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February 2018

Sandia physicist sets ultrafast multi-frame digital X-ray camera in place at Z machine facility.

The mythical master craftsman Daedalus would be quite impressed with NNSA’s “Icarus” – the new generation of ultrafast multi-frame X-ray cameras installed on Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine earlier this year.

Developed at Sandia’s Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications Complex, the Icarus camera provides more pixels, more frames, and higher sensitivity than previous cameras coupled with rugged radiation tolerance for operation within the Z machine, one of the world’s most powerful laboratory radiation sources. It will provide crisp, clear digital images in billionths of a second, allowing for more accurate results.

In fact, the Icarus cameras contain the first solid-state X-ray sensors in the world capable of capturing four images during an eight-nanosecond experiment.

Icarus enhances stockpile stewardship science experiments in support of the NNSA Office of Defense Programs. The new technology will further refine the collection and analysis of image data in an X-ray opacity spectrometer for High Energy Density Physics (HEDP) research, which helps detect the evolving temperature conditions of opacity samples. Icarus will also be used on the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Flying at just the right “distance from the sun”, Icarus pushes preexisting, validated intellectual property as far as possible. It also aligns with the National Diagnostics Plan, developed annually since 2009 by an elite group of technical experts from various DOE and NNSA national laboratories, as well as academia, to coordinate advanced Inertial Confinement Fusion efforts. Icarus will be an asset in continuing to certify that our nation’s nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st century threats and reassure allies.