Versatile High-Energy and Short-Pulse Operation of PHELIX
PHELIX (Petawatt High Energy Laser for Heavy Ion Experiments) is a hybrid Ti:Sapphire / Nd:Glass laser system using large aperture amplifiers from the former Nova and Phebus laser systems at Livermore and Limeil, respectively, designed to offer pulse energies in access of 2 kJ and output power in the petawatt range. It is aiming mainly on combined experiments in plasma physics  and atomic physics  together with the GSI accelerator facility, and in preparation for the new FAIR facility for antiproton and ion research. Both nanosecond and sub-picosecond pulses can be supplied. Presently pulse energies up to 500 J are used, at pulse durations between 2 and 25 ns. Compressed pulses down to 500 fs are achieved after full amplification. The maximum output energy after the pulse compressor is limited by the damage threshold of the final grating. For 20 to 50 ps pulses, the maximal throughput energy is 300 J. For the pulses around 500-fs duration, it is reduced to 230 J. A special arrangement allows for the preparation of pulse pairs, where the duration of the pulses can be individually controlled between 2 and 200 ps. Recent experiments included the preparation of a plasma target for the interaction with energetic heavy ions , and the pumping of a plasma x-ray laser .
KeywordsDouble Pulse Line Focus Main Amplifier Pulse Stretcher Glass Laser System
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