NSF OPAL Facility Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure (RI-1) Design Award

This award supports the design of two 25-petawatt lasers using optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification, as well as associated experimental and diagnostics systems. The design will be guided by the most pressing scientific questions that can be answered using such a laser system in four areas of frontier research:

    • Particle Acceleration and Advanced Light Sources (PAALS)
    • High-Field Physics and Quantum Electrodynamics (HFP/QED)
    • Laboratory Astrophysics and Planetary Physics (LAPP)
    • Laser-Driven Nuclear Physics (LDNP)

The main aims of the project are:

  1. Design the NSF OPAL Facility (including lasers, experimental systems, and diagnostics) to address a wide array of compelling science questions
  2. Design and prototype high-energy laser amplifiers with shot-cycle times of a few minutes
  3. Design and prototype large-optics production and characterization systems

The NSF OPAL Facility is envisioned to serve as a learning environment and a hub for diverse scientific networks, offering opportunities for fundamental research, innovation, and societal benefit.

This award will support the University of Rochester, the University of California, Irvine, the University at Buffalo, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Maryland, College Park, The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and Plymouth Grating Laboratory.

OPAL logo.

Join a Frontier Science Working Group

To participate in defining the needs for future experiments, fill out the NSF OPAL Users Group Interest Form

QR code to EP OPAL Users Group Interest Form.

Principal Investigators

Franklin Dollar.


Franklin Dollar



Antonino Di Piazza

University of Rochester

Principal Investigator (PI)

Jon Zuegel

University of Rochester, NSF STELLAR


Eva Zurek

University at Buffalo, CMAP PFC
Ani Aprahamian.


Ani Aprahamian

University of Notre Dame, JINA-CEEE PFC


University of Rochester logo.
University at Buffalo logo.
University of Notre Dame logo.
University of Maryland logo.
The Ohio State University logo.
University of Michigan logo.

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under Award No. (2329970). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. National Science Foundation.