Abstract: Abstract Soft x-rays were applied to induce graphitization of diamond through a non-thermal solid-to-solid phase transition. This process was observed within poly-crystalline diamond with a time-resolved experiment using ultrashort soft x-ray pulses of duration 52.5 fs and cross correlated by an optical pulse of duration 32.8 fs. This scheme enabled for the first time the measurement of a phase transition on a timescale of ∼150 fs. Excellent agreement between experiment and theoretical predictions was found, using a dedicated code that followed the non-equilibrium evolution of the irradiated diamond including all transient electronic and structural changes. These observations confirm that soft x-rays can induce a non-thermal ultrafast solid-to-solid phase transition on a hundred femtosecond timescale.
Abstract: The pulse duration, and, more generally, the temporal intensity profile of free-electron laser (FEL) pulses, is of utmost importance for exploring the new perspectives offered by FELs; it is a nontrivial experimental parameter that needs to be characterized. We measured the pulse shape of an extreme ultraviolet externally seeded FEL operating in high-gain harmonic generation mode. Two different methods based on the cross-correlation of the FEL pulses with an external optical laser were used. The two methods, one capable of single-shot performance, may both be implemented as online diagnostics in FEL facilities. The measurements were carried out at the seeded FEL facility FERMI. The FEL temporal pulse characteristics were measured and studied in a range of FEL wavelengths and machine settings, and they were compared to the predictions of a theoretical model. The measurements allowed a direct observation of the pulse lengthening and splitting at saturation, in agreement with the proposed theory.
Abstract: High power OPCPAs above 10 W at short-wave IR wavelengths (SWIR: 1.4 - 3 μm) may be limited because of thermal heat dissipation in the nonlinear crystals. In this work we provide up-to-date measurements of the absorption coefficients of the nonlinear crystals used at these wavelengths and simulations of the thermal effects on critical parameters. In particular, power scaling limits will be discussed.
Abstract: The Free-electron LASer in Hamburg (FLASH) has been extended with a new undulator line FLASH2 in 2014. A compact grazing-incident wide-spectral-range spectrometer based on spherical-variable-line-spacing (SVLS) gratings in the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) region was constructed to optimize and characterize the free-electron laser (FEL) performance at FLASH2. The spectrometer is equipped with three different concave SVLS gratings covering a spectral range from 1 to 62 nm to analyze the spectral characteristics of the XUV radiation. Wavelength calibration and evaluation of the spectral resolution were performed at the plane grating monochromator beamline PG2 at FLASH1 before the installation at FLASH2, and compared with analytical simulations. The first light using self-amplified spontaneous emission from FLASH2 was observed by the spectrometer during a simultaneous operation of both undulator lines — FLASH1 and FLASH2. In addition, the spectral resolution of the spectrometer was evaluated by comparing the measured spectrum from FLASH2 with FEL simulations.
Abstract: Extreme-ultraviolet to x-ray free-electron lasers (FELs) in operation for scientific applications are up to now single-user facilities. While most FELs generate around 100 photon pulses per second, FLASH at DESY can deliver almost two orders of magnitude more pulses in this time span due to its superconducting accelerator technology. This makes the facility a prime candidate to realize the next step in FELs — dividing the electron pulse trains into several FEL lines and delivering photon pulses to several users at the same time. Hence, FLASH has been extended with a second undulator line and self-amplified spontaneous emission (SASE) is demonstrated in both FELs simultaneously. FLASH can now deliver MHz pulse trains to two user experiments in parallel with individually selected photon beam characteristics. First results of the capabilities of this extension are shown with emphasis on independent variation of wavelength, repetition rate, and photon pulse length.
Abstract: High repetition rate free-electron lasers (FEL), producing highly intense extreme ultraviolet and x-ray pulses, require new high power tunable femtosecond lasers for FEL seeding and FEL pump-probe experiments. A tunable, 112 W (burst mode) optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifier (OPCPA) is demonstrated with center frequencies ranging from 720–900 nm, pulse energies up to 1.12 mJ and a pulse duration of 30 fs at a repetition rate of 100 kHz. Since the power scalability of this OPCPA is limited by the OPCPA-pump amplifier, we also demonstrate a 6.7–13.7 kW (burst mode) thin-disk OPCPA-pump amplifier, increasing the possible OPCPA output power to many hundreds of watts. Furthermore, third and fourth harmonic generation experiments are performed and the results are used to simulate a seeded FEL with high-gain harmonic generation.
Abstract: The potential of borate crystals, BBO, LBO and BiBO, for high average power scaling of optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifiers is investigated. Up-to-date measurements of the absorption coefficients at 515 nm and the thermal conductivities are presented. The measured absorption coefficients are a factor of 10–100 lower than reported by the literature for BBO and LBO. For BBO, a large variation of the absorption coefficients was found between crystals from different manufacturers. The linear and nonlinear absorption coefficients at 515 nm as well as thermal conductivities were determined for the first time for BiBO. Further, different crystal cooling methods are presented. In addition, the limits to power scaling of OPCPAs are discussed.
Abstract: Optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifiers with high average power are possible with novel high-power Yb:YAG amplifiers with kW-level output powers. We demonstrate a compact wavelength-tunable sub-30-fs amplifier with 11.4 W average power with 20.7% pump-to-signal conversion efficiency. For parametric amplification, a beta-barium borate crystal is pumped by a 140 W, 1 ps Yb:YAG InnoSlab amplifier at 3.25 MHz repetition rate. The broadband seed is generated via supercontinuum generation in a YAG crystal.
Abstract: A conceptual design of a high power, ultrabroadband optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifier(OPCPA) was carried out comparing nonlinear crystals (LBO and BBO) for 810 nm centered, sub-7.0 fspulses with energies above 1 mJ. These amplifiers are only possible with a parallel development ofkilowatt-level OPCPA-pump amplifiers. It is therefore important to know good strategies to use theavailable OPCPA-pump energy efficiently. Numerical simulations, including self- and cross-phasemodulation, were used to investigate the critical parameters to achieve sufficient spectral andspatial quality. At high output powers, thermal absorption in the nonlinear crystals starts todegrade the output beam quality. Strategies to minimize thermal effects and limits to the maximumaverage power are discussed.
Abstract: The long-term stability of optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifiers is hindered by thermal path length drifts affecting the temporal pump-to-signal overlap. A kilowatt-pumped burst amplifier is presented delivering broadband 1.4 mJ pulses with a spectral bandwidth supporting sub-7 fs pulse duration. Active temporal overlap control can be achieved by feedback of optical timing signals from cross-correlation or spectral measurements. Using a balanced optical cross-correlator, we achieve a pump-to-signal synchronization with a residual jitter of only (46 ± 2) fs rms. Additionally, we propose passive pump-to-signal stabilization with an intrinsic jitter of (7.0 ± 0.5) fs rms using white-light continuum generation.
Abstract: The resolution of ultrafast studies performed at extreme ultraviolet and X-ray free-electron lasers is still limited by shot-to-shot variations of the temporal pulse characteristics. Here we show a versatile single-shot temporal diagnostic tool that allows the determination of the extreme ultraviolet pulse duration and the relative arrival time with respect to an external pump-probe laser pulse. This method is based on time-resolved optical probing of the transient reflectivity change due to linear absorption of the extreme ultraviolet pulse within a solid material. In this work, we present measurements performed at the FLASH free-electron laser. We determine the pulse duration at two distinct wavelengths, yielding (184 ± 14) fs at 41.5 nm and (21 ± 19) fs at 5.5 nm. Furthermore, we demonstrate the feasibility to operate the tool as an online diagnostic by using a 20-nm-thin Si_(3)N_(4) membrane as target. Our results are supported by detailed numerical and analytical investigations.
Abstract: Attosecond science is enabled by the ability to convert femtosecond near-infrared laser light into coherent harmonics in the extreme ultraviolet spectral range. While attosecond sources have been utilized in experiments that have not demanded high intensities, substantially higher photon flux would provide a natural link to the next significant experimental breakthrough. Numerical simulations of dual-gas high harmonic generation indicate that the output in the cutoff spectral region can be selectively enhanced without disturbing the single-atom gating mechanism. Here, we summarize the results of these simulations and present first experimental findings to support these predictions.
Abstract: An Yb:YAG thin-disk multipass laser amplifier system was developed operating in a 10 Hz burst operation mode with 800 µs burst duration and 100 kHz intra-burst repetition rate. Methods for the suppression of parasitic amplified spontaneous emission are presented. The average output pulse energy is up to 44.5 mJ and 820 fs compressed pulse duration. The average power of 4.45 kW during the burst is the highest reported for this type of amplifier.