High Power Laser Development
The Chimera high-power mid-IR OPCPA laser system.
Title: The Chimera high-power mid-IR OPCPA laser system.
Type: Experimental 80%, computational 20%
Funding: EPSRC DTA with DSTL top-up (UK nationality required).
Supervisors: Dr Stuart Mangles and Professor Roland Smith
Description: We are developing a new and unique type of mid infrared laser system based on "Optical Parametric Chirped Pulse Amplification" (OPCPA) as part of a large UK-US collaboration funded by DSTL, EPSRC and the US AFOSR. CPA is an elegant temporal stretch-compression technique that allows short pulses to be amplified to high energy without destroying the laser system, while optical parametric amplification (OPA) involves instantaneous transfer of energy from one laser beam to another. OPA has the advantage of very high gain, low noise and huge bandwidth compared to "traditional" laser amplifiers. It also allows access to laser wavelengths from 2-10 microns where it is very difficult to find a "traditional" laser material.
Our new Chimera laser combines the CPA and OPA techniques and will deliver multiple ultra-short light pulses to experiments including laser particle acceleration systems. Here moving to longer wavelengths offers some very attractive benefits as there is a strong l2 scaling of the energy an electron can acquire from the light field. The PhD will involve a combination of innovative laser development, characterisation of ultra-short light pulses (including the development of new instruments) and use of mid-IR light pulses in experiments. Laser acceleration work will likely include campaigns at both Imperial and at some of our US collaborators laboratories.