Following three different types of high power lasers at Kansai Photon Science Institute are overviewed and controlling
the laser damages in these laser systems are described: (1) PW-class Ti:sapphire laser for high field science, (2) zig-zag
slab Nd:glass laser for x-ray laser pumping, and (3) high-repetition Yb:YAG thin-slab laser for THz generation. Also
reported is the use of plasma mirror for characterization of short-wavelength ultrashort laser pulses. This new method
will be useful to study evolution of plasma formation which leads to laser damages.
We developed high-resistant anti-reflection (AR) coating by using Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>/SiO<sub>2</sub> multilayer for Yb:YAG thin disk
amplifier. The AR coating was designed both for 940 nm of pump laser at an incident angle of 30 degrees and for 1030
nm of seed laser at 5 degrees. The Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>/SiO<sub>2</sub> multilayer was deposited by using the electron beam evaporation
technique on a fused silica substrate and then the laser induced damage threshold was evaluated. The sample was
irradiated by 1030 nm laser with 520 ps duration delivered from the Yb:YAG thin-disk regenerative amplifier. The
measured damage threshold of the Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>/SiO<sub>2</sub> AR coating was 75 J/cm<sup>2</sup>.
This paper gives an overview of recent progress of x-ray laser research in Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI). In the development of high quality x-ray laser beam, the progress includes the improvement of output energy of fully spatial coherent x-ray laser beam at a wavelength of 13.9 nm and generation of temporally coherent x-ray laser at 26.9 nm by use of seed x-ray injection technique. Beam stability is greatly improved to be better than 0.5 mrad by introducing new designed target chamber and target alignment system. In the application of the 13.9 nm laser, an experiment by use of x-ray speckle technique reveals firstly the existence of polarization clusters in ferroelectric substance. For the purpose of further application experiments, 0.1 Hz-repetition rate x-ray laser driver is being developed, which is based on an OPCPA pre-amplifier and a Nd:glass zigzag slab amplifier with two beam lines, and each line provides 10 Joules 1 ps pulse on target.
We review our recent progress in the development of transient x-ray lasers and of their application to plasma diagnostic. The first observation of C-ray laser emission at the new PHELIX-GSI facility is reported. This TCE X-ray laser will be a promising tool for heavy-ion spectroscopy. We then present the main results obtained at the LULU-CPA facility with a compact high-resolution X-UV imaging device. This device was used to investigate the spatial source structure of the Ni-like silver transient X-ray laser under different pumping conditions. The key-role of the width of the background laser pulse on the shape of the emitting aperture is demonstrated. Finally the imaging device was used as an interference microscope for interferometry probing of a laser-produced plasma. We describe this experiment performed at APRC-JAERI.
We have succeeded in developing a laser-pumped x-ray laser with full spatial coherence at 13.9 nm. A highly directed x-ray laser beam with the divergence of 0.2 mrad was generated from the double target experiment, where a seeding light from the first laser medium was amplified in the second medium. The observed divergence is close to the diffraction limited value within a factor of two. The seeding light was amplified in the second medium without refraction influence and the gain coefficient was about 8 cm<sup>-1</sup>. The gain region of the second medium was far away from the target surface compared with that of the first medium and located in the considerably low density region. From the measurement of visibility, it was found that the spatial coherent length is longer than the beam diameter.
The soft x-ray emission from He-like and H-like were obtained by using the double nozzle gas-puff (Nitrogen, and Oxygen) target irradiated by the laser which delivered a laser energy of 50 mJ in 400 ps pulse width. Efficient absorption of the incident laser energy into the double gas-puff target was demonstrated experimentally such as 15%, and 29% for Nitrogen and Oxygen, respectively. The sub keV x-ray emission from He-β(1s<sup>2</sup>-1s2p, 1s<sup>2</sup>-1s3p, and 1s<sup>2</sup>-1s4p) lines are observed around the 0.4 nm wavelength region by using the double nozzle Argon gas-puff target irradiated by a 5 J, 1 ns, 1 μm laser. Using the gas-puff target irradiated by a femto-second laser pulse, highly ionized ions of Cr-, Fe- and Ni-like Kr at the 5 - 20 nm wavelength region have been observed in a laser produced plasma. However, the intensity of the x-ray emissions from double nozzle gas-puff target are lower than that from the single nozzle gas-puff targets, using the Krypton gas. Using xenon gas, the intensity of the x-ray emissions from double nozzle gas-puff target is equivalent to that from the single nozzle target.
We have observed lasing on Ne-like 3s-3p line from titanium (32.4 nm), Ni-like 4p-4d line from silver (13.9 nm) and tin (11.9 nm) with the transient collisional excitation (TCE) scheme that uses combinations of a long pre-pulse (approximately ns) and a short main pulse (approximately ps) or a short pre-pulse (approximately ps) and a short main pulse (approximately ps). A gain coefficient of 24cm<SUP>-1</SUP> have been measured for plasma length up to 4mm with silver slab targets and 14cm<SUP>-1</SUP> up to 6 mm with tin slab targets. We have installed a step mirror in the focusing system to generate traveling wave on the target. The traveling speed on the target is measured to be 3.08 cm/s and very close to the traveling speed of light. The traveling wave system improves the gain coefficient to 35cm<SUP>-1</SUP> from 24cm<SUP>-1</SUP> for Ni-like Ag and to 30cm<SUP>-1</SUP> from 14cm<SUP>-1</SUP> for Ni-like Sn. The strong gain saturation has been observed for the Ni-like Ag and Ni-like Sn. The output energy of the N-like Sn x-ray laser is 20 (mu) J. Spatial beam profiles of propagating x-ray lasers through gain plasma have been measured and are indicating localization of very high gain area and x-ray laser refraction.
We proposed a method to generate highly spatial coherent x-ray laser, in which high order harmonics was used as a seed light of a laser-produced x-ray amplifier. In this case, the intensity and the spatial coherence of the output x-ray depended on the harmonic conversion efficiency and the spectral and spatial coupling efficiencies between the harmonics and the lasing line. Based on the present x-ray lasers using a transient collisional-excitation (TCE) scheme, we investigated the values of these efficiencies, which were needed to realize a high spatial coherence. For this purpose we constructed a Ti:Sapphire laser system in which the central wavelength and the spectral bandwidth were tunable, and we conducted a preliminary experiment. The neon-like Ti x-ray laser at a wavelength of 32.4 nm was taken as an example, and harmonics at the same wavelength was generated using Ar gas target under the conditions that the central wavelength of 810 nm and the pulse duration of 1 ps. The experimental result showed that the characteristics of the harmonics were good enough to use as a seed light of x-ray lasers.
An ultra-short pulse CPA laser system for x-ray laser driver has been developed with a combination of Ti:sapphire front end and Nd:glass rod amplifiers. This laser system has two beam outputs and each beam line produces 20J pre pulse and 20J main. This laser system is designed for x-ray laser pumping driver, especially for transient gain scheme. The new transient gain x-ray laser scheme with thin foil metal targets has been proposed. This scheme has higher laser energy efficiency and less x-ray laser refraction effect and makes possible to generate shorter x-ray wavelength with a compact table-top sized laser system. The electron temperatures of plasma heated with a short pre pulse and short main pulse have been calculated with 1D hydrodynamic code and obtained electron temperature higher than 1 keV with 20J laser energy. X-ray laser propagation is also calculated with gain guiding effect.
An ultra-short pulse CPA laser system for x-ray laser driver has been developed with a combination of Ti:sapphire front end and Nd:glass rod amplifiers. This laser system has two beam outputs and each beam line produces 20J pre pulse and 20J main. This laser system is designed for x-ray laser pumping driver, especially for transient gain scheme. The new transient gain x-ray laser scheme with thin foil metal targets has been proposed. This scheme has higher laser energy efficiency and less x-ray laser refraction effect and makes possible to generate shorter x-ray wavelength with a compact table-top sized laser system. The electron temperatures of plasmas heated with a short pre pulse and short main pulse have been calculated with 1D hydrodynamic code and obtained electron temperature higher than 1 keV and 20 J laser energy. X-ray laser propagation is also calculated with gain guiding effect.