Name: Prague Asterix Laser System

Institution: Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Coordinator: Ing. Jan Dostál, Ph.D.;


For almost two decades, PALS has been among the world’s leading laboratories in physics and has provided top-quality high-power lasers with focus on the interaction between laser radiation and matter. PALS operates a pulsed terawatt iodine laser, one of four of the largest lasers in the EU. This laser delivers on its target up to 1 kJ of energy in an infrared sub-nanosecond pulse. The intensity in the main beam, which can be focused into a pattern less than 50 mm, can exceed 30 PW/cm2. Its high beam quality, ultra-narrow spectral line, versatile target chambers with varied diagnostic equipment and reliable operation make it one of the most demanded user laser facilities in Europe. The iodine laser can also be employed as a driver for a zinc x-ray laser emitting at a wavelength of 21.2 nm. The precise synchronization of the iodine laser with the ultrashort (femtosecond) Titanium:Sapphire laser is completely unique. Synchronized femtosecond pulses are primarily exploited for probing plasma generated by the iodine laser. Such synchronization of ultrashort (femtosecond) and high energetic short (sub-nanosecond) pulses is available in just a few laboratories around the world. The flexible laser systems at PALS are well suited for conducting experimental studies of dense plasma, laboratory astrophysics, inertial fusion, laser plasma-chemistry experiments, origin of life studies and for developing and testing sources generating photons with high-energy and charged particles. As one of the founding members of the Laserlab-Europe (Integrated Initiative of European Laser Research Infrastructures), PALS offers open access to its users, where selected European projects with the participation of overseas experts, mainly from the USA, Japan and South Korea, are carried out. PALS also serves as a training centre for students and young researchers from the Czech Republic and abroad, allowing them to obtain experience with cutting-edge technologies. Within the framework of its international activities, PALS participates in projects of pan-European research infrastructures such as ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) and HiPER (High Power Laser Energy for Research). As a partner of the EUROfusion consortium, it devotes a part of the beam-time to the investigation of energy production by means of inertial fusion and also collaborates with the FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research) European research infrastructure. Within the Czech Republic, the PALS also collaborates closely with the laser research infrastructures ELI Beamlines (Extreme Light Infrastructure – ELI Beamlines) and HiLASE (New Lasers for Industry and Research).