15 December, 2020
15 Dec, 2020

The construction of a new 15 TW laser for ELI-ALPS – an innovative approach to TW level systems will open new horizons

On 25 of November, the ELI-ALPS (Extreme Light Infrastructure Attosecond Light Pulse Source) facility and consortium between EKSPLA and LIGHT CONVERSION, following continuing collaboration between three parties, signed a research and development contract for building a new laser system, called SYLOS3 for ELI-ALPS.

The new system, estimated at ~6 m. Euros, will deliver unique parameters, never before achieved in a commercially available system. more than 15 TW peak power at 1 KHz repetition rate and less than 8 femtoseconds pulse duration. Compared to the SYLOS2A system (4.5 TW, 6,3 fs, 1 kHz), already installed at ELI-ALPS, the new system will provide more than 3 times higher peak and average power.

„The ELI-ALPS SYLOS3 laser system is planned to generate coherent X-ray radiation through gas and surface higher-order harmonic generation, as well as electron acceleration in order to serve various experiments“ mentioned Adam Börzsönyi, Head of Laser Sources Division at ELI-ALPS. „One of the many applications is the generation of isolated attosecond pulses for attosecond metrology. The beamlines operated with the SYLOS laser are designed for user operation and demands high stability of operation with high up-time. These tasks will be top priority when designing and developing the SYLOS3 system.“

Due to the exceptionally large XUV/X-ray energy, this system opens up the route to nonlinear XUV and X-ray science as well as 4D imaging and industrial, biological and medical applications.

The main objective of the ELI-ALPS (Extreme Light Infrastructure Attosecond Light Pulse Source) project is to create a unique European research center, providing the international research community with exceptional laser pulses and secondary sources. The Szeged facility will stand out from the institutes producing the highest intensity laser pulses in the world at 1 kHz pulse repetition rate.

“Unlike other TW level systems available in the market which are operating at single shot or low frequency regime, SYLOS3 will be running at 1 KHz repetition rate” mentioned Kestutis Jasiūnas, EKSPLA CEO.  „This innovative approach will enable researchers to collect much more data and raises experiments to the next level. Armed with such tools researchers also will be able to step from fundamental into the applied science experiments area and develop promising future technologies like a laser based particle accelerator“.

The SYLOS3 laser system will be based on OPCPA (Optical Parametric Chirped-Pulse Amplification) technology. Developed at Vilnius University, today OPCPA is the leading method for generating high intensity radiation as it prevails compared to conventional (Ti:Sapphire laser based) femtosecond technology in terms of pumping efficiency, contrast, bandwidth, and as a consequence, the degree of control of the generated radiation.

“Despite of being complex, the system will ensure exceptional stability” – added Martynas Barkauskas, LIGHT CONVERSION CEO, – “SYLOS3 will deliver ~120 mJ pulses with ≤ 250 mrad CEP stability and energy stability ≤ 1%.”

A three times peak power increase compared with the previously built system means more than three times complexity increase. Engineers will be facing many challenges; thermal dissipation, water/electrical consumption, personal safety system, space and weight restrictions and multiple channel combinations are only few of these.

Even if the backbone of the system will be a reliable industry-tested technology, to ensure reliability, it will be designed and built from scratch. All manufacturing will be carried out in Vilnius, Lithuania. Delivery and installation is planned at the end of 2022.

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