HERACLES Laboratories

Lab Manager: A. Vaupel

Thin Disk Laser Development

Lab Manager: L. Shah

The Laser Plasma Laboratory (LPL) utilizes optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA) to generate quasi-single-cycle optical pulses for use in high-field experiments. As part of this effort, we have modeled and developed a novel stretcher design for successful amplification of few-cycle pulses and developed metrology facilities for characterization of pulses exhibiting ultrabroad band spectra.

The HERACLES (High Energy Repetition-rate Adjustable Carrier Locked to Envelope System) program started in July 2007 is designed to be a multi-milliJoule, multi-kiloHertz, few-cycle, carrier-envelope-phase (CEP) stabilized facility in the near-IR. In order to generate the necessary high-energy 1-10 kHz pump for the OPA, we utilize Nd:YVO4 and Nd:YAG rods in high-power side-pumped geometry in both regenerative and multi-pass configurations. This system will provide peak power >0.1 TW at relatively high repetition rate for use in high-field that also benefit from high average power, such as high harmonic generation.

The PhaSTHEUS (PHAse-stabilized Terawatt High-Energy Ultra-Short) program has grown out of HERACLES. PhaSTHEUS is a quasi-single-cycle, CEP stabilized facility designed to generate 100 mJ pulses with <5 fs pulse duration at 1 Hz. This tabletop laser system utilizes an OPCPA architecture similar HERACLES, but the pump line is flash-lamp based in order to achieve sufficiently high gain and large aperture to produce 2 J energy with ~100 ps pulse duration.