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Post-compression of multi-mJ picosecond pulses to few-cycles approaching the terawatt regime
preprintposted on 2023-06-20, 16:00 authored by Supriya Rajhans, Esmerando Escoto, Nikita Khodakovskiy, Praveen K. Velpula, Bonaventura Farace, Uwe Grosse-Wortmann, Rob J. Shalloo, Cord L. Arnold, Kristjan Põder, Jens Osterhoff, Wim P. Leemans, Ingmar Hartl, Christoph M. Heyl
Advancing ultrafast high-repetition-rate lasers to shortest pulse durations comprising only a few optical cycles while pushing their energy into the multi-millijoule regime opens a route towards terawatt-class peak powers at unprecedented average power. We explore this route via efficient post-compression of high-energy 1.2 ps pulses from an Ytterbium InnoSlab laser to 9.6 fs duration using gas-filled multi-pass cells (MPCs) at a repetition rate of 1 kHz. Employing dual-stage compression with a second MPC stage supporting a close-to-octave-spanning bandwidth enabled by dispersion-matched dielectric mirrors, a record compression factor of 125 is reached at 70% overall efficiency, delivering 6.7 mJ pulses with a peak power of about 0.3 TW. Moreover, we show that post-compression can improve the temporal contrast at picosecond delay by at least one order of magnitude. Our results demonstrate efficient conversion of multi-millijoule picosecond lasers to high-peak-power few-cycle sources, opening up new parameter regimes for laser plasma physics, high energy physics, biomedicine and attosecond science.