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. (Credit: LLNL)

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 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.”

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.

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.