10,000th Shot on the Multi-Terawatt Laser
On May 26, 2020, the Multi-Terawatt (MTW) Laser operational team celebrated their 10,000th laser shot. The first shot on the MTW laser, a midscale system built initially as the prototype front end for OMEGA EP, was taken in 2004. Since that time, a compression chamber along with three target chambers have been added, the maximum energy was increased, and the temporal contrast improved, making MTW a complete facility for plasma-physics research, laser technology development, and development of target diagnostics. 535 campaigns have been carried out on MTW for external and internal users, using pulse durations from 500 fs to 2.8 ns, energies up to 120 J, and wavelengths centered at 1053 nm or 2ω, 4ω, and 5ω harmonics. The milestone shot was taken in support of an external campaign for L3Harris Technologies (L3H), a global aerospace and defense technology company with local roots. The image shows Collin Stillman, L3H Scientist and LLE Ph.D. graduate, standing next to the MTW compression chamber, overlooking the target chamber. In the background is Ildar Begishev, MTW Shot Director and LLE Research Engineer. Two-color, laser-shearing interferometry (see inset) is used to infer spatially resolved density profiles within the ablation plume and to monitor plasma expansion into a low-density background gas. The inset image was taken during the 10,000th shot.