High Power Laser Science and Engineering
Colin Danson, Jianqiang Zhu
Andreas Döpp, Christoph Eberle, Sunny Howard, Faran Irshad, Jinpu Lin, and Matthew Streeter

Laser-plasma physics has developed rapidly over the past few decades as lasers have become both more powerful and more widely available. Early experimental and numerical research in this field was dominated by single-shot experiments with limited parameter exploration. However, recent technological improvements make it possible to gather data for hundreds or thousands of different settings in both experiments and simulations. This has sparked interest in using advanced techniques from mathematics, statistics and computer science to deal with, and benefit from, big data. At the same time, sophisticated modeling techniques also provide new ways for researchers to deal effectively with situation where still only sparse data are available. This paper aims to present an overview of relevant machine learning methods with focus on applicability to laser-plasma physics and its important sub-fields of laser-plasma acceleration and inertial confinement fusion.

May. 30, 2023
  • Vol. 11 Issue 5 05000e55 (2023)
  • Scott Feister, Kevin Cassou, Stephen Dann, Andreas Döpp, Philippe Gauron, Anthony J. Gonsalves, Archis Joglekar, Victoria Marshall, Olivier Neveu, Hans-Peter Schlenvoigt, Matthew J. V. Streeter, and Charlotte A. J. Palmer

    The next generation of high-power lasers enables repetition of experiments at orders of magnitude higher frequency than what was possible using the prior generation. Facilities requiring human intervention between laser repetitions need to adapt in order to keep pace with the new laser technology. A distributed networked control system can enable laboratory-wide automation and feedback control loops. These higher-repetition-rate experiments will create enormous quantities of data. A consistent approach to managing data can increase data accessibility, reduce repetitive data-software development and mitigate poorly organized metadata. An opportunity arises to share knowledge of improvements to control and data infrastructure currently being undertaken. We compare platforms and approaches to state-of-the-art control systems and data management at high-power laser facilities, and we illustrate these topics with case studies from our community.

    Jun. 15, 2023
  • Vol. 11 Issue 5 05000e56 (2023)
  • Hu Huang, Tanya Z. Kosc, Terrance J. Kessler, and Stavros G. Demos

    Transverse stimulated Raman scattering (TSRS) in potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP) and deuterated potassium dihydrogen phosphate (DKDP) plates for large-aperture, inertial confinement fusion (ICF)-class laser systems is a well-recognized limitation giving rise to parasitic energy conversion and laser-induced damage. The onset of TSRS is manifested in plates exposed to the ultraviolet section of the beam. TSRS amplification is a coherent process that grows exponentially and is distributed nonuniformly in the crystal and at the crystal surfaces. To understand the growth and spatial distribution of TSRS energy in various configurations, a modeling approach has been developed to simulate the operational conditions relevant to ICF-class laser systems. Specific aspects explored in this work include (i) the behavior of TSRS in large-aperture crystal plates suitable for third-harmonic generation and use as wave plates for polarization control in current-generation ICF-class laser system configurations; (ii) methods, and their limitations, of TSRS suppression and (iii) optimal geometries to guide future designs.

    Jun. 14, 2023
  • Vol. 11 Issue 5 05000e54 (2023)
  • Dongao Li, Guobo Zhang, Jie Zhao, Yanting Hu, Yu Lu, Hao Zhang, Qianni Li, Dongze Zhang, Rong Sha, Fuqiu Shao, Zhengming Sheng, and Tongpu Yu

    Relativistic few-cycle mid-infrared (mid-IR) pulses are unique tools for strong-field physics and ultrafast science, but are difficult to generate with traditional nonlinear optical methods. Here, we propose a scheme to generate such pulses with high efficiency via plasma-based frequency modulation with a negatively chirped laser pulse (NCLP). The NCLP is rapidly compressed longitudinally due to dispersion and plasma etching, and its central frequency is downshifted via photon deceleration due to the enhanced laser intensity and plasma density modulations. Simulation results show that few-cycle mid-IR pulses with the maximum center wavelength of $7.9\;\unicode{x3bc} \mathrm{m}$ and pulse intensity of ${a}_{\mathrm{MIR}}=2.9$ can be generated under a proper chirp parameter. Further, the maximum energy conversion efficiency can approach 5.0%. Such a relativistic mid-IR source is promising for a wide range of applications.

    Jun. 23, 2023
  • Vol. 11 Issue 5 05000e57 (2023)
  • Jian-Long Li, Bo-Yuan Li, Xin-Zhe Zhu, Ze-Wu Bi, Xin-Hui Wen, Lin Lu, Xiao-Hui Yuan, Feng Liu, and Min Chen

    Straight plasma channels are widely used to guide relativistic intense laser pulses over several Rayleigh lengths for laser wakefield acceleration. Recently, a curved plasma channel with gradually varied curvature was suggested to guide a fresh intense laser pulse and merge it into a straight channel for staged wakefield acceleration [Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 154801 (2018)]. In this work, we report the generation of such a curved plasma channel from a discharged capillary. Both longitudinal and transverse density distributions of the plasma inside the channel were diagnosed by analyzing the discharging spectroscopy. Effects of the gas-filling mode, back pressure and discharging voltage on the plasma density distribution inside the specially designed capillary are studied. Experiments show that a longitudinally uniform and transversely parabolic plasma channel with a maximum channel depth of 47.5 μm and length of 3 cm can be produced, which is temporally stable enough for laser guiding. Using such a plasma channel, a laser pulse with duration of 30 fs has been successfully guided along the channel with the propagation direction bent by 10.4°.

    May. 25, 2023
  • Vol. 11 Issue 5 05000e58 (2023)
  • Ying’an Chen, Yicheng Zhou, Zhipeng Qin, Guoqiang Xie, Peng Yuan, Jingui Ma, and Liejia Qian

    Spatiotemporal mode-locking creates great opportunity for pulse energy scaling and nonlinear optics research in fiber. Until now, spatiotemporal mode-locking has only been realized in normal-dispersion dissipative soliton and similariton fiber lasers. In this paper, we demonstrated the first experimental realization of a spatiotemporally mode-locked soliton laser in mid-infrared fluoride fiber with anomalous dispersion. The mode-locked fluoride fiber oscillator directly generated a record pulse energy of 16.1 nJ and peak power of 74.6 kW at 2.8 μm wavelength. This work extends the spatiotemporal mode-locking to soliton fiber lasers and should have a wide interest for the laser community.

    Jul. 05, 2023
  • Vol. 11 Issue 5 05000e59 (2023)
  • Yuxing Han, Hongchao Cao, Fanyu Kong, Yunxia Jin, and Jianda Shao

    Maximizing the energy-loading performance of gratings is a universal theme in high-energy pulse compression. However, sporadic grating designs strongly restrict the development of high-power laser engineering. This study proposes an all- and mixed-dielectric grating design paradigm for Nd:glass-based pulse compressors. The solution regions are classified according to the line density. High diffraction efficiency solutions are described in more detail based on the dispersion amount and incident angle. Moreover, an energy scaling factor of 7.09 times larger than that of the National Ignition Facility’s Advanced Radiographic Capability (NIF-ARC) is obtained by taking advantage of the low electric field intensity at transverse magnetic polarization and a small incident angle. These results make a pioneering contribution to facilitate future 20–50-petawatt-class ultrafast laser systems.

    Sep. 18, 2023
  • Vol. 11 Issue 5 05000e60 (2023)
  • Wenyun Du, Meiping Zhu, Jun Shi, Tianbao Liu, Jian Sun, Kui Yi, and Jianda Shao

    The laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT) of plate laser beam splitter (PLBS) coatings is closely related to the subsurface absorption defects of the substrate. Herein, a two-step deposition temperature method is proposed to understand the effect of substrate subsurface impurity defects on the LIDT of PLBS coatings. Firstly, BK7 substrates are heat-treated at three different temperatures. The surface morphology and subsurface impurity defect distribution of the substrate before and after the heat treatment are compared. Then, a PLBS coating consisting of alternating HfO2–Al2O3 mixture and SiO2 layers is designed to achieve a beam-splitting ratio (transmittance to reflectance, s-polarized light) of approximately 50:50 at 1053 nm and an angle of incidence of 45°, and it is prepared under four different deposition processes. The experimental and simulation results show that the subsurface impurity defects of the substrate migrate to the surface and accumulate on the surface during the heat treatment, and become absorption defect sources or nodule defect seeds in the coating, reducing the LIDT of the coating. The higher the heat treatment temperature, the more evident the migration and accumulation of impurity defects. A lower deposition temperature (at which the coating can be fully oxidized) helps to improve the LIDT of the PLBS coating. When the deposition temperature is 140°C, the LIDT (s-polarized light, wavelength: 1064 nm, pulse width: 9 ns, incident angle: 45°) of the PLBS coating is 26.2 J/cm2, which is approximately 6.7 times that of the PLBS coating deposited at 200°C. We believe that the investigation into the laser damage mechanism of PLBS coatings will help to improve the LIDT of coatings with partial or high transmittance at laser wavelengths.

    May. 25, 2023
  • Vol. 11 Issue 5 05000e61 (2023)
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