ELI-ALPS Research Institute Opens Its Doors, Develops Mid-IR Laser

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The Extreme Light Infrastructure Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ELI-ALPS) Research Institute has opened and become operational.

The research institute’s mid-IR laser has been developed in a joint research and development project led by Fastlite, with the participation of ELI-ALPS colleagues for approximately €1.6 million ($1.9 million). This system has been successfully installed in ELI-ALPS and is the first to have passed the site acceptance test. 

The institute’s high-repetition-rate laser has been developed by a consortium of the University of Jena, the Fraunhofer Institute and Active Fiber Systems GmbH for approximately €3 million ($3.6 million).

“The now-operational mid-IR laser is unique, as it provides energetic, few optical cycle laser pulses tunable over a broad range of the mid-IR regime,” said Károly Osvay, the research technology director of ELI-ALPS. “This system surpasses the current ones, not only in peak power by a factor of three to five, but also in operational stability. The high-repetition-rate laser is unique also from its architecture and design. This is the very first research-grade short pulse laser [that] is based on the well-established diode and fiber laser technologies, combining it with the advanced methods of pulse shortening and phase stabilization. The result is a robust, yet tabletop laser system providing two optical cycle pulses at [a] 100-kHz repetition rate with a 24-hour, long shot-to-shot stability.”

The R&D tender for the design, implementation and startup of the terahertz source was won by the University of Pécs in Hungary for €2.7 million ($3.2 million). The driver laser is operating under full specifications, while the terahertz source and spectroscopy devices are under the final adjustments.

“These systems will serve as a driving source for novel short wavelength radiation sources of ultrashort pulses that will be dedicated to the investigation of ultrafast electric charge dynamics in atoms, molecules, biomolecules, surfaces and nanomaterials,” said Dimitris Charalambidis, chief scientific advisor of ELI-ALPS. “The mid-IR source will be a special new device for physicists, chemists, biologists [and] biophysicists.”

ELI-ALPS is a European research center that aims to provide the international research community with laser pulses and further sources based on them.

Published: November 2017
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