Name: Prague Asterix Laser System

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

Coordinator: Miroslav Krůs, Ph.D.;


For more than two decades, PALS has belonged to the world’s leading laboratories in physics and has provided top-quality high-power lasers with a focus on the interaction between laser radiation and matter. PALS operates a pulsed photodissociation terawatt iodine laser, one of four of the largest lasers in Europe. The laser delivers up to 1 kJ of energy which can be focused on a spot as small as 50 μm, reaching intensities of more than 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 precise synchronisation of the iodine laser with the ultrashort (femtosecond) Titanium-Sapphire laser is completely unique. Synchronised femtosecond pulses are primarily exploited for probing plasma generated by the iodine laser. Such synchronisation 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, astrochemistry and astrobiology studies, and for developing and testing sources of high-energy photons and charged particles. As one of the Founding Members of Laserlab-Europe (Integrated Initiative of European Laser Research Infrastructures), PALS offers open access to international users. PALS also serves as a training centre for students and early career researchers from Czechia and abroad, allowing them to obtain experience with cutting-edge technologies. In the framework of international activities, PALS participates in EUROfusion, it devotes a part of the beam-time to the investigation of energy production by means of inertial fusion and it also collaborates with FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe) in Darmstadt, Germany. At the national level, PALS cooperates extensively with ELI Beamlines of ELI ERIC (Extreme Light Infrastructure) and HiLASE (High Average Power Pulsed Lasers).