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Petawatt Laser Systems

Using pulsed laser radiation, scientist are able to generate the highest output powers and intensities currently achievable in a laboratory environment. Laser pulses with a duration on the order of femtoseconds (1 fs = 10-15 s) can be amplified to energies of several 10 to 100 joule. Throughout the world, peak powers between 100 terawatt (1 TW = 1012 W) and 1 petawatt (1 PW = 1015 W) have been reached using such pulses. If focussed on an area of a few µm2, light intensitites of 1021 W/cm2 may be generated in the laboratory. The technology necessary for the construction and application of these high-power laser systems is continually being developed further at the Helmholtz Institute Jena. With experiments settings constantly growing demands, steady improvements to the existing laser technology are essential. Within the Helmholtz Institute Jena, and in close collaboration with national, notably in the Helmholtz Association, and international partners, a unique research network has been established, aiming at the simultaneous advancement of experimental possibilites and high-power laser sources.

View into the pulse compressor of the POLARIS laser system.
View into the pulse compressor of the POLARIS laser system.