Petawatt Field Synthesizer
The development of the PFS is an attempt to overcome the limits of conventional laser technology with regard to shortest pulse duration, high repetition rate, peak power and temporal contrast. We rely on the technique of optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification with the added benefit of pumping the amplifiers with high-intensity, few-ps pump pulses. This strategy allows the use of very short amplifier crystals leading to an intrinsically broader phase-matching bandwidth, a shorter time-window for contrast-reducing parametric fluorescense, and no heat load (= no distortions) in the main amplifiers. The achievable pulse durations should be on the order of 5 fs, ensuring PW-scale peak powers at moderate pulse energy. While this strategy for the laser amplifiers seems to solve a lot of problems at the same time, the main system risk is the necessary high-repetition rate, ps, high-energy pump laser. Its development focuses on diode pumping technology and Yb-doped laser materials.