipped to Creusot-Loire Industries in France, where they were heated and shaped in a giant press. The formed plates were then shipped to Precision Components Corp. in York, Pennsylvania, where they were trimmed and weld joints prepared. Assembly of the target chamber at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (seen here) was then performed in a temporary cylindrical steel enclosure. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The 10-meter-diameter target chamber is lifted into place in June 1999. The spherical vacuum vessel was installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with one of the largest cranes in the world. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


After the target chamber was lowered into place, the seven-story walls and roof of the Target Bay were completed. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


Construction workers install equipment inside the target chamber at the National Ignition Facility. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


Concrete pedestals in the two laser bays support the beampath infrastructure system for NIF's 192 laser beams. This is one of two 96-beam laser bays that were built at the facility. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


This photo from January 2002 shows the installation of the National Ignition Facility power-conditioning system, which has more than 160 kilometers of high-voltage cable, which delivers energy to the system's 7,680 flashlamps. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The National Ignition Facility's Laser Bay 2. The laser beams travel more than 1,000 feet before they reach the target chamber. Laser Bay 2 was commissioned on July 31, 2007. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The fabrication of melted and rough-cut blanks of laser glass amplifier slabs needed for the NIF construction (3,072 pieces) was completed in 2005. The amplifier slabs are neodymium-doped phosphate glass manufactured by Hoya Corporation USA and Schott Glass Technologies for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory technicians John Hollis (right) and Jim McElroy install a SIDE camera in the target bay of the NIF in January of 2009. The camera was the last of NIF's 6,206 various opto-mechanical and controls system modules called "line replaceable units" or LRUs to be installed. The first LRU, a flashlamp, was installed on Sept. 26, 2001. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The NIF requires optics produced from large single crystals of potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP) and deuterated potassium dihydrogen phosphate (DKDP). Each crystal is sliced into 40-centimeter-square crystal plates. Traditionally DKDP has been produced by methods requiring approximately two years to grow a single crystal. With the development of rapid growth methods for KDP, the time required to grow a crystal has been reduced to just two months. The current rapid growth process produces optics that are up to 66cm (2 ft, 2 in) wide, 50cm (1 ft, 8 in) tall, and weighing 380 kg (840 lbs). NIF requires 192 optics produced from traditionally grown DKDP and 480 optics rapidly grown from KDP. Approximately 75 production crystals will have been grown totaling a weight of nearly 100 tons. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


Workers on the NIF target bay floor just outside the target chamber. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/Jacqueline McBride) #


A technician inspects the final optics inspection (FODI) system for the NIF. When the FODI is extended into the 10-meter diameter target chamber from a diagnostic instrument manipulator, it can produce images of all 192 beamline final optics assemblies. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The exterior of the National Ignition Facility in in Livermore, California. Construction of the facility was completed in March 2009 and it was dedicated on May 31, 2009. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The final optics assemblies, shown here mounted on the lower hemisphere of the target chamber, contain special optics for beam conditioning, color conversion, and color separation. They also focus the beams from 40-by-40 centimeter squares of light to a spot on the target only .2 to 2 millimeters in diameter. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The NIF's millimeter-sized targets must be designed and fabricated to meet precise specifications for density, concentricity and surface smoothness for NIF experiments. Scientists and engineers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory like Richard Montesanti have developed the precision robotic assembly machine to manufacture the small and complex laser-driven fusion ignition targets. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/Jacqueline McBride) #


California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the stadium-sized NIF on Nov. 10, 2008. Pictured from left: NIF director Dr. Edward Moses, Governor Schwarzenegger, LLNL Director Dr. George Miller. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/Jacqueline McBride) #


NIF's final optics inspection system, extended into the target chamber designed to produce images of all 192 beamline final optics assemblies. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


This view from the bottom of the target chamber shows the target positioner being inserted (spike at 7 o'clock position). Pulses from NIF's high-powered lasers race toward the Target Bay , arriving at the center of the target chamber within a few trillionths of a second of each other, aligned to the accuracy of the diameter of a human hair. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The target positioner and target alignment system precisely locate a target in the NIF target chamber. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


A woman holds up an apparatus with the hohlraum on the end. The hohlraum is a pencil-eraser-sized cylinder that holds the target, a spherical capsule no larger than a peppercorn, destined to be bombarded with 192 powerful lasers. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


A gold hohlraum for use in the NIF. German for "hollow space," a hohlraum is a small hollow metal cylinder surrounding a fusion fuel capsule. In radiation thermodynamics, a hohlraum is defined as "a cavity whose walls are in radiative equilibrium with the radiant energy within the cavity." The hohlraum converts directed energy from either laser light or particle beams into X-ray radiation. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


A prototype 2-millimeter diameter beryllium-coated laser fusion target capsule is suspended between two ultra-thin plastic sheets used to facilitate handling of the shell. The tiny capsule will be filled with a liquid mixture of deuterium and tritium, which will then be frozen to just above 18 degrees Kelvin, or -427° Fahrenheit. Then the 192 laser beams enter the hohlraum from top and bottom, creating X-rays that heat the capsule to temperatures as high as those within the sun. This creates incredible pressures that compress the fuel contained inside the capsule, forcing the atoms inside to fuse together while releasing a tremendous burst of energy. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


On October 6th, 2010, the target assembly holding the hohlraum with its tiny capsule inside is mounted in the cryogenic target positioning device at the NIF. The two copper-colored arms form a shroud around the cold target to protect it until they open five seconds before a shot. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


A positioner precisely centers the target inside the target chamber and serves as a reference to align the laser beams. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


The remains of the target assembly after the October 6th, 2010 shot. The NIF's 192-beam laser system fired 1 megajoule of laser energy into its first cryogenically layered capsule. A megajoule is equivalent to the energy consumed by 10,000 100-watt light bulbs in one second. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #


A tall composite photograph showing three stories of the target bay and many of the lasers and diagnostic devices surrounding the NIF's target chamber at center. (NIF/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) #

Spices up your love life .....!!

Trust, understanding, respect and bonding, what else couples can ask for in a healthy relationship to form the foundation for a lasting union.

But little do the couples know that even the most wonderful relationship can go for a toss if love starts fading away. In today's modern times with a hectic workflow to maintain, couples often take each other for granted. And very often, they fail to realize the importance of the little things in a relationship that add the much needed zing in their otherwise boring and dull relationship.

It could be something as simple as saying 'I love you' or wooing your mate with a surprise gift รข€“ all that matters is the urge to show that you care and love. These small love gestures might not seem too precious in a relationship, but they can leave your partner craving for more.

Relationship counselor Dr. Geetu Bhardwaj explains, "In every relationship, it's important to maintain a healthy bond. If the couple starts assuming that the other partner knows about your feelings, then there would be very little conversation and sharing of feelings. In such situations, a vacuum starts building and this adversely affects the relationship in the long-run. So it's suggested that small expressions of love should be conveyed every now and then to improve the quality of a relationship."

So the next time boredom starts taking away the fun from your love paradise, try these precious gestures, which can surely bring back the passion like never before...

1. Say that you love : Loving someone is a pleasant feeling, but what's more important is to tell them that you love them. Saying 'I love you' is the best way to connect to your partner and share what you feel for each other.

Love-o-meter : Marriage and relationship counsellor Dr. Medha Sharma says, "Most of the times, the frequency of saying 'I love you' drastically drops as the relationship graduates to another level. So to revive the missing love, couples must seek help from these three words. Women, in general, are keener to say, 'I love you' much too often and in turn they expect the same from their male partners too."

2. Plan a sex picnic : Physical intimacy is probably one of the best ways to bond with your partner. But when it's about recharging the love lull, couples should think out-of-the-box. Forget the bedroom boredom and move out to an exotic spot with your partner.

Love-o-meter : Relationship counsellor, Dr. Amita Mishra opines, "Planning a romantic holiday with your lover can surely be a good idea that will allow you to spend quality time together, which might be tough otherwise. Make sure that the vacation is only intended towards comforting each other and there are lots of pleasure moments, sans any household tensions and office worries."

3.. Exchange romantic gifts : While in an affair, you might have gone crazy buying almost all sorts of gifts for your mate. But as it transforms into a long term relationship, these gifts lose their importance. So renewing the habit of exchanging gifts frequently is a sure shot way to make your partner feel loved.

Love-o-meter : "It's not about being materialistic in a relationship, but gifts are an expression of love. A flower, a card, a soft toy, a dress or anything else, whatever you choose for your beloved carries a message which is conveyed through that gift. Thus, exchanging gifts is a great way to make each other feel special," feels Dr. Geetu.

4. Arrange for surprise dinners : Endless luncheons, dinners, parties and night outs are often the routine in the first few months of a relationship. But gradually, it's just home sweet home and cooking in the kitchen which take over. Going out for a surprise dinner is indeed a superb way to woo your partner and bring back the love spark.

Love-o-meter : "A surprise candlelit dinner has always been a hot pick when it comes to arranging something special for your better half. You can plan something really lavish like a special menu and instrumental music, of course, of your partner's choice. Also, act a bit naughty with each other and enjoy each moment like there's no tomorrow," suggests Dr. Amita.

5. Know your partner better : You would often think that you share a great level of understanding and trust with your partner, but there's always more to a couple's chemistry. Couples pay less heed to indulging in intimate conversations with each other and hence they don't know what's exactly going in their partner's life. If you feel that the love bond is getting weaker, take some time out and sit with your mate just to hear them out and bare their heart in front of you.

Love-o-meter : "Initiating a conversation with your partner can really bring you close to them all over again. It gives them a reassurance that you care for them and the comfort zone created henceforth is a sustaining factor in a relationship. Casual or romantic talks often act as catalyst in restoring lost love in your relationship," asserts Dr. Medha.

Jet Beetale Car

This is my street-legal jet car on full afterburner. The car has two engines: the production gasoline engine in the front driving the front wheels and the jet engine in the back. The idea is that you drive around legally on the gasoline engine and when you want to have some fun, you spin up the jet and get on the burner (you can start the jet while driving along on the gasoline engine). The car was built because I wanted the wildest street-legal ride possible. With this project, I was able to use some stuff I learned while getting my fancy engineering degree (I have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University) to design a street-legal jet car without the distraction of how other people have done it in the past - because no one has. I don't know how fast the car will go and probably never will. The car was built to thrill me, not kill me. That doesn't stop me from the occasional blast on the highway though.

The car is licensed here in California. In California, new cars have bi-annual smog inspections so if you modify the engine, it is likely to fail the inspection and you won't be able to drive it on the street. There are some exempt engine modifications (ex. after-cat mufflers - big deal) but none that will allow you to add 1350 hp to a new car.

Car was built to look as if VW delivered the car this way. It handles fine and is safe. I was thinking of putting it into an import car show but the promoter told me that it looked too plain and recommended that I put some decals on it, lower it, and put on some aftermarket wheels. Sure kid, put on some flimsy wheels won't take a curb and don't center on the hubs, lower the car so the tires rub and get cut by the body using springs that bounce me all over the road, and advertise for companies that couldn't engineer themselves out of a paper bag. I would have thought the 14" diameter tailpipe was enough for him but I guess it wasn't. Response from the hot rod magazines has been slow. One editor told me that is because I didn't use anything they advertise. But the response to driving it on the street and going to the hot rod shows (San Francisco Custom Car Show, Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, and the Detroit Autorama) has been fantastic. This car attracts crowds better than any '32 Ford, '69 Camaro, or decaled Honda.

The Beetle was chosen because it looks cool with the jet and it shows it off well. Remember the Hurst wheelstanding Barracuda "Hemi Under Glass"? Well, this is "Jet Under Glass". Air for the jet enters the car through the two side windows and the sunroof. It's a little windy inside but not unbearable.

The production hatch release switch on the driver's door activates two new latches (one on each side) and the hatch pops open just like a production car. The "hatch not closed" warning light works too.

Here you can see the split in the tailpipe after a particularily rude burner pop. All fixed and reinforced now. The heat blanket keeps the plastic bumper from melting when the jet is operating.

The back of the gauge panel was kept open to give the car a techie look. Something to talk about. The car's an engineering device, let's see some engineering thingies. The aluminum panel was designed in SolidWorks and cut out of billet, bead blasted, clear annodized, and then the labels for the switches were milled into the front using a font matching the VW cluster. Little details like the holes having flat sides so the switches don't spin and exactly matching the contour of the dash added time to the project. Several versions were made out of styrofoam first to get the layout and lighting right. From the back, the panel reminds me of the 1970s McLaren CanAm cars.

The first thing I did when I got the car was to cut the hole in the back for the engine. Made a fancy jig out of a tripod, a rod, and a lawnmower wheel to mark out the cut and went at it with a pneumatic saw. Then finished it off with jeweler's files. No paint required. Didn't even chip. The hole was tricky because it goes through 3 layers (bumper and two layers of metal) and it's a circle projected onto angled surfaces. Just finding the centerline of the car wasn't trivial. Worrying what my neighbors would say if I ruined the back of a brand-new car made me REAL careful. I believe the hole is within 2 mm.

There are three gauges for the jet: %RPM, Oil Pressure, and Turbine Inlet Temperature. The most important is turbine inlet temperature. If you exceed about 650 degrees C for very long, you damage the engine. This is critical on start-up. You don't want a "hot-start". The throttle for the jet engine is located next to the gear selector. It is a lever and has three buttons: Cool, Big-Fire, and Afterburner. "Cool" leans out the engine and is used to lower the turbine inlet temperature if you get a hot-start. To light big-fire or the afterburner, you hold a button down and 1/2 second later, press the hot-streak button on the floor. Then things happen! Notice the kerosene level gauge in front of the gear selector (jet fuel is mostly kerosene) and the bud vase missing a rose. Where did it go?

Lotsa stuff back here. The force from the jet is tied to the vehicle through sandwich plates inside the car bolted to contoured aluminum billets that were slid into the frame rails. You can see the billet on the left side with a hole in its center, welded to the plate with 4 bolts. Used helium as the inert gas and a lot of current to weld that chunk of aluminum. To return the car to its production height, adjustable spring perches were used. Same spring rate, just corrected the ride height. Drives and handles fine. Kerosene is stored in a custom 14 gallon, baffled, foam-filled kevlar fuel cell in the spare tire well. Two fuel exits in the back: a -12 on the left side and a -10 on the right. The -10 goes to a shutoff, then a Barry Grant pump (one of the few hot rod parts on the car), then up into the car where it sees a filter, a regulator, and an electrical shutoff valve before feeding the engine. The -12 goes into a shutoff, then a 1.5 hp, 11,000 rpm, 24V custom electric pump. Pump is magnesium and can maintain 100 psi at 550 gph. From the pump it goes into the car to a filter, then a large regulator, and then to the afterburner solenoid and the big-fire solenoid (to left of pump and feeding bottom of tailpipe through orange covered hose). Fuel system was tested for flow capability. Above the big pump you can see the relocated gasoline cap actuator and all that black stuff on the right side is the stock fuel evaporative control equipment. All circuits feeding solenoids and pumps have fuses, relays, kick-back diodes to minimize contact arcing, sealed connectors, and use automotive wires of a gauge giving a maximum of 1V drop over the circuit loop.

The engine is a General Electric Model T58-8F. This is a helicopter turboshaft engine that was converted to a jet engine by some internal modifications and a custom tailpipe. The engine spins up to 26,000 RPM (idle is 13,000 RPM), draws air at 11,000 CFM, and is rated at 1350 hp. It weighs only 300 lbm. It grows as it warms up so the engine mounts have to account for this. The mounts in the front are rubber and the back are sliding mounts on rubber. The structure holding the engine was designed using finite element analysis and is redundant. Strong, damage tolerant, and light. Second battery and fuse/relay panel on the right, halon fire system and 5 gallon dry sump tank on left. 24V starter motor is in the nose of the engine. 700 A of current goes into that motor for 20 seconds during start-up. Due to heat, must limit starts to three in one hour. Big screen is to avoid FOD (foreign object damage). Jet keeps sucking the rose out of the bud vase on the dash!

A lot of attention to details in the car. Note the aluminum block holding/protecting the halon gas line, pull line, harness to engine, and oil pressure line. Rectangular tank under inlet screen is for various fuel drains. Note temperature gauge and shutoff valve for dry sump tank. 3 gallons of turbine oil at $25/quart (ouch!). Two-stage PPG paint matching exterior of car was used inside the car. It is not easy to paint around a lot of bars, etc while crouched in a car, in your dusty home garage, avoiding drips, and with your wife screaming that the fumes will cause brain damage in the kids. Especially with two-stage where you have multiple coats and critical drying times. Kids passed their grades so I guess damage was minimal, but more importantly, the paint turned out great!

Street racing action. The other guy wimped out after a few "big-fire" demonstrations. What you see in the picture is about one-twentieth the full size of the fireball. Guy standing beside car had never seen it run before and was smiling ear-to-ear throughout the show. Had I launched, I would have burned him to a crisp. Well, live and learn.

We get this a lot. A police officer picking at his nose while trying to figure out what to charge me with. Notice the hopeful anticipation of us on the right. We're rooting for him and offer suggestions but unfortunately, the California Department of Motor Vehicles did not anticipate such a vehicle so he's out of luck. Hmmm, the car has two engines making the car a hybrid so maybe we can drive in the commuter lanes along with the Toyota Priuses.

*** Update 7/18/06 *** You have to give the California Department of Motor Vehicles (the DMV) credit for creativity on this one. A DMV insider has disclosed to me that the DMV has made a formal request to a federal agency to rule if my Beetle constitutes a threat to national security based on what could happen if it got into the wrong hands. This raises three questions in my mind: #1 Does this mean I’m the right hands? #2 If someone with the name "b_laden13" is the highest eBay bidder for my Beetle can I refuse his offer even if he has the prestigious eBay Red Shooting Star feedback rating (the highest)? #3 Would this affect my eBay rating?

The car was built in this garage. Paint, welding, everything except some mill work. That's me standing beside the engine that is out of the car for some fuel controller work. The orange line is for the afterburner. There's one on the other side too. Here you can make out the four rows of variable inlets/stators at the front of the engine. Their angle changes with engine speed and are used to avoid compressor stall. There are 11 compressor stages and 2 turbine stages. The engine's pressure ratio is 8.3:1. That's how you work on a jet engine. Stick it on its end. Easy to store them that way too.

Here's my wife's Honda Metropolitan scooter. She wants it to go faster than 40 mph. So I have these two little JFS 100 jet engines and I am thinking how to put them on the scooter. Engines are 50 lbm each so weight is an issue. Will probably use air-start with a carbon fiber tank of compressed air. That saves weight since batteries will then not be needed.

Looks cool from the top. Will want to make aluminum housings to go over the engines just like on a DC-9.

Bitrom the back too. Should get the scooter going. On one jet engine alone, this engine will get a kart up to 60 mph. Looks like I have a lot of spare wire left over from the Beetle job to do the scooter.

Life Is A Theater

Everyone Can't Be in Your Front Row

Life is a theater - invite  your audience carefully.

Not  everyone is spiritually  healthy and mature

enough  to have  a front row seat in our lives.

There are  some people in your life that need

to be  loved  from a distance.

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you

LET  GO, or at least minimize your time with

draining , negative , incompatible , not - going-

anywhere  relationships / friendships / felowships '

Observe  the  relationships  around you.

Pay  attention to Which ones lift and which ones


Which  ones encourage and which one discourage?

Which  ones are on a path pf  growth uphill

and  which ones going downhill  ?

When  you  leave certain  people, do  you feel better

or  feel  worse ?

Which  ones  always  Have DRAMA or  don't really

understand , know  and  appreciate  you and the

gift  that within  you ?

When  you seek growth , peace of mind , love and,

truth, the easier it will become for you to decide,

who  get  to sit in the FRONT  ROW.

Aand  who should  be moved

to the balcony  of  your life...

You cannot chang the people around you...

but  you can change the  people  you are around '

Ask  God  for godly  wisdom and discernment  and

choose  wisely  the  people who sit in front row

of  your life...

Just  because  no one has shown  up

who  can  love you on your level

doesn't  mean  you sink  to theirs'

In  His  heart a man  plans  his course

But  the Lord determines His steps

Commit to the Lord whatever  you  do

and  your plans will succeed.


The Corporate Language

'We will do it'
'You will do it'

'You have done a great job'
'More work to be given to you'

'We are working on it'
'We have not yet started working on the same'

'Tomorrow, first thing in the morning'
'Its not getting done...
At least not tomorrow !'.

'After discussion we will decide - I am very open to views'
'I have already decided, I will tell you what to do'

'There was a slight miscommunication'
'We had actually lied'

'Lets call a meeting and discuss'
'I have no time now, will talk later'

'We can always do it'
'We actually cannot do the same on time'

'We are on the right track but there needs to be a slight extension of the deadline'
'The project is screwed up, we cannot deliver on time.'

'We had slight differences of opinion'
'We had actually fought'

'Make a list of the work that you do and let's see how I can help you'
'Anyway you have to find a way out, no help from me'

'You should have told me earlier'
'Well even if you told me earlier that would have made hardly any difference!'

'We need to find out the real reason'
'Well I will tell you where your fault is'

'Well.... family is important, your leave is always granted. Just ensure that the work is not affected'
'Well you know...'

'We are a team'
'I am not the only one to be blamed'

'That's actually a good question'
'I do not know anything about it'

'All the Best'
'You are in trouble'

What competition is ..........!!

Here is a little glimpse of that..

This is a hoarding Jet Airways put at a busy road in Mumbai



Eyes ..........!!