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Uploaded on Feb 21, 2008
This is a synthetic seed crystal. It is placed in a six-foot-high tank filled with nearly a metric ton of supersaturated potassium dihydrogen phosphate, or KDP. As it rotates on a turntable in the tank, the crystal begins to grow. In just two months, the crystal grows to be as large as 800 pounds; with conventional methods of growing crystals, this process would take nearly two years. When complete, the crystal is carefully cleaned. It's removed from the tank. Then it's measured; and finally, it's cut into 40-by-40-centimeter plates to be used in the National Ignition Facility to focus, transmit and direct laser beams on their way to the target chamber.