Named after the Greek goddess of victory, the Nike facility includes the world's largest krypton fluoride (KrF) laser. Nike was developed primarily to investigate interactions of high intensity KrF light with matter. The target facility is well equipped for experiments on laser generated shocks, high velocity ablative acceleration of targets, hydrodynamic instabilities, laser-produced x-rays, and studies of laser plasma instabilities. The system is capable of ultra uniform illumination of planar targets using induced spatial incoherence at intensities up to 3´1015 W/cm2 and up to 3 kJ of laser light on target. KrF's unique characteristics include deep UV light (λ=248 nm), demonstrated capability for extremely uniform target illumination at high intensity, and capability to zoom down the focal diameter during the laser pulse. Nike's deeper UV light allows it to produce higher ablation pressures than frequency tripled glass lasers without exciting laser-plasma instability. These capabilities have enabled Nike to accelerate targets to higher velocity (1,000 km/sec or 2,000,000 miles per hour) than any other laser.
For more information on NRL’s Nike facility, visit Nike's webpage.