Optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA) implemented using multikilojoule Nd:glass pump lasers is a promising approach to produce ultra-intense pulses (>10^23 W/cm^2) . Systems using deuterated potassium dihydrogen phosphate (DKDP) for high-energy amplifiers are being developed by a number of institutions
[2–4]. Noncollinear optical parametric amplifiers (NOPA’s) made of DKDP produce broadband gain for supporting pulses as short as 10 fs centered near 920 nm. Large-aperture DKDP crystals (>400 mm) make it possible to use Nd:glass lasers as kilojoule pump sources. Although OPCPA is now routinely used as a broadband front-end technology for many hybrid systems, scaling OPCPA to energies >100 J is still an active area of laser research and development.
This paper reports on a technology development program at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics where progress is being made toward the long-term goal of a femtosecond-kilojoule system pumped by the OMEGA EP laser. The goal is to pump an optical parametric amplifier line (EP OPAL) with two of the OMEGA EP beamlines. The resulting ultra-intense pulses (1.5 kJ, 20 fs, 10^24 W/cm^2) would be used jointly with picosecond and nanosecond pulses produced by the other two beamlines.
A midscale all-OPCPA laser is being designed and constructed to address the technical challenges of the full-scale system. The mid-scale OPAL pumped by the Multi-Terawatt (MTW) laser will produce 7.5-J, 15-fs pulses and demonstrate scalable technologies suitable for the upgrade. MTW OPAL will share a target area with the MTW laser (50 J, 1 to 100 ps), enabling several joint-shot configurations. We report on the status of the MTW OPAL system, and the technology development required for this class of all OPCPA laser system for ultra-intense pulses.
This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration under Award Number DE-NA0003856, the University of Rochester, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
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