, Volume 80, Issue 7, pp 823-832
Date: 03 May 2005

Characterization of focal field formed by a large numerical aperture paraboloidal mirror and generation of ultra-high intensity (1022 W/cm2)

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We describe a method to measure the aberrations of a high numerical aperture off-axis paraboloid and correct for the aberrations using adaptive optics. It is then shown that the characterized aberrations can be used to accurately calculate the electromagnetic field at the focus using the Stratton–Chu vector diffraction theory. Using this methodology, an intensity of 7×1021 W/cm2 was demonstrated by focusing a 45-TW laser beam with an f/0.6, 90 off-axis paraboloid after correcting the aberrations of the paraboloid and the low-energy reference beam. The intensity can be further increased to 1×1022 W/cm2 by including in the correction algorithm the wavefront difference between the reference beam and the high-energy beam.

This revised version was published online in May 2005. The authors addresses were completed PACS numbers were added Equation (31) was corrected Textual corrections were made in Sects. 3, 4.1, and 5 Reference no. 12 was completed.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00340-005-1925-z.