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Ultra short and ultra intense laser technology

The existing technology for the study of very fast evolving biological, physical and chemical phenomena has shown many inadequacies. These ever growing research demands led to the development of exceptional performance at extreme speeds of titanium sapphire laser systems yielding high power at a very short interval times.
Ultra short and ultra intense laser technology
The Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, or simply laser, produces an intense monochromatic beam of coherent light. Nowadays, laser technology is extensively used in many scientific and industrial applications. Despite its powerful use in research activities, there are still many biological, physical and chemical mysteries unsolved. This is mainly due to the fact that these phenomena take place on time scales of tens of picoseconds or less, thus making current technology inadequate.

These ever growing research demands led to the development of three exceptionally performing femtosecond titanium sapphire-laser systems that are capable of outputting up to a hundred TeraWatts of power at very high repetition rates of 10 Hz. Moreover, these super intense lasers can be also used for developing secondary sources of radiation (IR, UV, VUV XUV, X-rays, and G-rays) delivering up to GeV photon energy. A highly specialised station has also been constructed that allows the production of bursts of neutrons and high-energy electrons. These particles significantly contribute to many time-related studies, such as the kinetics of fast evolving phenomena.

The realisation of these high intense femtosecond lasers was mainly due to recently developed technologies, such as the technique of cryogenic cooling of the amplifier crystals and the innovative stretcher. The new lasers are expected to set new standards that will affect future laser technology applications and markets. The laser installations are fully operational and available to European researchers who are involved in various research activities such as plasma and ionisation dynamics, nuclear physics and astrophysics, X-ray diffraction studies of solids and molecules, and in industrial processes, such as development of soft X-ray sources and particularly lithography.
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