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High-Flux Synchrotron Alternatives Driven by Powerful Long-Wavelength Fiber Lasers

Project description

Compact lasers on par with synchrotron facilities

Femtosecond lasers show promise for a variety of applications in many fast-growing industries with their unique ability to deliver high peak power. However, their radiation spectrum is limited, hindering practical implementation. Furthermore, access to large-scale research facilities such as synchrotrons (which also emit high-power coherent light) is limited mostly by distance and costs. The EU-funded SALT project is working on making high-power radiation sources widely available via a compact high-performance laser system that is comparable to synchrotrons. Researchers will focus the laser pulses on a non-linear medium to generate coherent laser pulses in the desired range – infrared, terahertz and soft X-ray frequencies.


Lasers, and in particular ultrafast lasers, are an enabling technology for many applications, with the particularity that they can emit high-powers and are tabletop at the same time. These characteristics have made intense laser radiation widely available, which has decisively contributed to the advancement of many fields. However, the spectral coverage of lasers is limited and, thus, there are many applications that can only be addressed with other sources such as synchrotrons. Unfortunately, synchrotrons have two strong disadvantages: they are very large facilities with restricted user access and are extremely expensive. This is seriously hampering the widespread use of this radiation and, with it, the progress and development of many fields. Since a direct (i.e. a laser-based), high-power emission of coherent light with a wavelength coverage comparable to that of a synchrotron is impossible, nonlinear frequency conversion driven by a high-power solid-state laser seems to be the most elegant solution to achieve a high photon flux in important spectral regions such as the mid-infrared, the THz- and the soft-X-ray range. Most remarkably, frequency conversion into these spectral regions would strongly benefit from a longer driving laser wavelength than the standard Titanium:Sapphire or Ytterbium-based near-infrared emission. On top of that, the shift of the emission to longer wavelengths can unleash a hidden performance scaling potential of ultrafast fiber lasers, as nonlinear and thermal limitations scale favorably. The goals of the project SALT are twofold. First, it targets a revolution in the performance level of ultrafast lasers by unlocking the potential of Thulium-doped fiber lasers. Second, it aims at demonstrating new realms of flux in selected wavelength regions by frequency-converting these high-power 2µm sources. This will pave the way for frontier applications allowing for seminal discoveries and breakthroughs.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 2 490 912,50
07743 JENA

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Thüringen Thüringen Jena, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 2 490 912,50

Beneficiaries (1)