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PALS - Prague Asterix Laser System

Hosting institution: Institute of Plasma Physics of the CAS
Partner institution: Institute of Physics of the CAS
Provider: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
Project title: Prague Asterix Laser System
Acronym: PALS
LI's code: LM2015083
Responsible person: Jiří Ullschmied
Time period: 1/1/2016 - 31/12/2019
Total costs: 44,814,000 CZK

Background information

PALS belongs to the founding members of the LASERLAB EUROPE (Integrated Initiative of European Laser Research Infrastructures). Its main experimental facility is a pulsed terawatt iodine laser, capable of delivering up to 1 kJ of energy in an infrared subnanosecond pulse with an intensity of up to 30 PW/cm2. Its relatively high repetition rate, high beam quality, use of red and blue harmonics of the fundamental frequency, additional XUV laser and versatile target chamber with rich diagnostic equipment makes it one of the most in demand lasers for users in Europe. Auxiliary femtosecond beam lines extend its capabilities with tools for femtosecond probing of plasma and double-pulse experiments with synchronized fs and ns beams. PALS helps to cover European demand for kilojoule-class lasers. Its flexible laser systems are well suited for experimental studies of the interaction of intense laser radiation with matter, thermonuclear and laboratory astrophysical experiments and for developing and testing a variety of applications requiring large volumes of hot and dense plasmas. PALS offers experimental background for development of plasma-based accelerators of charged particle and plasma clusters, of high-intensity XUV radiation sources, in particular of plasma lasers, and amplifiers operating in the soft x-ray region. It provides its domestic and foreign users with full scientific, technical and logistical support, including access to data networks and optical testing laboratories. PALS helped develop the expertise necessary for the Czech Republic to participate in the projects of pan-European research infrastructures HiPER (High Power Laser Energy for Research) and ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure). Jointly with partners from LASERLAB EUROPE it carries out joint research and serves as a development and testing site and a training centre for young researchers. PALS cooperates closely with laser research infrastructures ELI and HiLASE and in the framework program Horizon 2020 it participates in the research of energy production by means of inertial fusion.

Future development

Technological and structural modernization of PALS assumes replacement of measurement and control systems. PALS future developments will consist of the introduction of new advanced methods of plasma diagnostics with extreme temporal and spatial resolution. Due to the increasing number of days with high humidity, appropriate technical measures to reduce operating humidity in the laser laboratories are also foreseen. With regard to the lifetime of the energy sources these devices will be gradually replaced. An option is also upgrading the main laser using gas-cooled diode-pumped solid-state laser amplifiers. After bringing ELI-Beamlines into operational phase work of PALS will be coordinated with the programme of that research infrastructure.

Socio-economic impact

New laser technologies belong to the key incentives for a variety of innovative applications and products in many areas of life in modern society, such as medicine, science, energy, environment, informatics, and electronic industry. Laser fusion represents an alternative on the way to cheap energy for the next millennia. Laser research infrastructures such as PALS help effectively stimulate the demand for laser, vacuum and instrumentation technologies and electronic systems being developed and supplied by Czech high-tech companies.

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