Architecture of a blue high contrast multiterawatt ultrashort laser
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- Clady, R., Coustillier, G., Gastaud, M. et al. Appl. Phys. B (2006) 82: 347. doi:10.1007/s00340-005-2081-1
The strategy used to develop an innovative high contrast multiterawatt femtosecond laser chain based on a hybrid (solid/gas) technology is reported. The laser system includes a Ti:sapphire oscillator generating 50 fs pulses at 950 nm, an optical parametric chirped pulse amplification stage, a second harmonic frequency converter for pulse temporal cleaning, and a final photolytical XeF(C–A) excimer amplifier for direct high peak-power amplification of ultrashort laser pulses in the blue (475 nm) spectral region. Several important issues concerning the design of the laser front-end, the energy extraction and beam phase control in the high peak-power XeF(C–A) amplifier are theoretically addressed. A detailed description of the XeF(C–A) amplifier and careful measurements of its energetic, optical and pumping characteristics are also given, together with the first pilot amplification experiments in the low density XeF(C–A) medium to assert the significance of our approach.