Abstract: OMEGA EP, one of two kilojoule-class laser systems at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics, has been operational since 2008 and has proven to be an effective user facility for the study of high-energy-density physics. The laser is comprised of four main beamlines capable of producing picosecond, petawatt-class infrared pulses via an Optical Parametric Chirped Pulse Amplification (OPCPA) front end, and multi-kJ, nanosecond, ultraviolet pulses. The beams can be delivered to targets within a dedicated target chamber, and the short IR pulses can also be transported to the OMEGA-60 target chamber for joint experiments. Two areas of recent progress on OMEGA EP will be discussed.
First, advances in pulse shaping of the long-pulse UV beams, enabled by improvements to system simulation capabilities, have enabled the delivery of accurately shaped UV pulses with arbitrary temporal profiles. This has in turn enabled successful experiments such as ramp compression of materials to study the formation of extreme states of matter.
Second, improvements in wavefront control and focusing have produced more repeatable and higher-quality target-plane irradiance profiles with the short-pulse beams. This has been accomplished via application of static phase correction of repeatable beamline aberrations, and improvements to the use of adaptive optics for wavefront correction. Looking to the future, LLE is also developing technologies for a broadband, all-OPCPA (Optical Parametric Chirped-Pulse Amplification) laser system called the Optical Parametric Amplifier Line (OPAL), which will be capable of producing high-energy, 20-fs pulses. A potential future EP-OPAL using OMEGA EP beams to pump the final OPA stages could potentially produce ultra-intense pulses (>1023 W/cm2) that can be used to study ultra-relativistic phenomena.
Bio: Brian Kruschwitz is a Senior Scientist and group leader of the OMEGA EP System Science Group at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech (B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1992) and the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics (Ph.D. in 2007), where he studied under Prof. Thomas G. Brown and developed his dissertation on Complex-Coupled Distributed Feedback semiconductor lasers.
Prior to joining LLE in 2004, Brian was a member of the Research Labs at the Eastman Kodak Company, where he worked on a variety of development programs including optical storage heads, MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS)-based devices, motion picture film scanners, laser thermal print heads for graphic printers, and laser-based projection displays. Since joining LLE, he led projects to develop critical technologies for OMEGA EP, including the high-contrast Plasma Electrode Pockels Cell (PEPC) and the deformable-mirror based Wavefront Control System for OMEGA EP. As part of the System Science group, he was among the technical leaders during the integration and activation of the OMEGA EP laser system, and his group continues to provide ongoing technical oversight of the operation of OMEGA EP.