LLNL, ELI-Beamlines reach deal to ramp up L3-HAPLS performance

ELI beamlines (Download Image)

The High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS) — the world’s most advanced and highest average power diode-pumped petawatt laser system—was designed, developed, and constructed in only three years by the NIF & Photon Science Directorate’s Advanced Photon Technologies Program.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and ELI-Beamlines in the Czech Republic have reached a major agreement that will build on the relationship between the two organizations and ramp up performance of the L3-High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (L3-HAPLS) to its full design capabilities.

The Strategic Partnership Project (SPP) agreement, which was reached on Dec. 1, 2021, aims to enable the L3-HAPLS laser to operate at the petawatt (PW) level with a 10 Hz repetition rate for experiments. This will put ELI-Beamlines in a leading position among the world’s laser facilities.

The L3-HAPLS laser was designed and built by LLNL, a world leader in the development of high-repetition-rate high peak-power laser technology.

We are truly happy to start this new phase of collaboration with LLNL,” said Bedřich Rus, leader of the ELI-Beamlines laser program. “The L3-HAPLS laser is already in high demand for experiments at one-half petawatt peak power and bringing its performance to one petawatt with 10 Hz repetition rate will make possible accessing entirely new regimes of high-average power laser-plasma interactions. We are very much looking forward to working again with our colleagues and friends from LLNL.

“This agreement continues a great relationship between ELI-Beamlines and LLNL on one of the world’s most advanced rep-rated ultrafast laser systems,” said LLNL’s Vincent Tang, program director for the High Energy Density and Photon Systems organization in the National Ignition Facility & Photon Science Directorate. “Our partnership will help both teams move robustly into high-rep-rate, high-throughput laser-driven high energy density science to answer fundamental and mission science questions significantly faster.”

The main objectives of the agreement are to:

  • Ramp performance of the L3-HAPLS laser system to PW peak power and the designed 10 Hz repetition rate.
  • Share long-term performance data and operational experience relating to the L3-HAPLS laser system.
  • Cooperate in the utilization of ELI-Beamlines laser systems for scientific experiments exploiting the combination of high peak power and high repetition rate.
  • Continue the LLNL and ELI-Beamlines partnership in the development of next-generation high-power ultrafast laser technologies.

“Ultimately, the success of L3-HAPLS is dependent on the laser delivering new science in ELI-Beamlines experimental areas,” said Tom Spinka, the program element leader for Laser Development in NIF&PS’s Advanced Photon Technologies (APT) group. He said that collaborating on the scientific use of ELI-Beamlines’ laser systems also is exciting, given LLNL’s world-class expertise in HED science, diagnostics and modeling of laser-matter interactions.

Emily Link, LLNL’s technical lead for the project, is eager to get started. “HAPLS was one of the first major projects that I worked on when I got to the Lab, and it was an amazing experience to help build it,” she said. “It is wonderful to have the opportunity to work with colleagues and friends at ELI to ramp HAPLS to its full specifications.”

Under the agreement, LLNL will provide ELI-Beamlines expert support, analysis and planning, and specific hardware and spares, for robust performance ramping and operation of L3-HAPLS at full performance parameters. ELI-Beamlines will provide trained personnel and specialists to conduct testing, experiments and hardware adjustments necessary for ramping.

In a Feb. 3, 2021, demonstration, ELI-Beamlines achieved a significant accomplishment with L3-HAPLS operating at about one-half petawatt, generating compressed pulses with 13.3 joules of energy and a duration of 27.3 femtoseconds at 3⅓ hertz repetition rate and 44 watts of average power. With a continuing increase in performance, the teams do not anticipate major issues to ramping to full performance and achieving better science results, according to Tang and Spinka.

The SPP agreement was successfully completed through the contributions of many LLNL staff, including Tang, Spinka, Link, Mariann Albrecht, Kelly Trudeau, Ann Lee, Jonathan Celniker, Dave Dawes, Sophy Yano, Julia Chaffin and Pam Utley.

—Jon Kawamoto