Optical Surfaces (Kenley, England) has supplied the first of 10 large beam expanders to Thales (Paris, France) for the Extreme Light Infrastructure for Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) project to develop the world’s most powerful laser system. Optical Surfaces will supply four 580-mm-aperture and six 200-mm-aperture laser beam expanders in all. Offering an unprecedented level of peak power in ultrashort pulses, the two new 10 petawatt high-intensity lasers will be delivered to the Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics & Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH) in Magurele, Romania.
The €60 million contract awarded to Thales to develop the laser systems is the largest contract by a national research institute under a European-funded program. Due to be operational by 2018, the two lasers will be used for many areas of research, including physics and astrophysics, materials science, and the life sciences, and for the management of nuclear material. In addition, they will pave the way for the development of a new generation of tabletop particle accelerators that will be much smaller and less costly than existing accelerators.
For more info on Optical Surfaces, see www.optisurf.com.