High Energy Density Physics (HEDP) Research Group

In order to understand laser-matter interactions in the high energy density conditions that are present in ultra-intense laser systems, scientists gain experimental data by striking a variety of engineered targets and examining the resulting radiation, fields, and particles that are generated in the reaction. Data is obtained using a network of specialized diagnostic devices and data storage systems. Large data sets are required in order to build reliable models of the ultra-intense regime.

Christmas Card with Santa Claus on a boat carrying a laser

The usability of current ultra-intense laser systems is limited by their low repetition rate. Typically, large-scale laser systems are only able to deliver several shots per day at most. One of the primary goals of the Scarlet laser is to reliably run experiments consisting of many more shots per day. This will allow us to more accurately model high energy density systems and to truly understand just what happens in ultra-intense laser-matter interactions.
 
Our laser system was initially designed for a peak power of 40 TW. Our upgrade, designed to reach 400 TW and intensities of 1021 W/cm2, was completed in the end of 2012.  We will perform a second upgrade in early 2015 to install a new interaction chamber and bring the laser up to intensities of 1022 W/cm2.
 
 

Scarlet Laser specifications:

400 TW System:

  • 1021 W/cm2 intensity
  • 400 TW peak power
  • 800 nanometer wavelength
  • 15 Joule per pulse
  • 40 femtosecond pulse width
  • 5 micron FWHM focal spot size
  • 1 shot/minute repetition rate
  • Greater than 1010:1 pulse contrast ratio

Laser Diagnostic devices:

  • On-shot energy
  • SPIDER Single Shot Pulse Width
  • On-shot intensity spectrum
  • Third-order Cross-Correlator for Pulse Contrast
  • On-shot focal spot diagnostic
  • Water-cell nanosecond pulse contrast
  • Spatial mode cameras
  • Spatial chirp diagnostic 

Experimental Diagnostic devices:

  • Electron/positron magnet based spectrometers
  • Thomson parabola ion spectrometer
  • Bremsstrahlung x-ray spectrometer (HXBS
  • 68 eV XUV imager
  • 256 eV XUV imager
  • 394 eV XUV imager developed in collaboration with BNL
  • Front and rear side HOPG x-ray spectrometer with flat crystals
  • Curved HAPG spectrometer and imager
  • Cu K-alpha imager based on spherically bent Bragg crystal
  • Zr K-alpha imager based on spherically bent Bragg crystal
  • Si He-alpha imager based on spherically bent Bragg crystal
  • Radiochromic film pack (RCF)
  • Single hit CCD spectrometer
  • Cherenkov spectrometer
  • Scintillator array
  • Neutron detector (scintillator based)
  • Image plate reader

Computational Capabilities (in-house):

  • Six-node computer cluster with four 2.1 GHz AMD Opteron Processors per node (total of 48 cores/node) and 130 GB of RAM per node
  • 10 TB RAID storage array
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