We have begun building the 'Mercury' laser system as the first in a series of new generation diode-pumped solid-state lasers for inertial fusion research. Mercury will integrate three key technologies: diodes, crystals, and gas cooling, within a unique laser architecture that is scalable to kilojoule energy levels for fusion energy applications. The primary performance goals include 10 percent electrical efficiencies at 10 Hz and 100J with a 2-10 ns pulse length at 1.047 micrometers wavelength. When completed, Mercury will allow rep-rated target experiments with multiple target chambers for high energy density physics research.© (2000) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.