High precision mechanics and optics for the Megajoule Laser program

The main objective of the Megajoule Laser, a key component of the Simulation program, is to maintain the operation and the reliability of the French nuclear deterrent power. Bertin has been on this project with the CEA for nearly 20 years, developing high precision mechanical and optical assemblies.

Key figures

22

laser chains will gradually increase in power in experiments

10

Microns This is the target’s alignment precision obtained in a chamber 10m in diameter

20

years of partnership between Bertin and CEA DAM

The LMJ is designed to deliver an energy of several million joules to a target of a few millimeters, in a few billionths of a second.

This considerable power makes it possible to duplicate, observe and quantify the physical phenomena involved in the nuclear operation of weapons. Bertin, a subsidiary of CNIM Group, has been in the LMJ program with the CEA for nearly 20 years, developing high precision mechanical and optical assemblies.

CNIM-Bertin-LMJ-SOPAC-CEA-DAM.jpg

Equipment for the experiment hall and the alignment center room

After participating in the preparatory program of the LMJ, the CEA/DAM entrusted the Chamber and Integration Equipment market (ECI) to the CNIM Group in 2003. In this market, Bertin has developed the target alignment system (SOPAC) and the common reference, which makes it possible to align the target and the laser beams with an accuracy of a few microns.

Bertin was subsequently entrusted with several contracts relating to Plasma Diagnostics. Bertin's unique know-how in the fields of high-precision mechanics, as well as control and optics, has been instrumental in the success of these projects.

The field trials were completed in 2014 and the LMJ was commissioned with an initial firing campaign in the presence of then Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

Equipment for the laser chain of the installation

Since 2015, Bertin has been assisting the CEA/DAM in the operation of the systems they delivered and is preparing to develop future equipment.
22 laser chains are indeed planned in order to increase laser power in experiments gradually.