Ultrafast laser amplifier, ultrafast laser system, solid state laser, intense optical pulses


The invention of chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) in 1985 led to a tremendous increase in obtainable laser pulse peak intensities. Since then, several table-top, Ti:sapphire-based CPA systems exceeding the 100 TW-level with more than 10 W average power have been developed and several systems are now commercially available. Over the last decade, the complementary technology of optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA) has improved in its performance to a competitive level. OPCPA allows direct amplification of an almost-octave spanning bandwidth supporting few-cycle pulse durations at center wavelengths ranging from the visible to the mid-IR. The current record in peak power from a table-top OPCPA is 16 TW and the current record average power is 22 W. High energy, few-cycle pulses with stabilized carrierenvelope phase (CEP) are desired for applications such as high-harmonic generation (HHG) enabling attoscience and the generation keV-photon bursts. This dissertation conceptually, numerically and experimentally describes essential aspects of few-cycle OPCPA, and the associated pump beam generation. The main part of the conducted research was directed towards the few-cycle OPCPA facility developed in the Laser Plasma Laboratory at CREOL (University of Central Florida, USA) termed HERACLES. This facility was designed to generate few-cycle pulses in the visible with mJ-level pulse energy, W-level average power and more than 100 GW peak power. Major parts of the implementation of the HERACLES facility are presented. The pump generation beam of the HERACLES system has been improved in terms of pulse energy, average power and stability over the last years. It is based on diode-pumped, solid-state amplifiers with picosecond duration and experimental investigations are presented in detail. A iii robust system has been implemented producing mJ-level pulse energies with ~100 ps pulse duration at kHz repetition rates. Scaling of this system to high power (>30 W) and high peak power (50-MW-level) as well as ultra-high pulse energy (>160 mJ) is presented. The latter investigation resulted in the design of an ultra-high energy system for OPCPA pumping. Following this, a new OPCPA facility was designed termed PhaSTHEUS, which is anticipated to reach ultra-high intensities. Another research effort was conducted at CELIA (Univeristé de Bordeaux 1, France) and aimed towards a previously unexplored operational regime of OPCPA with ultra-high repetition rates (10 MHz) and high average power. A supercontinuum seed beam generation has been established with an output ranging from 1.3 to 1.9 µm and few ps duration. The pump beam generation has been implemented based on rod-type fiber amplifiers producing more than 37 W average power and 370 kW peak power. The utility of this system as an OPCPA pump laser is presented along with the OPA design. The discussed systems operate in radically different regimes in terms of peak power, average power, and repetition rate. The anticipated OPCPA systems with few-cycle duration enable a wide range of novel experimental studies in attoscience, ultrafast materials processing, filamentation, LIBS and coherent control


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Graduation Date





Richardson, Martin


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program









Release Date

August 2018

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Optics and Photonics, Optics and Photonics -- Dissertations, Academic