Physics

Ultrafast Petawatt Lasers

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Science  19 Sep 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5640, pp. 1631-1633
DOI: 10.1126/science.301.5640.1631e

High-powered lasers with output powers in the petawatt region are currently being developed for a whole host of fundamental applications ranging from fusion ignition systems and high-energy particle physics to medical applications involving radioactive isotope generation. However, these Nd: glass-based lasers are typically large-scale dedicated facilities where each several-hundred-femtosecond pulse can take a day or so of cranking up the system before being released. For practical applications, however, there is a desire for the pulses to be delivered more frequently. One possibility presented by Aoyama et al. is an improvement in the performance of the Ti: sapphire laser, a much smaller laser. Chirped pulse amplification, where the femtosecond pulses are stretched, amplified, and then compressed again, was used in conjunction with improved optical components to deliver 0.85-petawatt pulses. Such lab-sized systems, which replicate the capability of much larger and much more expensive systems, should open the field for further advances and applications. — ISO

Opt. Lett. 28, 1594 (2003).

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