Nov 15, 2021

ELI Beamlines designs, installs, and commissions the high power, high-repetition rate HAPLS laser beam transport system using OpticStudio

Category: Product News

Prague-based ELI Beamlines is a subsidiary of the pan-European Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project, which in turn is a member of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). The ELI Beamlines facility focuses on research into developing short-pulse secondary sources of radiation and particles. Its main objective is to become a truly multi-disciplinary, user-oriented multi-petawatt (1015 W+, or 1 quadrillion) laser infrastructure to support groundbreaking scientific experiments and applications in a wide variety of fields, including physics and astrophysics, chemistry, biology, medicine, and material science.

To create amazingly short pulses and to amplify them to the multi-joule and kilojoule level for achieving petawatt and multi-petawatt power, ELI Beamlines uses chirped-pulse amplification. The latest advancement has been the High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS), which was designed and built by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California in close cooperation with ELI Beamlines. HAPLS is the first diode-pumped and highest average power petawatt system (300 W, 10 Hz repetition rate) ever built.

Achieving the extreme high-power, short-pulse features of HAPLS required rigorous design validation and highly nuanced beam propagation capabilities. Using OpticStudio, the ELI Beamlines team modeled the phase-to-amplitude modulations during the beam propagation to the experimental chambers, where the beam is focused after up to 100 meters of propagation with off-axis parabolas. From there, ELI Beamlines used OpticStudio to assess intensity modulations, as well as to predict acceptable phase errors as the new system was commissioned.

The ELI Beamlines HAPLS beam transport team achieved its design goals in far less time by using Zemax than it would have taken them to produce a likely lower-quality result using in-house code development efforts.

"The method we followed using Zemax saved us millions of euros and at least 2–3 years of design time, because of the extra complexity and engineering that would have otherwise been involved," said Dr. Stefan Borneis, a senior laser scientist and specialist in petawatt laser systems from GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany who acted as a senior consultant and team lead for ELI Beamlines on the HAPLS beam transport project. "In addition, our cost of ownership is significantly lower because it is a non-imaged system."

Read the full story to find out more about the breakthrough innovations ELI Beamlines has achieved using Zemax. And to learn more about OpticStudio, the industry standard for optical design software, try it for free!