24/7 Space News
Ghostly mirrors for high-power lasers
Professor Dino Jaroszynski's experimental setup to investigate plasma photonic structures at the Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Ghostly mirrors for high-power lasers
by Staff Writers
Glasgow, Scotland (SPX) Feb 01, 2023

The 'mirrors' exist for only a fragment of time but could help to reduce the size of ultra-high power lasers, which currently occupy buildings the size of aircraft hangars, to university basement sizes.

They have potential to be developed into a variety of plasma-based, high damage-threshold optical elements that could lead to small footprint, ultra-high-power, ultra-short pulse laser systems.

The new way of producing mirrors, and other optical components, points the way to developing the next generation high power lasers, from hundreds of petawatts (1015 watts) to exawatts (1018 watts).

The new research has been published in Communications Physics.

Professor Dino Jaroszynski, of Strathclyde's Department of Physics, led the research. He said: "High-power lasers are tools that enable research in many areas of medicine, biology, material sciences, chemistry and physics.

"Making high-power lasers more widely available would transform the way science is done; a university could have these tools in a single room, on a table top, for a reasonable price.

"This work significantly advances the state-of-the-art of high-power lasers by proposing new methods for creating optical elements, which are more robust than existing elements and also transient, which makes them unique.

"This is more compact and much more robust and could provide a paradigm shift in high power lasers, which would stimulate new directions of research. The new method presented would also be of wide interest to a diverse community developing and using high power lasers.

"The group is now planning further proof-of-principle experiments to demonstrate the robustness and fidelity of the plasma optical elements."

The new research has produced layered plasma mirrors using counter-propagating laser beams. Plasma is fully ionised gas and makes up the vast majority of the visible universe. Counter-propagating laser beams produce a beat wave in plasma that drives electrons and ions into a regular layered structure, which acts as a very robust, high reflectivity mirror.

This mirror exists only fleetingly, for a few picoseconds - less than 1/100,000,000,000th of a second - and its ghostly presence enables very intense laser light to be reflected or manipulated.

The transient layered plasma is known as a volume Bragg grating, similar to Bragg structures found in crystals, and is only a few millimetres across. It has the potential to be developed into a variety of plasma-based, high damage-threshold optical elements that could lead to small footprint, ultra-high-power, ultra-short pulse laser systems.

Dr Gregory Vieux of Strathclyde, who designed and undertook the experiments at the at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) with Professor Jaroszynski, said: "This new way of producing transient robust plasma mirrors could revolutionise accelerators and light sources, as it would make them very compact and capable of producing ultra-short duration ultra-intense pulses of light, that are much shorter than can be produced easily by any other means.

"Plasma can withstand intensities up to 1018 watts per square centimetre, which exceeds the threshold for damage of conventional optics by four or five orders of magnitude. This will allow the size of optical elements to be reduced by two or three orders of magnitude, shrinking metre-sized optics to millimetres or centimetres."

The research collaboration also involved: GSI Helmholtzzentrum fur Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt; the Institute for Applied Physics at Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main; Institut fur Theoretische Physik at Heinrich-Heine-Universitat in Dusseldorf; Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea; Instituto Superior Tecnico at Universidade de Lisboa, and staff at STFC's Central Laser Facility.

The study has received funding from the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), part of UKRI, to support the Strathclyde-led Lab in a Bubble project.

Professor Jaroszynski is Director of the Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators (SCAPA), which hosts one of the highest power lasers in the UK.

Research Report:The role of transient plasma photonic structures in plasma-based amplifiers

Related Links
University of Strathclyde
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Scientists use laser to guide lightning bolt for first time
Paris (AFP) Jan 16, 2023
Scientists said Monday they have used a laser beam to guide lightning for the first time, hoping the technique will help protect against deadly bolts - and one day maybe even trigger them. Lightning strikes between 40-120 times a second worldwide, killing more than 4,000 people and causing billions of dollars worth of damage every year. Yet the main protection against these bolts from above is still the humble lightning rod, which was first conceived by American polymath Benjamin Franklin in 17 ... read more

NASA Spinoffs bolster climate resilience, improve medical care, more

UAE astronaut says not required to fast during Ramadan on ISS

NASA selects nine technologies for commercial flight tests

20 Years Ago: Remembering Columbia and Her Crew

Lockheed Martin team up with DARPA and AFRL for hypersonics

Columbia disaster that scuttled the space shuttle

NASA validates revolutionary propulsion design for deep space missions

MIT Gas Turbine Laboratory prepares to jet into the future

Making the Most of Limited Data: Sols 3278-3279

Perseverance completes Mars Sample Depot

Is there life on Mars? Maybe, and it could have dropped its teddy

Dust bedevils Perseverance with damaging winds

China's Deep Space Exploration Lab eyes top global talents

Chinese astronauts send Spring Festival greetings from space station

China to launch 200-plus spacecraft in 2023

China's space industry hits new heights

Iridium GO exec redefines personal off-the-grid connectivity

Inmarsat-6 F2 satellite arrives on board an Airbus Beluga in Florida for launch

Ovzon receives first SATCOM-as-a-Service order from Spain

SpaceX launches 56 more Starlink satellites in heaviest payload yet

Ghostly mirrors for high-power lasers

Rescuing small plastics from the waste stream

Purdue uncovers a new method for generating spinning thermal radiation

IBM and NASA collaborate to research impact of climate change with AI

Will machine learning help us find extraterrestrial life

AI joins search for ET

Watch distant worlds dance around their sun

Webb Telescope identifies origins of icy building blocks of life

NASA's Juno Team assessing camera after 48th flyby of Jupiter

Webb spies Chariklo ring system with high-precision technique

Europe's JUICE spacecraft ready to explore Jupiter's icy moons

Exotic water ice contributes to understanding of magnetic anomalies on Neptune and Uranus

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.