Our recent progress in the development of high energy / high average power, chirped pulse amplification laser systems based on diode-pumped, cryogenically-cooled Yb:YAG amplifiers is discussed, including the demonstration of a laser that produces 1 Joule, sub-10 picosecond duration, λ = 1.03μm pulses at 500 Hz repetition rate. This compact, all-diodepumped laser combines a mode-locked Yb:KYW oscillator and a water-cooled Yb:YAG preamplifer with two cryogenic power amplification stages to produce 1.5 Joule pulses with high beam quality which are subsequently compressed. This laser system occupies an optical table area of less than 1.5x3m<sup>2</sup>. This laser was employed to pump plasma-based soft x-ray lasers at λ = 10-20nm at repetition rates ≥100 Hz. To accomplish this, temporally-shaped pulses were focused at grazing incidence into a high aspect ratio line focus using cylindrical optics on a high shot capacity rotating metal target. This results in an elongated plasma amplifier that produces microjoule pulses at several narrow-linewidth EUV wavelengths between λ = 109Å and 189Å. The resulting fraction of a milliwatt average powers are the highest reported to date for a compact, coherent source operating at these wavelengths, to the best of our knowledge.
There are significant advantages for using a compact capillary discharge soft x-ray laser (SXRL) with wavelength of 46.9 nm for mass spectrometry applications. The 26.4 eV energy photons provide efficient single-photon ionization while preserving the structure of molecules and clusters. The tens of nanometers absorption depth of the radiation coupled with the focusing of the laser beam to diameter of ∼100 nm result in the ablation of atto-liter scale craters which in turn enable high resolution mass spectral imaging of solid samples. In this paper we describe results on the analysis of composition depth-profiling of multilayer oxide stack and material studies in photoresists, ionic crystals, and magnesium corrosion products using SXRL ablation mass spectrometry, a method first demonstrated by our group. These materials are used in a variety of soft x-ray applications such as detectors, multilayer optics, and many more.
The table-top generation of high average power coherent soft x-ray radiation in a compact set up is of high interest for numerous applications. We have demonstrated the generation of bright soft x-ray laser pulses at 100 Hz repetition rate with record-high average power from compact plasma amplifiers excited by an ultrafast diode-pumped solid state laser. Results of compact λ=18.9nm Ni-like Mo and λ=13.9nm Ni-like Ag lasers operating at 100 Hz repetition rate are discussed.
Mass spectrometry plays a vital role in the direct examination of the chemical composition of solids. We have introduced the use of soft x-ray laser ablation for mass spectrometry imaging. Here we demonstrate the method potential for composition depth profiling of multilayer stacks consisting of tens of nanometers thick metal and dielectric films.
We discuss recent advances in the development of high repetition rate table-soft soft x-ray lasers resulting from
research conducted at Colorado State University. Advancing saturated table-top lasers to shorter wavelengths we report
the operation of gain-saturated sub-10 nm table-top lasers at 1 Hz repetition rate. We also present experimental results
that show that injection-seeding of solid-target soft x-ray plasma amplifiers reduces the far field divergence by an order
of magnitude and to allow for control of the far-field beam characteristics by tailoring the divergence of the seed. We
finally discuss progress towards the development of high repetition rate compact all-diode-pumped soft x-ray lasers. We
have operated the front end of the diode-pumped soft-ray laser driver at 100Hz repetition rate, obtaining sub-5 ps optical
laser pulses of 100 mJ energy.