Dr. Robert Riedel
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: 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.
Universität Hamburg, Fakultät für Mathematik, Informatik und Naturwissenschaften (2013)
Abstract: The full scientific potential of high repetition rate free-electron lasers is still not exploited. The attainable resolution of time-resolved experiments is limited by fluctuating temporal pulse properties due to the self-amplified spontaneous emission process. To overcome this limitation, the temporal characterization of free-electron laser pulses was improved by the development of a single-shot temporal pulse metrology tool, based on a solid-state cross-correlation technique. The method is based on probing the optical transmission change of a transparent solid material pumped by a free-electron laser pulse. A comprehensive theoretical model allows the reconstruction of the free-electron laser pulse structure. Pulse duration measurements were performed at the Free-Electron Laser in Hamburg, FLASH, yielding 184 fs at 41.5 nm wavelength and sub-40 fs at 5.5 nm. Online measurements during a running experiment are possible with a residual soft-X-ray transmission of 10-45%. A resolution of sub-10 fs can be attained, provided that sufficiently short optical probe pulses are available.
Achieving the full performance of high repetition rate free-electron lasers, such as FLASH, requires also optical laser systems with a high repetition rate. A novel burst-mode optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifier is being developed for high-resolution pump-probe experiments and seeding of FLASH at its full repetition rate of 100 kHz-1 MHz. In this work, a first prototype was tested, delivering 1.4 mJ pulse energy and a spectral bandwidth supporting sub-7 fs pulse duration at 27.5 kHz intra-burst repetition rate. A passive pump-to-signal synchronization method was developed for long-term stability with sub-7 fs root mean square jitter between pump and signal pulses. The developed amplifier technology is scalable to high average powers for the future generation of kilowatt-pumped ultrashort laser amplifiers.
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.
Abstract: The accurate control of the relative phase of multiple distinct sources of radiation produced by high harmonic generation is of central importance in the continued development of coherent extreme UV (XUV) and attosecond sources. Here, we present a novel approach which allows extremely accurate phase control between multiple sources of high harmonic radiation generated within the Rayleigh range of a single-femtosecond laser pulse using a dual-gas, multi-jet array. Fully ionized hydrogen acts as a purely passive medium and allows highly accurate control of the relative phase between each harmonic source. Consequently, this method allows quantum path selection and rapid signal growth via the full coherent superposition of multiple HHG sources (the so-called quasi-phase-matching). Numerical simulations elucidate the complex interplay between the distinct quantum paths observed in our proof-of-principle experiments.
Abstract: High harmonic generation (HHG) is a central driver of the rapidly growing field of ultrafast science. We present a novel quasiphase-matching (QPM) concept with a dual-gas multijet target leading, for the first time, to remarkable phase control between multiple HHG sources (>2) within the Rayleigh range. The alternating jet structure with driving and matching zones shows perfect coherent buildup for up to six QPM periods. Although not in the focus of the proof-of-principle studies presented here, we achieved competitive conversion efficiencies already in this early stage of development.
Abstract: We report on a Yb:YAG Innoslab laser amplifier system for generation of subpicsecond high energy pump pulses for optical parametric chirped pulse amplification (OPCPA) at high repetition rates. Pulse energies of up to 20 mJ (at 12.5 kHz) and repetition rates of up to 100 kHz were attained with pulse durations of 830 fs and average power in excess of 200 W. We further investigate the possibility to use subpicosecond pulses to derive a stable continuum in a YAG crystal for OPCPA seeding.