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Title: High-Average-Power Diffraction Pulse-Compression Gratings Enabling Next-Generation Ultrafast Laser Systems

Pulse compressors for ultrafast lasers have been identified as a technology gap in the push towards high peak power systems with high average powers for industrial and scientific applications. Gratings for ultrashort (sub-150fs) pulse compressors are metallic and can absorb a significant percentage of laser energy resulting in up to 40% loss as well as thermal issues which degrade on-target performance. We have developed a next generation gold grating technology which we have scaled to the petawatt-size. This resulted in improvements in efficiency, uniformity and processing as compared to previous substrate etched gratings for high average power. This new design has a deposited dielectric material for the grating ridge rather than etching directly into the glass substrate. It has been observed that average powers as low as 1W in a compressor can cause distortions in the on-target beam. We have developed and tested a method of actively cooling diffraction gratings which, in the case of gold gratings, can support a petawatt peak power laser with up to 600W average power. We demonstrated thermo-mechanical modeling of a grating in its use environment and benchmarked with experimental measurement. Multilayer dielectric (MLD) gratings are not yet used for these high peak power, ultrashortmore » pulse durations due to their design challenges. We have designed and fabricated broad bandwidth, low dispersion MLD gratings suitable for delivering 30 fs pulses at high average power. This new grating design requires the use of a novel Out Of Plane (OOP) compressor, which we have modeled, designed, built and tested. This prototype compressor yielded a transmission of 90% for a pulse with 45 nm bandwidth, and free of spatial and angular chirp. In order to evaluate gratings and compressors built in this project we have commissioned a joule-class ultrafast Ti:Sapphire laser system. Combining the grating cooling and MLD technologies developed here could enable petawatt laser systems to operate at 50kW average power.« less
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States