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Pulse fidelity in ultra-high-power (petawatt class) laser systems

  • Colin Danson (a1) (a2), David Neely (a3) and David Hillier (a2)
Abstract

There are several petawatt-scale laser facilities around the world and the fidelity of the pulses to target is critical in achieving the highest focused intensities and the highest possible contrast. The United Kingdom has three such laser facilities which are currently open for access to the academic community: Orion at AWE, Aldermaston and Vulcan & Astra-Gemini at the Central Laser Facility (CLF), STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). These facilities represent the two main classes of petawatt facilities: the mixed OPCPA/Nd:glass high-energy systems of Orion and Vulcan and the ultra-short-pulse Ti:Sapphire system of Astra-Gemini. Many of the techniques used to enhance and control the pulse generation and delivery to target have been pioneered on these facilities. In this paper, we present the system designs which make this possible and discuss the contrast enhancement schemes that have been implemented.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Colin Danson, AWE, Aldermaston, Reading, RG7 4PR, UK. Email: c.danson@imperial.ac.uk
References
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High Power Laser Science and Engineering
  • ISSN: 2095-4719
  • EISSN: 2052-3289
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