ABTech Delivers 4 µin Accuracy for National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Lab

The engineers at the University of California’s Lawrence Livermore Labs needed a target assembly station with a position accuracy of 4 millionths of an inch—that’s 0.000,0004 of an inch (or 0.01 micron)—and ABTech delivered.

5 Axis Air Bearing LLNL

The compact and mechanically elegant system we designed and manufactured incorporates six ABTech air-bearings, including three motorized air-bearing linear slides, two motorized air-bearing rotary spindles, and an air-bearing sleeve counterbalance pulley. A Delta Tau motion controller, operator control panel, and application software complete the system, which is only two feet high. 

National Ignition Facility (NIF) technicians used the target assembly station to apply minute amounts of adhesive (with applicators the size of a single human hair) to precisely positioned miniature BB-sized capsules of fusion fuel. These became the targets that the world’s largest laser (housed in a building the size of three football fields) will heat to simulate thermonuclear ignition.

By producing temperatures and densities like those found on the sun, these experiments will help scientists sustain confidence in the stability of the nuclear weapon stockpile without performing dangerous testing. Additional benefits in science and fusion energy are expected.

ABTech is proud to have been asked and to have successfully contributed to this impressive research project.


  • X, Y and Z axis motorized linear air bearing slides
  • Dual motorized air bearing rotary spindles
  • Counterbalance pulley with air bearing sleeve
  • Turnkey system includes:
    • Delta Tau motion controller
    • Industrial PC with application software
    • Operator control panel
  • System accuracy of less than 4 micro inches (0.01 micron) per commanded move