, Volume 79, Issue 2, pp 193-201
Date: 28 May 2004

A versatile 10-TW laser system with robust passive controls to achieve high stability and spatiotemporal quality

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Abstract

We discuss the design, construction, and output characteristics of a versatile 10-TW Ti : sapphire laser system of high stability and spatiotemporal quality. By pumping the three amplifier stages independently and running at saturation, an energy stability of 1.3% is obtained. Controls over self-phase modulation, high-order dispersion, spatial aberration, and amplified spontaneous emission are done by robust passive methods. A time–bandwidth product of 1.2 times the Fourier-transform limit with a temporal contrast larger than 5×108 in the -10-ns scale, 2×106 in the -100-ps scale, and 104 in the -1-ps scale are achieved. The beam can be focused down to 1.2 times the diffraction limit with 80% of the energy enclosed in the Gaussian focal spot. Beam-pointing stability is <13 μrad. Such high stability and spatiotemporal quality have made possible precision control over extremely nonlinear laser–plasma experiments, and the capability of computerized independent control of prepulse, pump pulse, probe pulse, and on-line diagnoses have made this system highly versatile and reliable.

PACS

42.60.By; 42.65.Re; 42.60.Jf