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Vulcan to Produce Petawatt Pulses

Photonics Spectra
Jul 2002
The Nd:glass Vulcan laser at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, UK, was scheduled to produce its first petawatt-level laser pulse by June 30. At full operation, the near-IR laser is expected to produce about one 500-J, 500-fs pulse an hour, which should create pressures and temperatures similar to conditions found in stars.

The initial research with the device is scheduled for November -- when it will be used to study electron acceleration -- after a six-week commissioning run to optimize its targeting and diagnostics.

Researchers from Europe, the UK and the US will have access to the laser; however, similar lasers are under development in Japan and Germany. The US Department of Energy donated 208-mm glass laser amplifiers in return for access to the laser, which took £4.5 million and three years to upgrade to petawatt capacity.

Researchers from Europe, the UK and the US will have access to the laser; however, similar lasers are under development in Japan and Germany. The US Department of Energy donated 208-mm glass laser amplifiers in return for access to the laser, which took £4.5 million and three years to upgrade to petawatt capacity.

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