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Optimising CPA laser systems

There is an ongoing demand for improving the efficiency of laser systems, particularly for Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) laser systems. Within these systems, the incorporated diffraction gratings exhibit low quality properties, such as damage threshold, even under routine use. The newly developed technique of employing volume holographic gratings in this project would greatly optimise the effectiveness of these CPA lasers.
Optimising CPA laser systems
The study of strong or ultra-fast interactions between light and matter, such as the investigation of wavelength dependant ultra-fast phenomena, require tuneable, short pulsed radiation of high intensity. The use of the chirped pulse amplification technique in laser systems allows the emission of very short laser pulses that have a large related bandwidth. For instance, a 30fs pulse has a bandwidth of 30nm.

If these pulses were directly amplified, non-linear effects would take place that would damage the amplifying medium. For this reason, the reduction of the pulse peak intensity needs to be made in the laser. In the CPA laser chains, the reduction of the peak intensity and safe amplification is achieved by employing suitable diffraction gratings. Passing pulses through them, these are stressed and after amplification compressed to their original duration.

As a result of the current extreme conditions required for these gratings, their efficiency and threshold damage easily deteriorate. Introducing a new technique of volume holographic gratings to such diffraction gratings as used in CPA laser systems, this project succeeded in improving the overall efficiency of the compressor. In addition, the damage threshold accuracy for these gratings has been found to be satisfactory.

The project's technological research to improve these high power laser systems can be used for an extensive range of applications in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. Thereby, through the innovative volume holographic gratings and the method of proper incidence, the costs of increasingly complex and highly efficient products and systems could be significantly reduced.
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