Prague Asterix Laser System

PALS – website

Hosting institution: Institute of Plasma Physics, CAS

Partner institution: Institute of Physics, CAS

For almost two decades belongs PALS Research Infrastructure (Prague Asterix Laser System) among world leading laboratories in the field of laser plasma investigation. Its main experimental facility is a pulsed terawatt iodine laser, one of four largest lasers in Europe, capable of delivering up to 1 kJ of energy in an infrared subnanosecond pulse with intensity up to 30 PW/cm2. Its ultra-narrow spectral line, high beam quality, additional XUV laser and versatile target chambers with rich diagnostic equipment makes it one of the most demanded user lasers in Europe. Unique auxiliary femtosecond beam lines extend its capabilities with tools for femtosecond probing of plasma and double‑pulse experiments with synchronized fs and ns beams. Flexible laser systems at PALS are well suited for experimental studies of the interaction of intense laser radiation with matter, laboratory astrophysical experiments, fusion and laser plasma-chemistry experiments and for developing and testing a variety of applications requiring large volumes of hot and dense plasmas. PALS, as one of founding members of the LASERLAB EUROPE (Integrated Initiative of European Laser Research Infrastructures), offers the open access to selected projects of european users and serves as a training centre for students and young researchers from the Czech republic and abroad. Within the framework of international activities it participates in the projects of pan-European research infrastructures ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) and HiPER (High Power Laser Energy for Research). As a partner of the EUROfusion consortium devotes a part of the beam-time to investigation of energy production by means of the inertial fusion. PALS Research Infrastructure also closely collaborates with national laser research infrastructures ELI Beamlines and HiLASE.

Future development

Main task of PALS in the short term outlook is to complete and implement multi-source and multi-beam infrastructure allowing well defined generation together with precise and reliable determination of dense plasma parameters. Simultaneously will be also developed and implemented UV beamline dedicated to laser plasma-chemistry experiments. In the frame of the long-term outlook is expected technological and structural modernization of PALS measurement and control systems as well as modernization of auxiliary Titanium:Sapphire laser. PALS future development will also consist in introduction of new advanced methods of plasma diagnostics with extreme temporal and spatial resolution.

Socio-economic impact

Since its foundation PALS has been regular customer of companies developing or supplying high-tech measurement devices (such as oscilloscopes, streak-cameras, photodetectors), special optical materials, precise quartz tubes, nonlinear optical crystals, advanced laser targets, electro-optical components with ultrafast switching, etc.

PALS RI serves for testing of newly developed optical materials and optical elements, for development of prototypes of measuring devices (intended for environment with strong electromagnetic interference) or for development of prototypes of detectors in the range from XUV/rtg to infrared radiation.