Strathclyde Orders Mirrors From Optical Surfaces

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KENLEY, England, Feb. 8, 2018 — Optical Surfaces Ltd. has received an order from the Strathclyde Intense Laser Interaction Studies (SILIS) Group at the University of Strathclyde for three ultrahigh-performance off-axis parabolic mirrors in special custom vacuum motorized mounts.

The mounted mirrors will be used on several beamlines of the facility’s 350-TW laser, which is designed to support an extensive research portfolio in laser-plasma physics and multidisciplinary applications, with an emphasis on radiation sources and healthcare applications.

The SILIS Group is one of the main collaborators of Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators (SCAPA), an £8 million ($11.2 million) research facility. SCAPA houses laser systems, including the 350-TW laser, a 40-TW laser and three radiation shielded bunkers, which have space for up to seven beamlines. Each beamline is uniquely designed to focus on a specific category of laser-plasma interactions and secondary sources. A variety of photon and particle beams will be produced at SCAPA and utilized for multi-faceted R&D ranging from fundamental research in ionization and plasma effects, to advanced university-scale applications arising from plasma-based light sources such as free-electron lasers, betatron radiation and inverse Compton scattering.

Three SCAPA beamlines will use Optical Surfaces’ ultrahigh precision off-axis parabolic mirrors, each manufactured with different focal lengths. The first one, produced with a 2000-mm focal length, aims at investigating acceleration of high-quality electron and x-ray beams via underdense plasma and high intense laser interaction. The second one uses a pair of 1000-mm focal length off-axis parabolic mirrors as part of double plasma mirrors system to further enhance the contrast of the 350-TW SCAPA laser system. The third beamline, which uses the 210-mm focal length off-axis parabolic mirror, will be dedicated to the investigation of ultrahigh-contrast, ultra-intense laser-plasma interactions for laser-driven ion beam R&D.

"In all of the beamlines, the quality of the produced/accelerated particles (electrons or ions) and x-ray radiation is highly dependent on the quality of the focus spot produced by the off-axis parabolas,” said Grace Manahan, a SCAPA and SILIS Group research associate. “This means that as the high-power laser beam propagates onto the parabola, it should experience virtually no wavefront distortion so that the focus spot is high quality (i.e. no astigmatism or distortion). The surface quality of the off-axis parabolic mirrors and the level of stability provided by their mountings are of vital importance in our supplier selection processes.”

Optical Surfaces is a producer of optical components and systems.

Published: February 2018
BusinessOptical SurfacesStrathclyde Intense Laser Interaction StudiesUniversity of StrathclydeLasersmirrorsEurope

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