€4m, 5TW laser developed for Extreme Light Infrastructure project

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A five terawatt, 1kHz OPCPA-based laser system worth 4 million has been produced by a consortium led by Ekspla and Light Conversion, two Lithuanian companies based in Vilnius. The system, named Sylos 1, was designed and built for the Extreme Light Infrastructure - Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ELI-ALPS) project facilities located in Szeged, Hungary.

The Sylos 1 is a 5TW, 1kHz OPCPA based laser system worth €4 million, produced by Ekspla and Light conversion for the ELI-ALPS project. (Credit: Ekspla)

‘This system is unique due to its outstanding combination of power and pulse duration,’ commented Kestutis Jasiunas, CEO of Ekspla. ‘Five terawatts establishes Sylos as one of the most powerful systems in the world, generating 10fs or shorter pulses at 1kHz repetition rate. Secondly, it employs innovative OPCPA technology born and perfected at Vilnius University, Lithuania. Featuring a comparatively simple and cost-effective layout, OPCPA is a key approach in equipping the high intensity laser facility to reach attoseconds in deep UV regions.’

‘To the best of our knowledge, Sylos 1 delivers the highest average power currently achieved among CEP-stabilised, few-cycle, terawatt-class laser systems,’ added Dr Gediminas Veitas, the project leader at Light Conversion.

The new system consists of an industrial-grade Pharos femtosecond laser from Light Conversion, which pumps the company’s femtosecond OPAs to deliver passively CEP stable seed pulses. Also featured is a specially designed diode-pumped Nd:YAG picosecond pump laser from Ekspla and four picosecond OPCPA stages, preceded by a seed pulse stretcher and followed by a compressor.

The main object of the ELI-ALPS project is to create a unique European research centre that provides the international research community with high-power laser pulses and further sources based on these. The Szeged facility will offer the highest intensity, highest repetition rate and shortest laser pulses in the world.

The design and build process of the Sylos 1 system started on November 2014 and lasted more than two years; it is valued at around €4 million. ‘We are pleased to see that the system with challenging specifications was built on time and within specifications,’ said Professor Karoly Osvay, ELI-ALPS research technology director and principal investigator.