OSE Special Seminar by Dr. Olivier Chalus of Thales Optronique SAS in France on 10 PW Laser system: challenges and achievements

Departmental News

Olivier Chalus seminar image

Posted: April 2, 2018

Date: Tuesday,  April 3, 2018

Time:  1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Location:  CHTM, Room 146 


The Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) Project was first proposed in 2005. During the preparation phase the white books for the 3 pillars were established. Financed by the European union this 850 Millions Euros project is distributed over 3 countries: Czech Repulic, Hungaria and Romania. The ELI-NP (Nuclear Physic) part in  Romania requires a Laser able to deliver 2x100TW at 10Hz, 2x1PW at 1 Hz and 2x10PW at 1shot per minute.  This will make this laser the most powerful laser in the world.

Thales was awarded the development and construction of this laser in July 2013. We are now in the installation phase of this project. 100TW and 1PW outputs have already been demonstrated on site and the 10PW line is under assembly. Such a laser involves  numerous breakthroughs in order to achieve these extreme parameters. The solution taken is based on  hybrid approach between OPCPA (Optical Parametric Chirp Pulse Amplification) and Ti:Sapphire amplifier. Procurement of optics was a challenge (meter size gratings, 200mm diameter Ti:Sapphire  Crystals, ...) but the technical challenges were also high. The pulse requires a excellent contrast, as well as an excellent focusability. We will detail in this presentation the solution we choose in order to build such a laser and the results we obtained.

Speaker’s Biography:
After preparatory school in Lyon (FRANCE), Olivier Chalus joined the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Physique de Strasbourg where he obtained an engineering degree in Physics in 2003. In parallel he obtained a Master’s degree in Photonics from the Université Louis Pasteur. He continued his studies for a PhD in Jean-Claude Diels’ Group at the University of New Mexico (UNM, USA) and graduated from the Université Louis Pasteur in July 2007. During his PhD he worked on long pulse UV filamentation in air. Experiments on ring cavity Ti:Sapphire for gyroscope as well as scatterometry  were performed. At the end of his PhD, Dr Chalus joined Jens Biegert’s group at ICFO in Barcelona (Spain) to develop a 3 microns 100kHz Optical Parametric Chirped Pulse Amplifier system. This OPCPA achieved 6 cycles pulse duration and is passively phase stable. During this postdoctoral time, he also worked on High Harmonic Generation, Ti:Sapphire kHz laser system, filamentation and pulse characterization. In October 2010, Olivier Chalus joined the Laser Department of Thales Optronique SAS in France where he worked on the first commercial 1Hz Petawatt laser system. He pursued his work at Thales on different laser system from 5kHz 9mJ system to several tens to hundreds of TW systems at different repetition rates (from 0.1Hz to 10Hz). He is now involved in the development and completion of a 2x10PW laser system with very high contrast which uses hybrid OPCPA/Ti:Sapphire technology for the ELI-NP program.