OMEGA EP ProjectMarch, 2003
LLE is launching a multi-year project to build a new ultra-high power laser to complement the ongoing mission of experiments conducted on the OMEGA laser. The new project—OMEGA EP (extended performance)—is a modern architecture 4 beam laser with special capabilities in short-pulse performance (2.6 kJ in a 1-ps pulse).
The new system consists of four, NIF-like laser beams, a new target chamber and a vacuum compression chamber to house the large aperture gratings all housed in a new facility. Two beams are based on OPCPA compression technology, producing high-energy, short pulses (2.6 kJ in 1 ps) that can be directed to either the new or existing OMEGA target chambers for fast-ignition ICF experiments or higher-intensity backlighting experiments. Alternatively, all four beams can be frequency tripled to UV light, producing 20 kJ in 1 to 10 ns pulses, then directed to the new target chamber for HED experiments.
The new OMEGA EP laser system will employ recent advances in ICF laser technology including an optical parametric, chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA), multipass laser amplifier architecture based on a 40-cm square beam aperture, and large aperture grating technology. OMEGA EP will also provide unique experimental opportunities when used in combination with the OMEGA lasers’ proven cryogenic target implosion capability. The combination of the two systems will result in the world’s only facility capable of fully integrated fast-ignition experiments. In addition, new types of HED physics experiments will be performed on this system.
The flexibility obtained with the new target chamber and the complementary capability to support both direct- and indirect-drive experiments combine to make OMEGA EP an important tool in achieving the ultimate goal for ICF experiments. Construction of the new facility will begin in summer of 2003 and initial operations of OMEGA EP are scheduled for fiscal year 2007.