Atomic weapons division picks laser parts

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Britain's Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has implemented laser metrology and adaptive optics systems to improve its lasers.

The two systems, designed by Imagine Optic and delivered by BFI Optilas, will become an integral part of the forthcoming Orion high-power laser. Orion is set to replace the Helen laser, which has been in operation since the 1970s, by 2010.

The metrology system is unique in that it will use 10 HASO 32 wavefront sensors to simultaneously measure and analyse 10 long-pulse, 500J nanosecond beam lines. It will enable users to monitor beam quality using HASOv3 software and make adjustments as necessary. 

The adaptive optics system will be used at the end of the amplification chain for wavefront correction of two powerful chirped-pulse amplification beams that will produce 500J in a 0.5 picosecond pulse. The system combines two of Imagine Optic's HASO 32 wavefront sensors and CASAO software with two monomorph deformable mirrors manufactured by CILAS.