Contract to build top-class laser system for ELI Beamlines awarded
Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic has awarded contract for development and delivery of top-class 10-PW laser system to a US-European consortium led by National Energetics (USA), in partnership with EKSPLA (Lithuania), and with major subcontractors being Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA) and Schott (Germany-USA). Signing ceremony was held on 6th of October in the presence of American and Lithuanian ambassadors, representatives of the Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, universities and representatives of the ELI project and the American-European Consortium.
The 10-PW laser system will be one of the key technology elements of the ELI Beamlines facility. As designed, the laser will utilize most advanced laser and optical technology available in the world and will generate brightest pulses of light ever generated (10 PW = 10,000,000,000,000,000 W), with the intensity exceeding about 10 times values currently available from the existing lasers. The laser will deliver one pulse every minute, each containing 1.5 kJ of energy and lasting about 150 fs (1 fs = 1015s). It will be world’s highest energy 10 PW laser system.
The role of each member of the consortium will be different in development of the laser system. The National Energetics will deliver advanced high-energy laser amplifiers and other laser subsystems and will be responsible for the integration of the complete laser chain; EKSPLA will supply pump units for the front end section of the laser as well as the laser power supplies, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will manufacture very large state-of-the-art diffraction gratings for the pulse compression to 10 PW peak power, and Schott will fabricate the special glass for amplifying the laser pulses to large energies.
“National Energetics is proud to have led the Consortium which has captured the contract for this exciting and challenging laser project. This laser pushes the boundaries of current laser technology toward peak powers yet to be seen in the laboratory. The techniques which will be utilized to realize such a dramatic improvement in peak power and high energy repetition rate will, without a doubt, have a major impact on the development of many high peak power ultrafast laser systems in the future”, says Todd Ditmire, President of National Energetics.
The laser team of ELI Beamlines at the Institute of Physics will actively participate on development of several subsystems of the laser. “This event marks an important milestone in the ELI Beamlines project. In the designed 10 PW laser the facility will obtain a unique and powerful tool which will help European and world research community to essentially advance knowledge in ultra-high-field frontier physics. We are proud and excited to be working with this consortium, which consists of world’s top-level suppliers of laser and optical technologies”, says prof. Jan Řídký, the director of the Institute of Physics.
The 10-PW laser will be commissioned in the ELI Beamlines facility in December 2017 and will be primarily used for fundamental research. It will be a unique instrument in the world that will serve broad Czech and international community of users. The collaborative projects prepared by the ELI Beamlines with the use of this laser involve for instance experiments in the fields of laboratory astrophysics, high-field physics, quantum electrodynamics to start measuring the texture of vacuum, particle acceleration, and nonlinear plasma physics.
Photo: Stanislava Kyselová Akademický bulletin.