HIBEF Laser Systems
High energy and high intensity lasers are essential for pushing back the boundaries of science. Their development has allowed leaps forward in basic research areas including laser-plasma interaction, high energy density science, metrology, biology and medical technology.
The HIBEF user consortium will contribute and operate two high power optical lasers at the HED station. These lasers, installed on top of the HED experimental hutch, will be used to generate transient extreme states of density and temperature to be probed by the European XFEL beam.
The High Intensity Laser
The High Intensity (HI) laser is capable of directly accelerating of electrons by the sheer pressure of the incident light to velocities close to the speed of light, easily reaching a relativistic regime for electron motion.
The extreme conditions generated in the focal spot of a relativistic laser pulse can be illustrated with an example. If we calculate the energy density in a typical focal spot, we find similar energy densities (energy in a volume) as in the sun’s thermonuclear core. The light pressure that is under normal conditions negligible reaches values of billions of bar (1 bar is the ambient pressure at sea level). This is the basis of the wide ranging potential applications of this very powerful laser.
The HI laser is a commercial 300 TW Titanium Sapphire laser system with pulse duration as short as 25 fs and will, in combination with the XFEL, enable us to probe novel investigations in areas of:
- properties of highly-excited solids
- high energy density states of matter
- probing QED effects
- ionization dynamics at high intensities
- relativistic laser plasma interaction
- energetic particle propagation in matter
- the production of secondary high energy photon and particle radiation sources
- application laser driven radiation sources for material, biological and medical sciences.
The HI laser system will be delivered and installed Q2 2018 on site at XFEL by Amplitude Technologies. The optical compressor, beam transport and diagnostic package is currently under design and manufacturing as contributions from HZDR. We expect user operation to begin in Q1 2019 after a commissioning and integration phase into the HED end-station.
The High Energy Laser
The High Energy (HE) laser DIPOLE 100-X is an all diode pumped 100 J class Neodymium glass based laser, manufactured by STFC CLF and the University of Oxford as part of the UK HiBEF consortium, which will allow the generation of extreme density and pressure conditions by means of laser driven shock and ramp compression. The highly energetic laser pulses heat and ionize the surface of a solid target, forming a rapidly expanding plasma. By the rocket principle, this transfers momentum to the target and hence drives compression waves into the remaining, still solid, material. The highly compressed states of matter generated are relevant to terrestrial and extra-terrestrial planetary science, geophysics and the science of materials under extreme conditions, which will be studied in combination with the XFEL probe enabling insights in areas of:
- probing conditions similar to Jovian and Neptunian cores
- equation of state and exotic phase transitions
- novel materials