Laser and Plasma Laboratory

The Terawatt Laser Facility

The Terawatt laser facility is capable of producing upwards of 1 Joule in 100 femtoseconds, which is equivalent to 10 TW of peak power in a single pulse. This is a large system with many subcomponents allowing the use of the beam in several configurations and with different specifications. The LPL Terawatt Laser is a Chirped Pulse Amplified (CPA) laser involving temporal stretching, amplification and compression of the pulses. The front-end of the system is a Ti:Sapphire oscillator adjusted to deliver 100 fs pulses at 845 nm (to match the emission of Cr:LiSAF amplifiers) with an energy between 2 and 5 nJ. Then, the pulses are stretched and amplified through a regenerative flash-lamp pumped Cr:LiSAF amplifier. The pulses are then amplified, if necessary by a dual-pass amplifying stage and four single-pass amplifiers and compressed in a vacuum-contained grating compressor to a pulse duration of 100 fs (Fig. 2).

This facility is connected to a vacuum chamber for focused experiments in controlled environment, but also to a propagation range of 50 meters, allowing studies of laser beam propagation. This facility currently produces pulses with a maximum energy of 100 mJ still in 100 fs (1 TW).