Overview of progress in construction and testing of the laser systems of ELI-Beamlines, accomplished since 2015, is presented. Good progress has been achieved in construction of all four lasers based largely on the technology of diode-pumped solid state lasers (DPSSL). The first part of the L1 laser, designed to provide 200 mJ <15 fs pulses at 1 kHz repetition rate, is up and running. The L2 is a development line employing a 10 J / 10 Hz cryogenic gas-cooled pump laser which has recently been equipped with an advanced cryogenic engine. Operation of the L3-HAPLS system, using a gas-cooled DPSSL pump laser and a Ti:sapphire broadband amplifier, was recently demonstrated at 16 J / 28 fs, at 3.33 Hz rep rate. Finally, the 5 Hz OPCPA front end of the L4 kJ laser is up running and amplification in the Nd:glass large-aperture power amplifiers was demonstrated.
Tiled-grating compressors of ultra-short pulse multi-petawatt lasers are currently the only viable way how to meet beam size requirements and stay within the damage threshold of the largest available gratings. Recently, a method how to double the effective aperture of compressor gratings by phasing them with perpendicularly positioned mirrors has been proposed, providing simplification to the traditional grating-grating tiling scheme by reducing the number of alignment degrees of freedom. The drawback of the method lies in tighter requirements on adjustment precision and stability of the system making the alignment and monitoring a challenging task. Here we propose and analyze different approaches to precision control of mirror-grating phasing and present a comparative experimental verification of the alignment systems on a small-scale test bench.
A comparison of various pulse stretcher designs accommodating material dispersion for a <; 150 fs 10 PW Nd:glass laser system using low dispersion diffraction gratings is presented. Since the pulse amplification demands a high stretch ratio of the stretcher to suppress non-linear effects and a high temporal contrast of the pulse is required to avoid ionization of the experimental targets, the design of the stretcher is a critical part for dispersion management. Here, we compare several designs using only one diffraction grating based on either a Perry-Banks or an Offner stretcher types, mostly at the Littrow angle. The target spectral phase profile is achieved through the tuning of the grating position, the angle of incidence on the grating, the radii of curvature of curved mirrors and the line density of the grating.
The development of chirped pulse amplification lasers toward multi-PetaWatt power imposes more demands on laser system elements. To make the spectral band of pulse compressors wider, laser designers began to consider Littrow mounted grating setups. In this study we investigate two Littrow type configurations. The first one is roll - a grating is rotated in the grating plane by a small angle. The second configuration is pitch - a grating is rotated by small angle about an axis perpendicular to the grating grooves. In this paper we experimentally measured diffraction efficiency of rolled and pitched dielectric grating, and simulated it with two methods: numerical Fourier Modal Method in LightTrans Virtual Lab and semi-analytical Volume Integral Equation Method. Here we claim that roll is more preferable for dielectric diffraction gratings with high groove density. It is shown that the energy of laser pulse compressed by a Littrow-roll configured compressor is 2 to 5% higher than Littrow-pitch configured one.
Overview of the laser systems being built for ELI-Beamlines is presented. The facility will make available high-brightness multi-TW ultrashort laser pulses at kHz repetition rate, PW 10 Hz repetition rate pulses, and kilojoule nanosecond pulses for generation of 10 PW peak power. The lasers will extensively employ the emerging technology of diode-pumped solid-state lasers (DPSSL) to pump OPCPA and Ti:sapphire broadband amplifiers. These systems will provide the user community with cutting-edge laser resources for programmatic research in generation and applications of high-intensity X-ray sources, in particle acceleration, and in dense-plasma and high-field physics.
A diffraction grating based on all-dielectric multi-layer structure is designed for compression of ultrafast pulses with spectrum centered at 900 nm. The grating at Littrow angle with an out-of-plane configuration shows more than 96% efficiency over the reflective band of 100 nm for the angle of incidence 41 degrees. We suggest grating grooves and the very first layer under the grooves to be made of fused silica. Reflective mirror under corrugated layer is designed as a stock of three types of dielectric nanolayers. Tolerances for groove depth and angle of incidence are estimated and, optimal duty-cycle parameter is found out. Electric field distribution inside of the grating is also numerically studied. The model is simulated by two methods: numerical Fourier Modal Method in LightTrans Virtual Lab and semi-analytical Volume Integral Equation Method. The results obtained by both methods show an excellent agreement.
All-dielectric grating with more than 98% efficiency over the reflective band of 40 nm with the central wavelength at 1053 nm is simulated for the angle of incidence 72 degrees. For the grating design we used the fact that chirped mirrors give wider reflective band than usual quarter-wavelength dielectric mirrors. Grating grooves and the very first layer under the grooves in our model is made of fused silica; underneath of the top layer we placed a chirped stack of 13 HfO2/SiO2 layers. Tolerances for groove depth and angle of incidence are estimated, optimal duty-cycle parameter is found out. Electric field distribution inside of the grating is also numerically studied. The model is simulated by two methods: numerical Fourier Modal Method in LightTrans Virtual Lab and semi-analytical Volume Integral Equation Method. The results obtained by both methods show excellent agreement.