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  • 1. Introduction to Laser Wakefield Acceleration
  • 2. Titanium:sapphire Laser System at the University of Twente
  • Amplifiers
  • 3. Theory of Pulse Amplification
  • Laser pulse amplification: the Frantz-Nodvik model
  • 4. Design and Construction of the 4-pass Amplifier
  • Experimental setup
  • 5. Amplifier Performance and Comparison with the Theory
  • 6. Conclusions
  • 7. References
  • Appendix 1: q-parameter
  • Appendix 2: Matlab-simulation code

Multipass amplifier for Terawatt Ti:sapphire laser system

Hein Teunissen Graduation committee: prof. dr. K.-J. Boller dr. ir. F.A Van Goor dr. ir. H.L. Offerhaus University of Twente Department of Science and Technology Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics group Enschede, Oktober 12, 2007

Multipass amplifier for Terawatt Ti:sapphire laser system Theory, construction and characterization

Author: Hein J. Teunissen Graduation committee: prof. dr. K.-J. Boller dr. ir. F.A Van Goor dr. ir. H.L. Offerhaus University of Twente Department of Science and Technology Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics group Enschede, Oktober 12, 2007


This report describes the design, construction and characterization of a multipass amplifier for a Terawatt, femtosecond titanium:sapphire laser system. This laser is to fulfill an important role in the Laser Wakefield Accelerator setup that is under construction at the University of Twente. The principle- and the goal of laser wakefield acceleration is described in chapter 1 and the role of the laser is clarified. In chapter 2, the laser system itself is elaborated to see the position of the mentioned amplifier in the total system. Chapter 3 describes the theory of laser pulse amplification. Effects like gain saturation and gain narrowing are discussed, together with the effects of amplification on laser pulse shape. Chapter 4 gives an outline of important aspects in the design and construction of the amplifier. The techniques used in the setup to optimize the performance of the amplifier are described and a schematic drawing of the final setup is given. The final chapter of this report characterizes the performance of the setup as described in chapter 4. This characterization comprises measurements on energy-, spectral propertiesand propagation of the output pulse. This chapter also presents a simulation used to compare the performance of the amplifier to the theory as given in chapter 3. A summary of the performance of the amplifier is given in the ‘Conclusions’ section.


Appendix 1: q-parameter .Enlarging pump beam of second pump laser .Profile of the output pulse . Titanium:sapphire Laser System at the University of Twente . Amplifier Performance and Comparison with the theory .Amplification of pulse energy . Theory of Pulse Amplification .Vacuum spatial filtering after second.Measuring M 2 values .Measurements . Design and Construction of the 4-pass Amplifier High-intensity nonlinear effects B-integral Vacuum relay imaging Low pass spatial filtering Minimizing pre-pulses in input signal Experimental setup .Final setup of the 4-pass amplifier 33 39 5.Comparison with the theory 43 6.Spectral properties . Conclusions 7.Amplifiers .Amplifier saturation 23 27 4.Laser wakefield acceleration 8 12 18 2. Introduction to Laser Wakefield Acceleration .Kerr lens modelocked oscillator .Amplifier bandwidth .Energy transfer from pump to pulse .Particle accelerators .Recurrence relation .Table of contents 1.Chirped pulse amplification .Multipass amplifier 3.Regenerative amplifier . Appendices .Stimulated emission and –absorption .M 2 -beam propagation factor .Laser pulse amplification: the Frantz-Nodvik model . References 8.Appendix 2: Matlab-simulation code 54 55 57 60 -4- .and third pass .

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but it was a really nice time. I would like to say that I had a really pleasant time working on it. even more. I got to learn that the realisation of the Terawatt laser system is very important for the research group. I would like to thank Professor Boller for giving me the opportunity to perform my graduation project in his group. So thanks for the confidence! For the same reason. Arie Irman and Rolf Loch. But I also want to thank him for being my supervisor for the last 19 (!) months working on the laser. Also because it is not ‘just’ some project. Olivier. altogether. Nonetheless. And. Looking back. I would like to thank Fred van Goor. I am happy that the project is completed now and I would like to express my gratitude to some people in specific that have helped me in so many ways. in the lab. Fred co-supervised my internship at Philips Lighting in Eindhoven in the months before I started in the group. Thanks guys! But it’s not only because of the people I just mentioned that I had a pleasant time in the group. I always thought the ‘office’ was a much nicer place than the lab. Also the lunch breaks were always fun with the other (PhD-) students and we had a few great outings with the group. Mark and Cees. I really could not have done without this help and also not without their enthusiasm. because of the nice company of Martijn. Then there are two PhD students. I would also like to thank Dimitri Geskus for his work on the laser. in the end. it took quite long. it comes down to: thanks to everyone in the Laser Physics group! -6- . So. who have helped me in a very direct and practical way.Acknowledgements Before we go into the details of the project. to come to this point. aligning stuff and with good ideas in very helpful discussions. So. thank you Fred! I have learned a lot in this period. My project directly builds upon his work and he really helped me getting started in the lab.

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A particle accelerator is an instrument that drives charged particles to high velocities using strong electric fields.e. a disadvantage of circular accelerators is the deceleration of the bunch by the emission of synchrotron radiation resulting from the transverse acceleration of the particles to form a closed orbit.and circular accelerators. i. The world record acceleration field of a single cell is 53. the bunch is now additionally held on a closed orbit with appropriate magnetic fields. The most basic form is a linear accelerator (linac).1. making them extremely costly. Introduction to Laser Wakefield Acceleration Particle accelerators In high-energy physics. the phase and thus the direction of the microwave fields is to be properly timed in each cell with regard to the arrival of the bunch in that cell. However. Because the attainable kinetic energy is the integral over the field. In both linear. This research demands for the attainment of continuously increasing collision-energies to verify the existence of the elementary particles predicted by the Standard Model. Energetic particles are also used in synchrotrons for the generation of monochromatic. which accelerates bunches of electrons in a straight line through holes in an array of subsequent microwave cavities. The main advantage of this configuration over the RF-linac is that particles can be accelerated over more than one roundtrip. energetic collisions of particles form the basis for sub-atomic particle research. The Large Hadron Collider located at CERN (Switzerland) will be the highest energy particle accelerator in the world when it starts running in 2008 and will ultimately collide beams of protons at an energy of 14 TeV.5 MV/m [1]. To provide acceleration. It is currently in the final stage of construction -8- . However. is used in a circular accelerator.1: Linear accelerator The same principle of acceleration based on resonantly enhanced RF fields in resonators. this field limit means that the overall size of such standard RF-accelerators easily reaches several kilometers. high-intensity X-ray beams and in producing radioactive isotopes for medical use. Figure 1. usually microwave fields in the named cells. the accelerating field has a maximum value determined by the threshold for dielectric breakdown of the acceleration tube.

but. When an external electric field is applied. the traveling nature of the laser pulse excites such oscillations at consecutive locations and thereby creates a ‘wave of charge separation’ propagating with the laser pulse group velocity. no net field is present inside the plasma. or ‘plasma channel’. Laser wakefield acceleration Laser wakefield acceleration [2] is a completely different way of accelerating charged particles. Though the plasma-electrons locally just oscillate around their initial position. After the pulse has left. Figure 1. they overshoot their position before they return again. both in terms of the dimensions of the necessary equipment as well as concerning the overall costs. The plasma thus consists of positively and negatively charged particles (ions and electrons) in equal proportions and is macroscopically neutral under normal (equilibrium) conditions. the electrons perform several cycles of oscillation around their initial position. which should attain collision energies of 500 GeV (the International Linear Collider). such as protons remain much less effected. The plasma medium. the external field is internally counteracted by this charge separation. To understand the working principle of a laser wakefield accelerator it is required to look at some properties of plasma. In the new equilibrium situation. before they have lost their kinetic energy through collisions and the plasma returns to its equilibrium situation. a charge separation is induced in the plasma. The longest linear accelerator in the world is the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC). This technique promises to greatly improve the efficiency of attaining highenergy particles.and is contained in an underground tunnel with a circumference of 27 km. These fields E z can reach 10-100 GV/m. In laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA).2 illustrates the laser pulse and the electric field component of the plasma-wave pointing in the longitudinal direction ‘z’ (as can be calculated with [3]). The investments necessary to realize these machines are enormous and this has led to a search for much more compact accelerators based on a different working principle. followed by a region of negative charge where the electrons have fallen back into the center of this region. This force pushes the plasma-electrons away from their original positions whereas heavier particles. This promise is based on the observation that fields attainable within a plasma medium induced by a traveling. The oscillation frequency is known as the plasma frequency. because this would automatically redistribute the charged particles. the shifted electrons are attracted back towards the positively charged area from which they were pushed away. This plasma-wave contains very strong electric fields that can be utilized for particle acceleration. due to their inertia. This is due to the so-called ponderomotive force of the laser pulse on the plasma-particles. because this forms the accelerating medium. high-intensity laser pulse are several orders of magnitude higher than in conventional (RF) accelerators. a high-power laser pulse of extremely short duration induces charge separation. -9- . which is 3 km long and attains electron energy of 50 GeV. The region directly behind the pulse is positively charged (reduced density of electrons). A next generation linear accelerator of 40 km length is planned to be constructed between 2015 and 2020. This way. used in a laser wakefield accelerator is a capillary filled with hydrogen which is fully ionized by an electric discharge.

the laser system is the most space consuming part of the experimental setup. it will experience a force in the longitudinal direction Fz = − eE z . Figure 1.10 - .3: Schematic setup of the LWFA experiment at the UT .Figure 1. Though not illustrated in this figure. The setup of the LWFA experiment at the UT is schematically depicted in figure 1. The goal of LWFA is to accelerate particles to high energies by making them ‘surf’ the plasma-wave. Injecting particles into the plasma wave can be done in several ways [4].2: Laser pulse and plasma-wave When a charged ‘test particle’ is somehow injected in this plasma-wave.3.

and infrared radiation. Calculations show that the LWFA setup at the UT can be expected to produce electron bunches at an energy level of more than 1 GeV. which is the central device in the LWFA experiment.The laser pulse is guided through the plasma channel. To synchronize the arrival in the plasma channel of the pre-accelerated electron-beam and the laser pulse. This energy is attained over a plasmachannel length of few centimeters. This laser system.5 cell photocathode RF linear accelerator (illustrated in figure 1. In the long run. Further information on the LWFA experiment at the UT can be found in [5]. Laser wakefield accelerators have several potential applications.1). This is done by a 5. Short particle bunches with energy on the GeV scale can be used for the efficient generation of femtosecond Xrays and coherent THz. The aim of the experiment is to capture electrons in the plasma wave by injecting a bunch of electrons in front of the laser pulse [3]. A Terawatt femtosecond titanium:sapphire laser system is currently being developed at the Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics group at the University of Twente. . Thereafter. in which plasma is created by an electric discharge just before the laser pulse arrives. the bunch has to be pre-accelerated. the remainder of the report deals with the theory. high-energy RF accelerators may even be entirely replaced when particles can be accelerated in multiple stages using the laser wakefield acceleration technique. The repetition rate of the laser pulses is synchronized to the linac by slight adjustments of the length of the laser cavity using a Piezo crystal. is elaborated in the next chapter of this report.11 - . the RF source of the linac is serves as a master oscillator. To capture the electrons. construction and characterization of the first power amplifier of the laser system. This method has the potential to produce electron bunches with low energy spread.

equivalently. Also. which is a crystal of sapphire ( Al 2 O3 ) doped with titanium ions ( Ti 3+ ) (usually at a concentration of about 0. which has the advantage that losses due to re-absorption of laser radiation are minimized. The material has a very broad absorption band. with the peak absorption around 500 nm.12 - . of about 300 nm [6]. Ti:sapphire has an upper state lifetime at room temperature of 3.2 μs and the saturation fluence of Ti:Sa is 1 J/cm 2 . The name titanium:sapphire refers to the active laser medium.1: Schematic energy level diagram of titanium:sapphire . in the order of 5 GW/cm2. Ti:Sa lasers are particularly useful for generating ultra-short pulses. The absorption and emission bands are separated well. Titanium:sapphire Laser System at the University of Twente The subject of this chapter is the titanium:sapphire laser system.1 below). which is being developed at the LPNO group of the University of Twente.1 to 0. The material also has high thermal conductivity. The energy level diagram of titanium:sapphire is typical for a four level solid state laser material (see figure 2.2. Figure 2. the damage threshold of the Ti:Sa crystal is very high. because of the very large amplification-bandwidth of the material of 128 THz or. which makes it very suitable to generate and amplify high peak-power pulses.15 % by weight). The output of a Ti:Sa laser is most efficient at a wavelength of 800 nm.

nonlinear effects can cause serious damage to the gain medium. namely. the pulse is recompressed to (approximately) its original duration. which will first be mentioned shortly. The crystal in the oscillator is pumped at a wavelength of 532 nm by a cw frequency-doubled Nd:YVO 4 laser (Spectra Physics Millennia V). frequency-doubled Nd:YAG lasers are used to pump the Ti:Sa crystals in the amplifier chain (Spectra Physics Quanta-Ray GCR-290 and GCR-270 for the regenerative amplifier and the first 4-pass amplifier. The separate stages will then be elaborated to some detail in the next few pages. The pulses are now passed through a grating compressor to obtain a time-duration of about 30 to 50 fs. the pulses have their maximum energy content. The method of stretching the pulse in time prior to amplification and recompressing it afterwards is called ‘Chirped Pulse Amplification’ (CPA) [8]. Chirped pulse amplification At intensity levels in the order of a few Gigawatts per square centimeter. which increases the pulse duration from the initial 25 fs to about 500 ps. the pulses are amplified in three stages.13 - . at a repetition rate of 81. After the stretcher. The pulse energy of a single oscillator pulse is about 1 nJ. after which the pulse can be amplified safely without damaging the gain medium. Stretching the pulse in time proportionately lowers the pulse power. This is done in an Öffner stretcher [7].The laser system under construction at the UT consists of a number of stages. Increasing the beam diameter has the disadvantage that the gain medium and the optics must also be larger. or by stretching the pulse in time. Calculations show that the pulses after the compressor can be expected to have an energy-content of about 1 J. and will not enable reaching orders of magnitude higher pulse energies. The oscillator produces short pulses of about 25 fs with a central wavelength of 800 nm. but before that can be done the pulses need to be stretched in time to lower the peak power levels in the amplifiers. which is the 16th harmonic of 81. resulting in achievable peak power levels orders of magnitude higher than could be attained without this technique. After amplification. The first amplifier is a regenerative amplifier.25 MHz). . (This repetition rate is chosen such that the pulses can be synchronized to the electron bunches of the linac. The first stage of the laser system is the oscillator. These pulses are to be amplified. After the last amplifier. This makes the setup more expensive. The setup of a general CPA laser system is schematically illustrated in figure 2.2. and two Thales SAGA 230/10 lasers for the final 4-pass amplifier). the geometry of the cavity is such that it only sustains the fundamental transverse mode. The output beam of the oscillator has a Gaussian-shaped transverse intensity distribution.25 MHz. Four Qswitched.3GHz. which results in a peak power level of about 25 TW. the second and final amplifiers are 4-pass amplifiers. the RF source of the linac operates at a frequency of 1. by increasing the beam diameter. The units ‘watts per square centimeter’ show that there are two ways to further increase the energy of a pulse without exceeding this threshold. The repetition rate of the pulses in the amplifiers is 10 Hz. but not yet their maximum peak power level. which is a Kerr-lens modelocked Ti:Sa laser (K&M labs).

the stretcher must induce a pathlength-difference of about 15 cm between the lowest. stretching is done in an Öffner stretcher [7]. In the setup at the UT.3: Grating-based compressor (with negative dispersion) . The stretcher usually induces positive dispersion (so that the lower frequencies form the leading part of the pulse and the higher frequencies lag behind) and the compressor is designed to give an equal amount of negative dispersion. which also induces positive dispersion.Figure 2. the amount of dispersion must be quite large.2: Schematic setup of a CPA laser system In ‘stretching’ and ‘compressing’.3). different frequency-components of the pulse travel different distances. For the method to be effective however. The compressor also compensates for the extra dispersion the pulse experiences in the amplifier chain.14 - . in passing a stretcher or compressor. Figure 2. for a stretched pulse-duration of 500 ps.and highest frequency-components. a controlled amount of dispersion is induced to the laser pulse. There are different ways to stretch and compress a laser pulse. and the pulse is compressed using a grating compressor (see figure 2. so the pulselength after the compressor can approach the pulselength of the oscillator pulse.

15 - .4: Öffner stretcher The result of passing an oscillator pulse through the stretcher is a linearly ‘chirped pulse’ (the instantaneous frequency varies linearly with time). A retro reflector sends the beams back through the setup so that the frequency components overlap again. The effect of this is that the separation in time of the frequency components is now inverted in comparison to the compressor (with the same ‘positive distance’ between the gratings). but have travelled different distances. Figure 2.The first grating in the compressor sents the different frequency components in the input into different directions and the second grating makes the split beams parallel again.5: Linearly chirped pulse . The setup of the Öffner stretcher is slightly different. it uses two spherical mirrors to form the telescope and only one grating is used in the setup (the beam hits the grating four times).4. The stretcher does basically the same thing as the compressor. In the stretcher however. an imaging telescope between the two gratings establishes a ‘negative distance’ between the gratings (the telescope images the first grating behind the second grating). Figure 2. The setup of the Öffner stretcher is illustrated in figure 2.

6: Composition of laser output spectrum If the cavity modes are free to oscillate independently. Figure 2. The laser’s resonant cavity however determines which specific frequencies are supported within this bandwidth. which determines the bandwidth of operation of the laser. the laser operates in continuous wave (cw) mode.16 - . the frequency spacing Δν between the modes q and q+1 for this type of c (with c the speed of light). interference between the longitudinal . so when L = qλ / 2 (with λ the wavelength of the light and q an integer called the mode order). So. because only a discrete set of frequencies can exist in the cavity. the laser is mode-locked. In this case. The supported frequencies can exist in the cavity as ‘standing waves’ and form the set of longitudinal cavity modes. all other frequencies are suppressed because of destructive interference.Kerr lens modelocked oscillator Any laser gain-medium has its specific amplification bandwidth. Figure 2. If the modes however have a fixed phase relationship between one another. standing waves arise when the length of the cavity is an integer multiple of half-the-wavelength of the light.6 depicts the combined effect resonator is Δν = 2L of material gain-bandwidth and laser cavity modes on the output spectrum of the laser. For a cavity made up of two plain mirrors placed a distance L apart.

For a Gaussian temporal-shape this product is 0. which is the time it takes for a pulse to make a cavity roundtrip. Passive modelocking is achieved by placing an element in the laser cavity.44. which leads to an encouragement of the higher intensity pulses. By this mechanism. nΔν For a modelocked Ti:sapphire laser with a full 128 THz modelocked bandwidth. The Kerr effect describes the dependency of a materials refractive index n on the applied optical field intensity I. which has a specific value for a particular temporal pulse-shape. an external signal is used to modulate the light in the cavity. In practice however. selective losses can be induced to the cw mode of operation. where n0 is the low intensity refractive index and n2 is the second-order nonlinear refractive index (which is usually positive). high intensity light (normally) experiences higher index of refraction than lower intensity light. or. so the shortest-possible duration of a pulse with 0.4 fs. the pulse duration is limited by a number of other factors such as the overall dispersion of the cavity. in a Kerr medium. because the central part of the beam experiences higher refractive index than the beam edges. The time duration Δt of each pulse depends on a number of factors. also known as ‘Kerr-lens modelocking’.and passive modelocking. In active modelocking methods. the shortest attainable pulse (‘bandwidth-limited pulse’) with a Gaussian temporal shape would thus be 3. However.17 - .and amplitude relationship between the longitudinal modes).44 Gaussian temporal shape is: Δt = . Hence. on the ‘modelocked bandwidth’ nΔν . It can be described as: n( I ) = n0 + n2 I . This is also the case for titanium:sapphire. The pulses are separated in time an interval τ = 2 L / c . a beam with high power and Gaussian transverse intensity distribution passing the Ti:Sa crystal will be focused. As a result. This means that any higher-intensity pulses present in the cavity (which may arise from random interference effects between the longitudinal cavity modes) experience stronger focusing passing the Ti:Sa crystal than lower intensity light. The longitudinal cavity modes eventually obtain a fixed phase relation. resulting in a purely pulsed output of the oscillator. .modes results in a pulsed output signal of the laser. Δt also depends on the temporal pulse-shape produced in the laser (which follows from the exact phase. a larger modelocked bandwidth results in shorter pulses. Information on different modelocking techniques can be found in reference [9]. equivalently. Kerrlens modelocking can for instance be achieved by placing an aperture in the cavity. Modelocking techniques can be divided into active. The Ti:sapphire oscillator at the UT is modelocked passively by exploitation of the optical Kerr effect. The product of minimum attainable pulse duration and modelocked bandwidth is known as the ‘time-bandwidth product’. but primarily on the number of locked modes n. which causes self-modulation of the light.

Figure 2. the laser beam adapts to the Kerr-lens effect. Basically. The oscillator used at the UT is schematically illustrated in figure 2.8: Illustration of a Kerr-lens modelocked oscillator Amplifiers The theory of pulse amplification is the subject of the next chapter. the amplifiers are usually pumped with pulsed pump-lasers and the gain medium is generally the same as used in the oscillator of the laser system. In the oscillator used in the setup at the UT. The repetition rate of the pulses in the amplifiers is usually limited by the repetition rate of the pump-lasers. In a laser cavity however.18 - . whose width and position can be adjusted via computer controlled actuators.7: Kerr-lens modelocking principle Figure 2.8. The energy contained in the gain medium is extracted in a very short time. so the peak-power level of the amplified pulse can greatly exceed the peak-power of the pump-laser(s). . the role of the aperture illustrated in figure 2. In CPA systems.7 pictures the selective focusing effect of the Kerr-medium on a free laser beam. The pulsed mode of operation is thereby favored over the cw mode through better overlap between the pump beam and the pulsed laser beam. The prism pair in the resonator compensates for the material dispersion of one roundtrip in the cavity and the output spectrum of the oscillator can be manipulated by means of the tuning slit. but the basic concept and general setup of laser amplifiers used in CPA systems are described below. Figure 2. the way to amplify a laser pulse is to let it make additional passes through a medium with a population inversion on a resonant transition. This leads to a smaller beam radius inside the Ti:Sa crystal of the stronger focused. higher-intensity pulses.7 is fulfilled by the focus of the pump-beam in the Ti:sapphire crystal (‘soft aperture’).

with shape and direction primarily determined by the regen-resonator. so after a certain number of passes the pulse energy does not increase any further. a single pulse from the oscillator pulse-train is coupled into the resonator just after the Ti:Sa crystal is pumped. most of the pump power is extracted from the gain medium and saturation has a stabilizing effect on the output pulse-energy. leading to a shift of the central frequency. Once the energy is extracted from the medium. This effect is called ‘power broadening’. when a beam with a Gaussian-shaped spatial profile is amplified by using ‘top-hat’ shaped pump beams.The energy that can be extracted from the gain medium is of course finite. the lower frequencies are in this case amplified more than the higher frequencies.9. When amplifying a positively chirped pulse. In this setup. There are however several consequences of (near-) saturation operation of the amplifier. because it can reach very high gain (as high as 10 6 ) and gives a stable output beam. When seen in the temporal domain. because the spectral wings can be amplified still.19 - . Further. A regenerative amplifier is particularly useful for this first step. additional passes of the (narrowed) pulse through the amplifier now leads to a broadening of the bandwidth. Regenerative amplifier In a regenerative amplifier (or ‘regen’) the gain medium is contained in a resonator. It is desirable to operate an amplifier in. gain saturation can compensate ‘gain narrowing’ effects. This effect is called gain saturation. . When this occurs. The setup of the regenerative amplifier at the LPNO group is schematically given in figure 2. When high amplification factors are required. because they have not reached the saturation level yet. There are two types of laser pulse amplifiers used in CPA systems: a regenerative amplifier and a multi-pass amplifier. the beam center may saturate the amplifier more than the edges of the beam. The output profile may as a result closely resemble the top-hat shape of the pump profiles. which is also the case in the setup at the UT. Gain narrowing occurs when the central frequencies of the pulse are amplified more than the spectral wings (which is the case when the active medium of the amplifier is the same as used in the oscillator). The next chapter will deal with these issues more thoroughly. a sequence of amplifiers is often used in an amplifier chain. For instance. In this case. But these central frequencies will also start to saturate the amplifier sooner than the spectral wings.or just below saturation. the pulse is coupled out. This type of amplifier is most commonly used as the first stage of amplification after the stretcher. the leading part of the pulse may experience less saturation than the latter part.

In the case of a regenerative amplifier. The Pockels-cell acts as a variable waveplate. this is just a matter of setting the timing when the pulse is coupled out. it traverses four quarter-lambda plates. .or transmitted into the left part of the regen-resonator (the polarizing beamsplitter reflects s. When no voltage is applied over the Pockels-cell. which become very important in a later stadium of the amplifier chain (higher pulse-energies). The regenerative amplifier has the asset that the number of passes through the gain medium can be chosen freely. This is because the switch induces high losses. when the pulse now passes the switch.Figure 2. the polarization of the pulse is not altered and passing the quarter-lambda plate twice rotates the polarization to ‘p’. a quarter-lambda plate and a polarizing beamsplitter is used as a switch for in. The input pulses of the regenerative amplifier are s-polarized (entering figure 2.9) determines whether the pulse is reflected out.9: Regenerative amplifier A combination of a Pockels-cell. the electro-optical in. The reason that the Pockels-cell is switched to ‘half-lambda’ to couple out the pulse instead of just turning it back off is the rather slow response when the cell is switched off compared to the fast response when a voltage is applied.20 - . where it can extract the energy stored in the Ti:Sa crystal. but it is captured in the resonator when. A weak input pulse will not saturate an amplifier in just a few passes. After one roundtrip through the resonator the pulse will be coupled out in the same way. the Pockels-cell is switched to act as a half-lambda plate. in the mean time. the Pockels-cell is switched to act as a quarter-lambda plate. so the (weak) oscillator pulse must pass through the gain medium many times before it has extracted the available energy. Further. the gain per pass must be sufficiently low to prevent the buildup of ‘amplified spontaneous emission’. However. The Pockels-cell material also induces higher order dispersion.and transmits p-polarized light). by exploitation of the Pockels-effect (application of an electric field changes the birefringent properties of a certain material. The polarization of the pulse at the moment it hits the polarizing beamsplitter (from the right side in figure 2. which makes that this type of amplifier is very useful for the first stage of amplification. The pulse now stays inside the resonator. which affects the polarization of transmitted light).9 from below).and out coupling limits the usability of a regen to ‘preamplifier’ purposes (output pulse-energies in the millijoule level). resulting in a full 180 degrees rotation in the polarization. which is hard to compensate for and thus limits the attainable final pulse duration. After that. This p-polarized pulse is transmitted through the polarizing beamsplitter and enters the resonator. the pulse is now coupled out.and out-coupling of the pulse.

Figure 2. the output beam shape and direction are not corrected by a resonator.10: Schematic setup of a multipass amplifier Multipass amplifiers are usually used as power amplifiers to boost the energy of preamplified pulses.10 pictures a general setup of a 4-pass amplifier.and final amplifiers in the laser system at the UT are multipass amplifiers. The attainable number of passes is however limited by the complexity of the resulting setup and the difficulty in aligning the amplifier. it is often just called a ‘2. Also. The overall gain of a multipass amplifier is therefore much lower than that of a regenerative amplifier.10). Because of its shape (see figure 2. saturation of the amplifier is reached within the chosen number of passes. With high enough input-pulse energy. In the next chapter. A picture of this amplifier can be seen in figure 2.pass amplifier’ or ‘4-pass amplifier’. This is a setup in which the incoming laser pulse makes a fixed number of passes through the gain medium.11. mirror arrays are used to direct the pulse through the gain medium with slightly different directions. Chapter 4 of this thesis is dedicated to the design. with the result that the outputbeam is much affected by the spatial profile of the pump beams. .and construction aspects that play a role in setting up the first 4-pass power amplifier of the Ti:Sa laser system.Multipass amplifier The second. the theory of pulse amplification is explained. Figure 2.21 - . the multipass amplifier is sometimes called a ‘bow-tie’ amplifier. In a multipass amplifier. The gain per pass is generally much higher than in the case of a regenerative amplifier and the pump power is used more efficiently. etcetera.

11: Setup of the 4-pass amplifier at the LPNO group .22 - .Figure 2.

It is assumed that elastic collisions occur randomly in time at a rate of 1 T2 collisions per atom per second. and if an oscillator undergoes an elastic collision (or in general a dephasing event) its phase is assumed to be completely randomized. With both the energy-decay and the dephasing of the oscillators taken into account. (An exponentially decaying signal of the form P ( t ) = exp ⎡ ⎣ − (α 2 + jωa ) t ⎤ ⎦ for t > 0 has a complex lorentzian Fourier transform of the form P (ω ) = 1 ⎡ ⎣1 + 2 j ( w − wa ) α ⎤ ⎦ . Some aspects of amplification in general are discussed. with FWHM linewidth α . the basic theory of pulse amplification is summarized. such as amplifier bandwidth and mechanisms that lead to a broadening. Theory of Pulse Amplification In this chapter.or narrowing of this bandwidth.1) The susceptibility for the collection of microscopic oscillators (near their resonance frequency) has a frequency dependence given by a complex lorentzian lineshape. This is a Fourier-transform effect resulting from the exponential time-decay of the macroscopic polarization. 2 ⎠ ⎝ (ω ) (ω ) gives the polarization in an atomic medium P The electric susceptibility χ (ω ) and is defined by: resulting from an externally applied electric field E (ω ) ≡ χ (ω ) P (ω ) ε0E (3. So p ( t ) arises entirely from the ‘uncollided’ dipoles (which are all oscillating in-phase) and is also called the coherent polarization. The polarizations of the ‘collided’ dipoles (with random phases) add up to produce a macroscopic sum with mean value of zero. the macroscopic polarization p ( t ) will decay exponentially in time with decay rate ⎛γ 1⎞ ⎜ + ⎜2 T ⎟ ⎟. Amplifier bandwidth The oscillatory motion of electron clouds in a laser medium can be modelled by microscopic classical oscillators [10].3. The microscopic dipoles give rise to a macroscopic polarization p ( t ) in the material.) ~ .23 - . A decay rate γ models the exponential energydecay of a single microscopic dipole oscillator.

(or amplifying) part of the atomic response is given by the imaginary part χ ′′ of the susceptibility and is described by a lorentzian shaped curve. and that the midband value is lowered. In this case it is also more intuitively clear that the linewidth of the atomic susceptibility is broadened. In the case of a Ti:sapphire crystal. by assuming that microscopic dipoles have their phases completely randomized after an average time T2 . The homogeneous broadening resulting from the energy decay of the dipoles is called lifetime broadening and elastic collisions between the active atoms cause collision broadening.The absorbing. The result is a random frequency modulation of the individual dipole’s resonance frequencies. the oscillators have a broader range of resonance frequencies. which is negative for an absorbing transition. Stimulated emission and -absorption A useful concept to describe the amount of stimulated emission and -absorption from active laser atoms is the stimulated-transition cross section σ .24 - . Mechanisms that broaden the atomic lineshape and that act on the individual dipoles in the same way are referred to as homogeneous broadening mechanisms. An atom in the lower energy level is thought to be perfectly absorbing over the area σ and an atom in the upper level is ‘negatively absorbing’ (emitting). or phonon broadening.3) The symbol χ 0′′ in equation 3. less oscillators are available with the exact resonance frequency ω = ωa . . there are no collisions between the different atoms.2 gives the magnitude of the atomic susceptibility at midband. often referred to as the atomic lineshape: χ ′′ (ω ) = − 1+ ⎡ ⎣ 2 (ω − ωa ) Δωa ⎤ ⎦ χ 0′′ 2 (3. Δωa is given by: Δωa = γ + 2 T2 (3. so the spacing between the ions in the lattice will be changing slightly in a random way. The crystal lattice vibrates because of thermal agitation. This atomic linewidth is thus directly linked to the exponential decay rate of the coherent polarization. This mechanism can be described in the same way as is done with elastic collisions. Phonon broadening depends strongly on lattice temperature.2) This function describes the stimulated response of a collection of microscopic dipole oscillators near their resonance frequency ωa and has FWHM linewidth Δωa . The most important dephasing mechanism in this case is called phonon frequency modulation. χ 0′′ is inversely proportional to Δωa and proportional to the number of participating microscopic oscillators.

In this case.Let us consider a non-degenerate transition and a pure two level system. the amplifier (or absorber) ‘saturates’. the population inversion decreases when energy is transferred to the light field. such that the population inversion is nearly unaffected. A light field incident on the slab with intensity I (units of power per unit area) is then partially absorbed: I abs = I ⋅ ( − Ndz ⋅ σ ) = − dI (3.6 is therefore valid only when the intensities are very small. the ‘perfectly absorbing area’ corresponding to the active atoms is given by ( − N ⋅ Adz ⋅ σ ) . before the arrival of any light field. For higher intensities.8) The ‘ t = −∞ ’ in N (t ) indicates that this is the ‘initial’ population inversion. The amount of absorbed. denoted by N (with units of atoms per unit volume). We will come back to this point later on.7) g0 = σ N (t = −∞) (small signal gain coefficient) (3. which is given by the population inversion ( N 2 − N1 ) .6 is often written as: G0 ≡ with: I out = exp [ g0 L ] I in (small signal total gain) (3. Equation 3.5) Equation 3.or emitted light is thus determined by the difference in the densities of atoms in the upper.5 is also valid for the stimulated emission case (N > 0).25 - .and lower levels. . For a slab of laser material with infinitely small thickness dz and area A. Equation 3.6) However.4) This gives: dI = σ NI dz (3. so for an amplifier of length L and a constant population inversion N over the length of the amplifier: I out = I in exp ⎡ ⎦ ⎣ (σ N ) L ⎤ (small-signal intensities) (3. the effect of an atom in the lower energy-level cancels the effect of an atom in the upper level (the absorption cross section of an atom in level 1 is equal to the stimulated emission cross section of an atom in level 2).

is smaller than the atomic linewidth. It can be shown that: [11] σ (ω ) = 2π χ ′′ (ω ) λN (3.9) The small signal gain as a function of frequency G (ω ) = exp ⎡ ⎣σ (ω ) NL ⎤ ⎦ is thus also closely linked to the atomic susceptibility: ωL ⎤ ⎡ G (ω ) = exp ⎢ χ ′′ (ω ) c ⎥ ⎣ ⎦ (3.1: Gain narrowing . Figure 3. the susceptibility is taken as positive (so actually the absorption lineshape is used). Because the frequency dependence of χ ′′ (ω ) appears in the exponent. or amplifier bandwidth. This dependence is illustrated in figure 3. It is therefore perceivable that σ (as a function of frequency) can be related to the atomic susceptibility χ ′′ (ω ) .1.The stimulated-transition cross section σ gives a measure for the interaction between the light field and the laser medium.26 - .10) In this equation. the linewidth of the gain profile.

The bandwidth of the amplifier also decreases even more with increasing amplifier gain. the model assumes a ‘pre-inverted’ medium. The time-derivative of the intensity ∂I ∂t falls out of the equation. because. so that any upper-level relaxation can be neglected during the transit time of the pulse. it is assumed that the pulse duration is long enough. This equation for the pulse intensity can be simplified by integration over all of time.27 - .11) GdB (ωa ) − 3 (The ‘half maximum points’ in the dB scale are given by the ‘3 dB down points’.12) The source term σ NI corresponds to the amount of energy per unit volume per unit time transferred to the light field. t )dt −∞ ∞ (3. which is known as gain narrowing.12 integrated over time becomes: .and minus infinity. where the population inversion is entirely used to amplify the laser pulse. the intensity I ( z . When the gain G (ω ) is written in decibels.13) When equation 3. Second. the pulse is assumed to be sufficiently short.) Equation 3.12 is now integrated over all of time. This is the case when the pulse is long compared to the period of oscillation of the electron clouds of the active laser atoms (which are driven at the light frequency).11 shows the decreasing bandwidth of the amplifier for higher gains. the differential equation for the fluence is found. The intensity of the laser pulse I ( z . The pulse fluence φ is a measure of the total energy-content of the laser pulse (measured in energy per unit area) and is defined as: φ ( z ) ≡ ∫ I ( z. the bandwidth of the amplifier is found to be: Δω3dB = Δωa 3 (3. Equation 3. The trade-off for this simplification is that information about the temporal pulse-shape is lost. Laser pulse amplification: the Frantz-Nodvik model The theory most widely used to describe laser pulse amplification is the Frantz-Nodvik model [12] [13]. This theory is based on two approximations. t ) is of course zero at times plus. such that the rate equations are applicable. for a single laser pulse. First. but amplification (by stimulated emission) does not increase the total pulse duration. t ) in space and time can be described by a plane wave with a source term representing the amount of stimulated emission: ∂I 1 ∂I + = σ NI ∂z c ∂t (3.

14) As said before. Under the two approximations made in the beginning of this section.28 - .19) .t): ⎛ 2σ N ( z . ∞) = N ( z. t ) = N ( z. −∞) exp ⎜ − φ ( z)⎟ ⎝ hν ⎠ (3. The output fluence after a single pass through an amplifier of length L. −∞) the population inversion at position z before the pulse has arrived.16). After the pulse has left. −∞) exp ⎜ − ⎝ hν (3.t) can be solved as a function of I(z.17) The fluence that ‘saturates’ the population inversion down to 1 e of its initial value is called the saturation fluence φsat : φsat ≡ hν 2σ (3. t )dt −∞ ∂z (3.14) can be solved using (3. where the approximation is used that the small signal gain coefficient g0 is constant over the length of the amplifier (which is approximately true for a short rod of amplifying material that is pumped from both sides).∞ ∂φ = σ ∫ N ( z . t ) I ( z . N(z. the population inversion decreases when energy is transferred to the light field.16) with N ( z .15) ∫ ⎞ I ( z. the population inversion is thus: ⎛ 2σ ⎞ N ( z. the energy balance between the population inversion in the amplifier material and the light field intensity of the laser pulse can be described by the following rate equation: ∂N 2σ =− NI ∂t hν From this equation.18) The differential equation for the fluence (3. made of a material with saturation fluence φsat and with initial population inversion N (t = −∞) is then given by: φout = φsat ln [1 + G0 ( exp(φin / φsat ) − 1)] This equation is often called the Frantz-Nodvik equation. t ')dt ' ⎟ −∞ ⎠ t (3. (3.

n +1 = Γφout . The model remains valid when the overall time it takes to amplify the pulse is still short compared with the upper-state lifetime in the amplifier material.n − (φout . Equation 3.n − φin . the output of pass-number n is simply multiplied by a loss factor Γ to account for the losses in redirecting the pulse back to the crystal: φin .n ) The gain Gn for a certain pass number n can then be written as: (3.24) Gn = exp ( g n L ) = exp (σ N n L ) = exp ⎜ ⎛ φsto .19 written for pass-number n is just: φout . The largest fluence that can be extracted from the amplifier is found by taking the limit φin / φsat >> 1 in equation 3.22) The stored fluence φsto in the amplifying medium is therefore defined as: φsto ≡ Nhν L 2 (3. .21) It is convenient to express the gain for a certain pass number n ( Gn ) using the concept of stored fluence φsto in the amplifier medium. φsto is just lowered the amount extracted by the pulse: φsto .20) To estimate the input fluence for pass-number n+1.n +1 = φsto .Recurrence relation The Frantz-Nodvik equation can be generalised to calculate the output fluence after multiple passes through the amplifier.19.29 - . This gives: φout ≈ φin + ( g0φsat ) L = φin + Nhν L 2 ( φin / φsat >> 1 ) (3.n = φsat ln [1 + Gn ( exp(φin .n ( Γ < 1) (3.25) where g n is the small-signal gain coefficient for pass number n and N n is the corresponding population inversion.23) After every pass through the amplifier.n ⎞ ⎟ ⎝ φsat ⎠ (3.n / φsat ) − 1)] (3.

the absorbed fluence is not fully used to create population inversion in the medium. Further.30 - . for every atom in the upper energy level of the amplifying transition.27) Finally. After a finite number of passes.23 expresses the stored fluence φsto in the laser medium. This is the fluence that is ‘available’ for the input signal (with same frequency ν ). This loss of energy is quantified by the coupling yield η (< 1). For instance. Also. But the stored fluence is of course effectuated by the absorption of pump energy. the medium has absorbed a photon at the pump frequency. there are however a few loss factors. some of the pump energy will be dissipated in the medium as heat. the stored fluence in the laser medium is given by: φsto = φabsη λp λs (3. the energy transfer from pump to pulse (‘signal’) of course also depends on the overlap of the two beams in the amplifying medium. Amplifier saturation After every pass of the pulse through the gain medium.to pump photonenergy. The absorbed part φabs of the pump fluence is given by: φabs = φpump (1 − exp [ −α L]) (3. the stored fluence in the medium is lowered and the gain is therefore lower for every subsequent pass.Energy transfer from pump to pulse Equation 3. as the ratio of pump to signal wavelengths λ p λs . . which generally has higher energy than a signal-photon. extra passes of the pulse through the medium will only slowly decrease the pulse energy. The quantum defect is defined as the ratio of signal.26) with α the absorption coefficient. The growth of pulse energy in the amplifier is qualitatively illustrated in figure 3. Beyond this point. In the energy transfer from the pump beam to the laser pulse.and L the length of the amplifying medium. First of all. the amplifier is saturated. with population inversion N and the frequency ν corresponding to the amplifying transition.2. With these loss factors taken into account. the fluence of the pump beam φ pump is not entirely absorbed in the amplifying medium. or equivalently. The efficiency of the conversion to a larger wavelength thus has a maximum given by the quantum defect (for the case that every pump photon results in a signal photon). the gain is outweighed by the losses.

with the higher-intensity parts being flattened out relative to the weaker parts. spatial deformation of an arbitrary input profile can be observed for an arbitrary choice of pump profile. In the spatial domain.3 illustrates (strong) saturation of a Gaussian shaped input profile with a top-hat shaped pump profile. The Frantz-Nodvik model presented in this chapter is implemented in Matlab to illustrate these effects. the saturated gain coefficient would be relatively low at the centre frequencies and the lineshape describing the saturated gain is thus flattened at the centre frequencies. The next chapter describes the design and construction of the Ti:Sa 4-pass amplifier at the LPNO group. Figure 3. so that the input profile of a particular pass has the same transverse size and shape as the output profile of the previous pass. the more intense parts of the input beam saturate the amplifier more rapidly than the weaker portions. The validity of the model is discussed there to some more detail.2: Build up of pulse energy and amplifier saturation Amplifier saturation gives rise to several effects. so the first part of the pulse will be amplified more strongly than the latter part. In chapter 5 of this thesis. For this illustrative purpose. When a laser beam passes through an amplifier with uniform gain over some finite region of its transverse area (top-hat shaped pump beams). When the amplifier saturates.or near saturation is power broadening (also called saturation broadening). In (saturated) CPAsystem amplifiers. Another aspect of operating the amplifier in. When the centre frequencies of the gain profile saturate the amplifier more than the frequencies in the spectral wings. this gain saturation effect causes a ‘red-shift’. In the temporal domain. the total frequency dependence of the gain coefficient must include both the ‘normal’ frequency dependence of the gain related to the atomic susceptibility (given by equation 3. . In amplifying a positively chirped pulse.10) and the frequency dependence of the saturation behaviour. the lower frequencies in the leading part of the pulse are amplified stronger. this leads to a shift of the central frequency of the pulse.Figure 3. The resulting (larger) linewidth is power-broadened. the spreading of the beam during the passes through the amplifier is neglected. amplifier saturation gives rise to a distortion of the input-beam intensity profile. As a result.31 - . the first part of the pulse might see an amplifier that is less saturated than the latter part. the beam profile will change. the Matlab model used here for illustration is applied to analyse the performance of the real amplifier setup.

3: Saturation of a Gaussian beam (with top-hat pump profile) .Figure 3.32 - .

For instance. Design and Construction of the 4-pass Amplifier This chapter is dedicated to the design.7. When the focusing effect of a slice of material exceeds the diffraction spreading of the beam in the same length. This effect becomes significant at high intensities and has the potential to induce ‘runaway’ effects.2) Self-phase modulation thus induces a lowering of the optical frequency of the leading edge of the pulse and an increase of the frequency during the trailing edge of the pulse . the Kerr-effect is something to be careful with.and construction aspects that play a role in setting up the (first) 4-pass power amplifier of the Ti:sapphire laser system. the intensity in the center of the beam becomes larger. the high intensities in the amplifier might damage the Ti:Sa crystal and the optics in the setup. is known as whole-beam self-focusing.10. This effect. Self-phase modulation is a result of temporal changes in the intensity profile. but there are several aspects that must be considered. Small intensity peaks in the input laser beam experience the same focusing effect. small variations in the transverse intensity profile will grow exponentially with distance propagating through a Kerr-medium. Also. as if it were separate little beams.1) A temporal dependence of the intensity I thus induces a frequency shift Δω ( t ) : Δω ( t ) = d Δϕ ( t ) 2π dI n =− (t ) ⋅ L dt λ 2 dt (4. This then increases the focusing power of the self-induced lens in the next slice of material and the beam will be focused ever more strongly inward. small-scale self-focusing and self-phase modulation. as illustrated in figure 2. If the intensitylevel is high enough. such as whole-beam self-focusing.4. This effect is called small-scale self-focusing. The basic idea of the amplifier is straightforward. At high intensities. the Kerr-effect in the Ti:Sa crystal leads to a self-induced focusing of the laser beam as a result of the intensity-dependent part of the refractive index of Ti:Sa. as illustrated in figure 2. High-intensity nonlinear effects In designing an amplifier for a high-power laser system. The intensity-dependent part of the refractive index n2 induces an extra phase shift Δϕ ( I ) given by: ( λ the wavelength in vacuum) Δϕ ( I ) = − 2π λ n2 I ⋅ L (4. a beam with smooth transverse intensity profile experiences higher refractive index in the center.33 - . as compared to the wings. a few techniques used in the setup are described below.

The usual rule of thumb is to keep B below the value of about 2 to avoid damage. frequency doubled Nd:YAG lasers. we use a laser amplifier reported by Walker et. as a design template [15].1: Propagation of a ‘top-hat’ profile .(for n2 > 0 ). it is important to pump the crystal with as good as possible profile to get optimum output-beam quality. From the reported data. building up over a length L through the medium. the pulse will generally be compressed in time as it propagates. The pump profile on the Ti:Sa crystal primarily determines the gain characteristics over the cross-section of the crystal. B-integral The B-integral is a measure for the cumulative nonlinear interaction of a light field with a Kerr-medium and is defined as: B≡ 2π λ ∫ L 0 n2 ( z ) I ( z )dz (4. As a starting point for the amplifier setup. the B-value for the 4-pass amplifier of this system is estimated at 0.3) The value for n2 of Ti:Sa at 800 nm is taken to be 3. Figure 4.5.1. Vacuum relay imaging The Ti:sapphire crystal in the 4-pass amplifier is pumped by two Q-switched.18 ⋅ 10−16 cm 2 W (derived from [14]). again in a runaway type of process. Therefore. As a consequence of this. As can be seen from equation 4.1 (simulated with ‘LightPipes’ [16]).34 - . the value of B gives the cumulative ‘phase retardance’ (in radians) as a result of the Kerr-effect. An illustration of the effect of free space propagation on a top-hat shaped beam profile can be seen in figure 4.al. Ordinary propagation of the pump beam from the pump laser to the Ti:Sa crystal does not result in the best attainable pump-profile on the crystal.

It is desirable to place this lens outside the mirror arrays that direct the Ti:Sa pulse though the crystal. . The beam diameter d at the image plane is given by: d image _ plane = d object _ plane ( f 2 / f1 ) . together with certain magnification.5 mm. The second lens is placed a distance f 2 further down the path.5 mm.To enhance the beam profile at the position of the crystal.35 - . A practical downside of this technique is the focus in the pump lines. The minimum lengths of the tubes are determined by the damage threshold of the high power vacuum-windows. because the intensity in the focus is so high that optical breakdown occurs at atmospheric pressure. The setup is illustrated in the figure below. With selected lenses of focal lengths f1 = 1443. the beam profile just at the output of the pump-laser is ‘imaged’ on the Ti:Sa crystal (‘Relay imaging’ [17][18]).and image beam profiles.2: Relay imaging The imaging telescope consists of two positive lenses. The beam profile (of the 532 nm output) of the pump is at its best just after the doubling crystal in the laser.10). The imaging properties of a telescope are used to ‘relay’ the beam profile in an object plane to an image plane. The ratio of the focal lengths of these lenses determines the magnification between the object. The first lens is placed at its focal length f1 from the object plane. The Ti:Sa crystal is chosen as the image plane and the object plane is selected for its optimum beam profile. so the pulse can pass through the crystal at as small as possible angles. the distances between the doubling crystals of the pumps and the Ti:Sa crystal must be 2.44 m. Figure 4. resulting in maximum overlap between the pulse and the pumped volume of the crystal (see figure 2. The pump beam diameter (in the object plane) is about 8 mm and the diameter of the pump on the Ti:Sa crystal is chosen to be 5. Vacuum tubes must be used in these sections. the ‘image profile’ is created a distance f 2 behind this lens.8 mm and f 2 = 994. resulting in a Fourier transform of this plane a distance f1 behind the lens. This plane is therefore selected to be Relay-imaged onto the Ti:Sa crystal. One of the reasons that these lenses are not chosen to have smaller focal lengths is that the second lens in the pump line cannot be placed at very short distance from the Ti:Sa crystal.

(It must be said that a large part of the local irregularities in these pictures is due to dust particles on the neutral density filters installed in front of the CCD camera. With a known focal length f1 . but it is not free of noise. these peaks will however become larger.3: Spatial filter The size of the Gaussian focus can be calculated by the so-called q-parameter of the input beam (see Appendix 1).Low pass spatial filtering The input pulse for the 4-pass amplifier (coming from the regenerative amplifier) has Gaussian transverse-shape. For this reason. the pulse is spatially filtered before it is sent through the 4-pass amplifier.36 - . the q-parameter can be calculated in the path behind the lens. but the noisy spikes present in the input are filtered out. by blocking the off-axis components corresponding to higher spatial frequencies in the input signal. When this profile is amplified in the 4-pass amplifier. the original Gaussian spatial profile is preserved.) . scattering as a result of dust particles or irregularities in optics lead to small peaks in this signal. The result is a ‘clean’ pulse. and to obtain better output beam quality. with possible damage to the crystal when a large peak is self-focused in the crystal.3). The result of spatial filtering of the input pulse can be seen in figure 4. The second positive lens then makes the inverse Fourier transform of the part of the pulse that is transmitted through the pinhole. Figure 4. The pinhole must be chosen just large enough so that only the Gaussian shaped spot on axis is transmitted (the Fourier transform of the Gaussian shaped input pulse is also a Gaussian). The first positive lens creates a Fourier transform of the input pulse in its focal plane and the actual filtering is done in this plane. which gives the size.4. Low pass spatial filtering is done by placing a small pinhole in the focal plane of a telescope made up of two positive lenses (see figure 4.and position of the focus.

4: Spatial filtering Minimizing pre-pulses in input signal The output pulse of the regenerative amplifier is preceded by a few pre-pulses.5.9). which is often an important factor in experiments. as can be seen in figure 4.and out-coupling switch of the regenerative amplifier (figure 2. every time the pulse passes the switch a small fraction of the pulse is reflected out of the cavity (off the surface of the polarizing beamsplitter). This setup is illustrated in figure 4. because they pass the inverted Ti:Sa crystal first. during amplification in the regen. These reflections occur as pre pulses in the output signal of the regenerative amplifier.Figure 4. This is a result of the in.5: Output of regenerative amplifier If this signal would be coupled into the 4-pass amplifier.37 - . This of course negatively influences the efficiency of the amplifier and amplification of the prepulses also has a detrimental effect on the contrast of the output signal.6 and is quite similar to the in. Figure 4. the pre-pulses are amplified even more than the ‘big’ pulse.and out-coupling switch of the regenerative amplifier. A combination of polarizing optics and a Pockels-cell is used as an ‘input switch’ for the 4-pass amplifier to minimize the amplification of pre-pulses. .

7a).38 - . In figure 4.Figure 4. PC time-window contains multiple pulses c.7: Effect of Pockels-cell (PC) input switch a. the Pockels-cell is only switched on during the passing of a single pulse. The effect of this switch can be seen when the oscillator pulse train is taken as the input signal (figure 4.6 from the left) is s-polarized and the λ 2 -plate rotates the polarization to ‘p’. But when the Pockelscell is switched on it acts as a λ 2 -plate. Figure 4. PC time-window contains single pulse . the ppolarized light is transmitted through the polarizing beamsplitter.6: Input switch to minimize amplification of pre-pulses The output of the regenerative amplifier (entering figure 4. Figure 4. When the Pockels-cell is off. so that the (now) s-polarized beam reflects off the surface of the polarizing beamsplitter.7b gives the output of the setup for the case that multiple pulses can pass the Pockels-cell during the time it is switched on.7c. The pulses that pass the Pockels-cell when it is turned off are largely transmitted through the polarizing beamsplitter and are attenuated in the output signal by 91 %. Oscillator pulse train b.

The pumped area of the crystal was as a result too small to amplify the entire pulse in the vertical direction. but especially the profile of the second pump has a rather oval shape (see figure 4.9). . again by using the relay imaging technique.and third pass The intensity distributions of both pump lasers are not very homogeneous as can be seen in figure 4.To minimize the pre-pulses in the input of the 4-pass amplifier. The result is given in figure 4.8.4. Figure 4.39 - .9 (the fringes in these pictures are not present in the real pump profile. shows that the pre-pulses are effectively diminished. A good pump beam should at least be circularly symmetric. Vacuum spatial filtering after second. in comparison with figure 4. The first amplification measurements however revealed that some adjustments were necessary to obtain the desired output power and beam quality. the Pockels-cell is switched on only for the short period that the big pulse from the regen passes. which. the size of the second pump beam on the crystal is enlarged to 8 mm. but are a result of the beam samplers used to lower the power before the beam hits the CCD camera).8: Regen output after input switch Experimental setup The first experimental setup of the 4-pass amplifier at the LPNO group made use of the techniques described in this chapter and had approximately the characteristics of the amplifier reported by Walker [15] in terms of beam sizes and size of the Ti:Sa crystal. Enlarging pump beam of second pump laser The Nd:YAG pump lasers used in the setup do not produce an ideal beam for pumping the Ti:Sa crystal. Any prepulses are thereby attenuated in the input of the amplifier. To solve this problem.

two more spatial filters are installed after the second.40 - .9: Measured pump profiles at the Ti:Sa crystal These pump profiles make that the Ti:Sa pulse also becomes less smooth during amplification. together with the first Nd:YAG pump laser (and all the first stages of the laser system as described in chapter two). It is however important to maintain a beam radius of around 2 mm for the Ti:Sa pulse. This way. The final setup.and third pass. the input switch (see figure 4. The entire setup is drawn using a Mathcad program called SmartSketch to determine the positions of all optical components. The two extra spatial filters are therefore at the same time used to enlarge the beam after the second. is illustrated in figure 4.and the third pass. as described in this chapter.Figure 4. For instance. . It is also found that the Ti:Sa pulse becomes smaller with every pass through the crystal. To prevent the buildup of any large spikes in the pulse and to maintain as good as possible beam-quality through the amplifier. To accurately determine the positions of the optics in the design. the distances between pump lasers and Ti:sapphire crystal are given by the focal lengths of the Relay-imaging lenses. setting up the multipass amplifier asks for accurate placement of the optics. all components are drawn to scale.6) is placed on another optical table. focusing the beam in air would result in optical breakdown. Because the intensity of the pulse is now much higher than that of the input-pulse. This picture does not display the complete setup. The extra spatial filters are therefore placed in vacuum tubes. The reason for this is probably the thermal lens effect of the Ti:Sa crystal. and it is desirable that the Ti:Sa beam makes as small as possible angles through the crystal. Final setup of the 4-pass amplifier In general. including the positions of the pump lasers and of the two optical tables relative to each other. clipping of the laser beam by any component is immediately evident. to preserve a good overlap between the pulse and the pump beams and to prevent the scenario of exceeding the damage threshold of the crystal.10.

10: All lenses and mirrors in the setup halve diameters of 1 inch. except for the first part of the pump beams.In the next and final chapter of this thesis.5 inch (including the vacuum tube in the ‘second’ pump line in figure 4. The measured data is compared with the theory of pulse amplification. except for the lenses in the pump-lines. whose diameters are 2 inch. All laser beams propagate at this standard height.5 inch height above the table.10).41 - . which initially have a height of about 7. . the performance of the presented amplifier setup is reported. With figure 4. The Ti:Sa crystal is placed at 2.

Figure 4.42 - .10: Schematic setup of 4-pass amplifier .

the result is given in figure 5.43 - .1. The measured pump profiles are used in the simulation as well as the measured properties of the input beam. Measurements Amplification of pulse energy The setup. the output of every pass is logged over a time period of 15 minutes. The theory presented in chapter 3 is used to simulate the experimental setup. as illustrated in figure 4. The output power of the amplifier is logged over a period of one hour.2. The results are given in figure 5. Figure 5. the error-bars indicate the measured standard deviation.1: Logged output power The pulse energy is measured per pass through the amplifier. . Amplifier Performance and Comparison with the Theory This chapter presents the measurement results obtained with the final setup of the amplifier as described in chapter four.10. gives stable output pulse energy of about 140 mJ.5.

The spectral measurements given below support this observation. To see the actual effect of amplification on the spectral content of the pulse.44 - . Spectral properties In chapter 3.and before the regenerative amplifier (the pulse before the regen is the oscillator pulse measured after the stretcher). . The results are given in figure 5.2: Pulse energy per pass From the shape of this curve. the pulse gains most of its energy in the 4th pass.Figure 5. it seems that the amplifier is not saturated. the spectrum is measured at the output of the 4-pass amplifier as well as after.3. some things are said about the spectral effects of amplification.

M 2 -Beam propagation factor The amplifier under consideration produces the input of another 4-pass power amplifier. It is therefore important to determine how the output beam propagates to enable reliable design of the next amplifier.Figure 5.45 - . This ‘second moment width’ is chosen as the basis of the M-squared method for characterizing laser beams [19]. This result also indicates that the 4-pass amplifier is not saturated. The oscillator pulse (after the stretcher) has FWHM spectral width of about 25 nm. The second moment σ x2 of an intensity profile I(x. but it is better to speak of the ‘beam propagation factor’.y) across the rectangular coordinate x is defined as: . This is because the regen is operated into saturation. These values are often said to specify the beam-quality. The narrowing of the pulse spectrum in the 4-pass amplifier is also negligible compared to the narrowing already induced by the regen. This is done by measuring the so-called M-squared values of the output beam for both the horizontal.3: Spectral content Ti:Sa pulse This figure depicts that the main red-shift in the pulse spectrum is induced by the regenerative amplifier. The standard definition of laser ‘beam width’ is based on the second moment of the intensity distribution of the beam (ISO/11146).and vertical directions. which is reduced to about 16 nm after the regenerative amplifier. The extra shift resulting from amplification in the 4-pass amplifier is negligible compared to the shift induced by the regen. which causes a shift of the central frequency of about 10 nm.

x ) / z R .z) given by: I ( r. y)dxdy 2 ∞ −∞ 0 ∞ (5.2) Here σ x0 is the variance at the beam waist. σ x obeys a free-space propagation rule that holds for any arbitrary beam: σ x2 ( z ) = σ x20 + σ θ2 × ( z − z 0 ) 2 (5.σ 2 x ∫ (x − x ) I (x. z ) = P ⎛ r2 ⎞ exp ⎜ −2 ⎟ ⎜ w ( z )2 ⎟ 2 ⎝ ⎠ (5.1) where x 0 is the ‘centre of gravity’ of the beam in this direction (the first-moment of the intensity profile around x 0 vanishes). For any arbitrary beam and any choice of transverse axes one can then find: Wx ( z ) = W0. For this Gaussian profile.6a) . The general beam width definition is therefore chosen as: Wx ≡ 2σ x so that: Wx ≡ 2 (5.3) π w( z) 2 w(z) is called the beam radius or ‘Gaussian spotsize’.46 - .5) −∞ Similar definitions go for the rectangular coordinate y. w is twice the variance: wx ≡ 2σ x . σ θ is the variance of the angular spread of the beam departing from the waist and z 0 is the location of the beam waist along the zaxis. The position of x 0 travels in a straight line as the 2 beam propagates and. y )dxdy ∫ I ( x. y)dxdy ∞ 2 −∞ 0 ∞ −∞ (5.4) ∫ (x − x ) I (x. more important. x and: ( ) 2 (5. y )dxdy = ∫ I ( x. x 1 + M x2 ( z − z0. A Gaussian beam has transverse intensity profile I(r.

The measurement errors in determining the second moment become bigger when the measurement area gets larger.6b) with: z R. The second-moment widths of the beam are determined using a CCD camera. . The propagation of an arbitrary (simple-astigmatic) laser beam can in this way be fully 2 2 described by six parameters: W0 x . The measurement results can be seen in figure 5.6 mm in horizontal. y ( ) 2 (5.1. z 0 x . As can be seen from equation 5. The numerical data of the measurement is imported in Matlab and a routine is written to determine the second moments of the distributions. W0 y .y ≡ λ (in free space) (5. The parameters zR in equations 5.x ≡ λ and: z R.3). The parameters M x2 and 2 are ≥ 1.2 W y ( z ) = W0. M x and M y . except for an M 2 multiplication factor in the far-field spreading of the beam. My Measuring M 2 values To determine the M 2 -values of the output beam. the weight factor for measured pixel-intensities goes up with the square of the distance from the beam-centre so errors in measuring pixel intensities at large distances from the beam centre become more significant. To sufficiently reduce the power. with the limit of M 2 ≡ 1 for single-mode TEM 00 Gaussian beams.4.6 correspond to the Rayleigh range in the Gaussian case. y πW02.and 6. y ) / z R . z 0 y .6c.47 - . It is therefore best to stop measuring at certain distance from the centre to ensure justifiable accuracy (in this case the size of the CCD array is 8. the second moments of the intensity distribution are measured at different positions after focusing the beam with a lens. three beam-samplers are used together with a variable amount of neutral-density filters.d) M x and M y are parameters characteristic of the particular beam. y 1 + M y ( z − z0.1.9 mm in vertical direction).x πW02. The beam widths W x and W y thus propagate with distance in free space exactly like w(z) of an ideal Gaussian beam (see equation A.

The local irregularities in this picture are mainly due to dust particles and irregularities on the neutral density filters.48 - .4: Beam propagation factors Profile of the output pulse: As also follows from the measured M 2 -values. The amplification process and propagation through the amplifier have their influence on the output beam shape. Figure 5. the output of the 4-pass amplifier is not a perfect Gaussian.5: Picture of the output pulse .Figure 5.5 shows a picture of the measured output profile. Figure 5.

The loss of pulse energy in redirecting the pulse for the next pass (modelled by the factor Γ ) is also measured for the real setup. which are conveniently given by the transformation of the q-parameters of the input beam (for the horizontal and vertical directions). The interference ripples in these pictures are diminished by averaging over a number of pixels. the simulation assumes that the first moments of the pump. To simulate the real setup. The amplifier is modelled as a matrix of ‘small amplifiers’. In the real setup however. The radius w at the positions the beam passes the Ti:Sa crystal are calculated from the q-parameter values.49 - . the amplified beam spreads out during propagation between the passes. It was first tried to reduce interference ripples by spatial filtering of the bitmap images.6 together with the combined fluence profile.and input beams overlap in the Ti:Sa crystal.9). The optical elements of the amplifier setup are placed accurately according to the design. The astigmatic-Gaussian input beam of the 4-pass amplifier has certain propagation characteristics. The fluence profiles of the both pumps at the Ti:Sa crystal are reconstructed from bitmap files (see figure 4. both the real input pulse and the real pump beams are measured and the intensity profiles of these beams are split-up into small overlapping areas. the model is improved to take into account (part of-) the spreading of the beam.and input beams. The fluence profiles of the pumps as used in the Matlab simulation are given in figure 5. . In chapter 3. but this also filters away the sharp edge of the pump profiles. This is used to calculate the q-parameter of the input beam throughout the amplifier (without amplification). an illustration was given using this model for the case of a Gaussian input with top-hat shaped pump beams.Comparison with the theory The ‘Frantz-Nodvik’ theory presented in chapter 3 is implemented in Matlab and this simulation can be used to account for transverse variations in the pump beams and in the input pulse. This information is used to give the ‘scaling factor’ of the beam profile between subsequent passes. so the distances between the elements are known. Regarding the alignment of pump. A simplification used there was that the input profile of a certain pass has the same transverse size and -shape as the output profile of the previous pass.

The output profile produced by the simulation is given in figure 5.8. The measured values of the real setup are also given in this picture.7.50 - .6: Reconstructed pump-profiles The simulation calculates pulse energies per pass as depicted in figure 5. The Matlab code for this simulation is given in Appendix 2. .Figure 5.

51 - . The described model ‘propagates’ the beam through the amplifier assuming M 2 of 1. The overlap is therefore not constant over the distance of the crystal.7: Simulated output pulse-energy and measurements Figure 5. because the pulse passes the crystal at small angles. but the used ‘Frantz-Nodvik’ theory does not provide any information about the phase of the light in the amplification process. However. the effect of the amplification process on the pulse shape results in an M 2 -factor larger than 1.Figure 5. Also.8: Simulated. to describe the faster spreading of the amplified beam (compared to a perfect Gaussian). field-description of the amplification process. experience with the amplifier has shown that the alignment of the amplifier largely determines the shape of the output beam (and of the pulse energy). The precise overlap of the pulse and the pumps is not known for the real setup and is also difficult to describe accurately. This M 2 -factor could (maybe) be determined theoretically with a full. In .and measured output pulse profile The similarity between the simulated and the measured output beam-profiles is actually quite poor.

which is achieved when the amplifier is driven into saturation.52 - . . again together with the measured data and the results of the Matlab simulation.9. Contrary to the ‘flat input’ calculation.and the measured output profiles in figure 5.reality the beam will diverge faster than is accounted for in this model and the beam shape will also deform during propagation. Figure 5. Also. The pump beams are modelled as flat-top beams with elliptical shape and the input (Gaussian) beam is given an effective area corresponding to the Gaussian spotsize w. in scientific experiments it is often advantageous if one can rely on as-stable-as-possible output pulseenergy. the realised simulation in Matlab gives a clear indication that the amplifier with the used characteristics and pump-profiles will not saturate.8 indeed shows that the measured beam is relatively spread out more in the horizontal direction. as is confirmed by the real setup. The result of this calculation is given in figure 5. because the pump energy in this kind of power amplifiers is very costly and must be used as efficiently as possible. The output fluence that could be expected from the amplifier was also calculated using a ‘flat input’ for the input pulse and for the pump beams. one would expect the 4-pass amplifier to operate into saturation. Comparison of the simulated.9: ‘Flat input’ calculation Based on the calculations with a flat input profile. The measured output beam has shown to posses larger M 2 -value in the horizontal direction than in the vertical direction. Information about whether or not an amplifier will saturate is very important in the design phase.

In this specific case however. To perform both a correction of the ellipticity of the pulse as well as to reduce the noise. Any gained performance of the amplifier under consideration (in terms of higher output pulse-energy and higher stability) is ‘lost’ as the current output will also saturate the final amplifier (which requires minimum input pulse energy of about 70 mJ to reach the saturation level). For more information about the final power amplifier contact ‘reference number [20]’.53 - . In this case. it is not a problem that the amplifier does not saturate. The output also contains some noise peaks. The setup of the final amplifier of the laser system is currently under construction in the Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics group. The output has quite elliptic shape which is not an ideal input for the next amplifier. the shape of the output pulse of the realised amplifier is a more important characteristic. a low-pass spatial-filter setup is being realised that uses cylindrical lenses. The design of the final amplifier builds upon the experience gained in the construction of the presented amplifier. . because it is not the final amplifier of the laser system.

this output is sufficient to saturate the final power amplifier of the laser system. This asymmetry is likely due to the asymmetry of the pump profiles. The used simulation correctly indicates that the amplifier with the used characteristics and pump-profiles will not saturate. It is found that the beam-profiles of the used pump lasers are not ideal in terms of symmetry and homogeneity and have large effect on the output beam profile. The result is a beam of elliptic shape.75 in the horizontal direction. The M 2 -beam propagation factors of the output beam are measured to be 1. smooth beam profiles. The pulse spectrum is largely unaffected in the 4-pass amplifier. Before this beam is inserted in the final amplifier. In the design of an amplifier it is of great importance to predict the circumstances that will saturate the amplifier. it is not a problem that the amplifier does not reach saturation. The resulting output beam-profile shows similarities to the (combined) pump profile and has relatively spread out more in the horizontal direction.54 - . Though the amplifier is not saturated. corresponding to the larger beam propagation factor in this direction. It is recommended to use better pump lasers that produce circular.6. the pulse shape is to be manipulated to a more circular profile by means of a telescope using cylindrical lenses.2 in the vertical direction and 1. . partly because the amplifier is not saturated. and also because the gain factor of about 100 preserves large enough bandwidth to amplify the full spectrum the regenerative amplifier output. Conclusions The realised 4-pass amplifier of the Ti:sapphire laser system works on a stable. In this specific case however. daily basis and delivers output pulse energy of about 140 mJ. Because the output is also not free of noise. The simulation of the amplifier setup has shown to give quite good results and adds value to simple ‘plane input’ calculations. low pass spatial filtering is recommended before the beam is amplified in the final stage. because the output is further amplified in a final stage 4-pass amplifier. which requires minimum input energy of 70 mJ to reach saturation.

[12] L. Soc. 8. Khachatryan. [10] A.M. vol. no. 1041-1128. Saeki et al. Maine et al.A van Goor. pp. Soc. 2001. [11] A.G.-J. pp. [13] P. 679-687. 8. 395-398.E. University Science Books. Siegman. F. “Extremely short relativisticelectron-bunch generation in the laser wakefield via novel bunch injection scheme”. 2006. Wiley-Interscience.7. [3] A. 1774-1785. vol. Opt. vol. no. Khachatryan et al. [4] M. [5] A. 3. B. 1988. [14] A. 80-108. Opt. “Broadband characterization of the nonlinear refractive index of sapphire”. “Lasers”. [6] P. 266..H. Phil. 2006. 1986. 2346-2349. no. “Series tests of high gradient single-cell superconducting cavity for the establishment of KEK recipe”. Proceedings of EPAC. Am.. 266-291. Major et al. Overview and latest results”. 2004. pp.E. van der Wiel et al. pp. “Laser wakefield acceleration: the injection issue. 244-249. 24. Cheriaux et al. 364. 1986. vol. Trans. no. in IEEE LEOS Annual Meeting. A. Lett. University Science Books. 5.55 - . . paper TuAA3. Boller. 2. 1963. “Aberration-free stretcher design for ultrashort-pulse amplification”. Umstadter. 21. Moulton.F. Milonni and J.E. Siegman. 2006. [7] G. 2003. no. J. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A... 414. 121301.J. “Lasers”. pp. 405. pp. Frantz and J. Siegman. 1988. 1. Physical Review Special Topics – Accelerators and Beams. Nodvik. vol. pp. p. vol. [8] P. University Science Books.. IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics.G.. Journal of Applied Physics. 34.S.W. “Lasers”. References [1] T. pp. 1986. Eberly. Physics of Plasmas.. 7. “Spectroscopic and laser characteristics of Ti : Al2O3 ”. vol. R. “Generation of Ultrahigh Peak Power Pulses by Chirped Pulse Amplification”. “Conceptual design of a laser wakefield acceleration experiment with external bunch injection”. [2] D. [9] A. and K. 389-403. pp. “Lasers”. 1986. “Review of physics and applications of relativistic plasmas driven by ultra-intense lasers. 1996. no. “Theory of Pulse Propagation in a Laser Amplifier”.

. Le Blanc et al. [20] Dr. 1999.E. no.V. 10. “Compact and efficient miltipass Ti:sapphire system for femtosecond chirped-pulse amplification at the terawatt level”. 2. 196-202. Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics group. 5.C. [19] A. 4. Optical Society of America Annual Meeting 1997. 140-142. [17] J.[15] B. Vdovin. vol. Optics Express. 1993. Siegman. pp. vol. Walker et al. 16. .T. Applied Optics. [18] J. 18. Hunt et al. “Improved performance of fusion lasers using the imaging properties of multiple spatial filters”. paper OSA TOPS. Hunt et al. pp. “A 50-EW/cm 2 Ti:sapphire laser system for studying relativistic light-matter interactions”. “Suppression of self-focusing through low-pass spatial filtering and relay imaging”.3. Van Goor. Ir. no. 2053-2057. Delft.56 - . Ing. “LightPipes” Beam Propagation Toolbox. Van Goor and G. F. “How to (maybe) Measure Laser Beam Quality”. vol. 1977. pp. [21] C. [16] F. University of Twente / TNW / LPNO and Flexible Optical B. version 1. Applied Optics. 13.A. University of Twente. 1998. no.. no. vol.A. 17. pp..T. Optics Letters. 779-782. 1978. Department of Science and Technology..

Figure A. and is defined as the distance from the beam centre at which the intensity has dropped to 1 e 2 of the maximum intensity.1. The beam radius (or Gaussian spot size) at any point z is denoted by w ( z ) .57 - . (A.1: Gaussian beam At a particular point in space z. the beam radius w ( z ) and radius of curvature R ( z ) of the phase fronts can be calculated for any position z along the path: .2) For a Gaussian beam with known beam waist size and -position. where z = 0 gives the position of minimum beam radius. flat: R ( 0 ) = ∞ ).1.1. The curved lines in the picture below illustrate the phase fronts of the beam.Appendix 1: q-parameter The q-parameter.1) where b is the ‘Rayleigh range’ given by: ( λ the wavelength of the light and n the refractive index of the material in which the beam propagates) b = π nw0 2 λ (A. illustrates a Gaussian beam. The size of the minimum beam radius is called the beam waist w0 . which have radii of curvature R ( z ) (the phase fronts at the position of the beam waist are Figure A. the q-parameter is defined as: q ( z ) = z + jb .1.1. is a complex number that completely describes a Gaussian beam at a particular point in space. or complex beam parameter.

z2 ⎞ 2⎛ + w2 ( z ) = w0 1 ⎜ 2 ⎟ ⎝ b ⎠ ⎛ b2 ⎞ = R ( z ) z ⎜1 + 2 ⎟ z ⎠ ⎝

(A.1.3) (A.1.4)

From equations A.1.1 to A.1.4, q ( z ) can be written in terms of R ( z ) and w ( z ) : 1 1 λ = −j q( z ) R ( z ) π nw( z )2 (A.1.5)

⎛ 1 1 z − jb ⎞ ≡ = 2 (by using: ⎜ ). The values of R ( z ) and w ( z ) thus follow from 2 ⎟ ⎝ q( z ) z + jb z + b ⎠ respectively the real- and imaginary parts of q ( z ) .

Transformation of q-parameter

Any optical component has an associated ABCD-matrix and the change in the qparameter in passing the component can be expressed using a general notation:
q' = Aq + B Cq + D


where q ' refers to the point after passing the component. It is sometimes convenient to write A.1.6 in the form: 1 C+D q = q' A+ B q (A.1.7)

For instance, when q ( z ) is known, the q-value after a length d of free-space propagation is q ( z + d ) = ( z + d ) + jb = q ( z ) + d . So:

⎡ A B ⎤ ⎡1 d ⎤ Free space propagation of length d: ⎢ ⎥=⎢ ⎥ ⎣C D ⎦ ⎣ 0 1 ⎦


In the case of a thin lens of focal length f, a beam with initially flat phase fronts ( R = ∞ ) passing the lens obtains a radius of curvature R = − f . The beam radius w is assumed to 1 λ 1 1 λ is transformed to =− − j . be unaffected for a thin lens, so = − j 2 q q′ f πw π w2 Comparison with equation A.1.7 shows that: - 58 -

⎡A B⎤ ⎡ 1 Propagation through a thin lens of focal length f: ⎢ ⎥=⎢ ⎣C D ⎦ ⎣ − 1 f

0⎤ 1⎥ ⎦


Equation A.1.2 for the Rayleigh range together with equations A.1.3 and A.1.4 for w ( z ) and R ( z ) shows that a Gaussian beam propagating in a medium with refractive index n evolves with distance z as if it were propagating in free space a distance z n . So:
Propagation through a slab of material with index of refraction n and thickness d:

⎡ A B ⎤ ⎡1 d n ⎤ ⎢C D ⎥ = ⎢ 0 1 ⎥ ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦


The effect of a combination of optical elements can be described by a single ABCDmatrix, which is the product of the separate ABCD-matrices.

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Appendix 2: Matlab-simulation code
clear; m=1; cm=1e-2*m; mm=1e-3*m; nm=1e-9*m; W=1; mW=1e-3*W; Hz=1; e=2.17828; J=1; pixels_x=100; % number of pixels in pixels_y=100; % number of pixels in size_x=12*mm; % grid size size_y=12*mm; pixelSize_x=size_x/pixels_x; % pixel size pixelSize_y=size_y/pixels_y; % pixel size pixelArea=pixelSize_y*pixelSize_x; lambda=800*nm; lambdaPump=532*nm; alphaTiSa=2.1/cm; L=18*mm; saturationFluence=1*J/cm^2; index=1.76; efficiency=0.90; [21]) gamma=0.93; pulse amplifier repRate=10*Hz; Ppump1=2.66*W; Ppump2=4.00*W; Pinput=20*mW; % % % % % % % horizontal direction (x) vertical direction (y)

in x-direction in [m] in y-direction in [m]

% pixel area

wavelength pump wavelength absorption coefficient of Ti:Sa length of Ti:Sa crystal saturation fluence of Ti:Sa index of refraction of Sapphire ‘eta’ (see chapter 3; taken from

% measured loss redirecting the Ti:Sa % for the next pass through the % pulse repetition rate in amplifier % power of pump 1 % power of pump 2 % input power of Ti:Sa pulse

% Calculation of q-parameter throughout the amplifier: waistSize_y=0.76*mm; waistSize_x=0.73*mm; waistPosition_y=0*m; is taken waistPosition_x=23.118*cm; direction % size of waist in vertical direction % size of waist in horizontal direction % position of waist in vertical direction % as the ‘starting position’ % different position in horizontal

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51*cm.02*cm. d_lens5=107.69*cm. q_y_lens5=q_y_out3+d_lens5.q_waist_y=1/(-i*lambda/(pi*waistSize_y^2)). f_lens6=1002*mm. q_y_lens3=q_y_out2+d_lens3. d_lens6=170. q_y_in3=q_y_afterLens4+d_in3. % Propagation distances: p_lens1=496. lens in beam in figure 4.69*cm.54*cm.7*cm. d_lens4=170. d_in4=112.7*cm. q_y_pass3=q_y_in3+(L/2)/index. q_y_pass1=q_y_in1+(L/2)/index.09*cm. pass 1 d_lens3=99. d_in2=136. q_y_afterLens2=1/(1/q_y_lens2-1/f_lens2).10 f_lens3=705*mm. f_lens2=1513*mm.61 - . % at lens 1 % after lens 1 % lens 2 % at input of first pass % middle of crystal % at output of crystal % second pass % lens 3 % lens 4 % third pass % lens 5 . d_in3=83. d_in1=264. q_y_in1=q_y_afterLens2+d_in1. q_y_out1=q_y_pass1+(L/2)/index. f_lens4=1002*mm. f_lens5=705*mm. q_y_pass2=q_y_in2+(L/2)/index. q_y_lens4=q_y_afterLens3+d_lens4. q_y_out3=q_y_pass3+(L/2)/index. q_y_out2=q_y_pass2+(L/2)/index. q_y_afterLens3=1/(1/q_y_lens3-1/f_lens3). % focal length of lens 1 % focal length of lens 2. q_waist_x=1/(-i*lambda/(pi*waistSize_x^2)).28*cm. this is the first % the path of the input % position of lens 1 measured from % distance to lens 2 measured from p_lens1 % distance to input pass 1 measured from p_lens2 % distance to input pass 2 measured from output % distance to lens 3 measured from output pass 2 % q-parameter transformation in vertical direction: q_y_lens1=q_waist_y+p_lens1. q_y_afterLens4=1/(1/q_y_lens4-1/f_lens4). % q-values at waist f_lens1=1002*mm. 'waistPosition_y' d_lens2=280. q_y_lens2=q_y_afterLens1+d_lens2.51*cm. q_y_afterLens1=1/(1/q_y_lens1-1/f_lens1). q_y_in2=q_y_out1+d_in2.

q_x_pass3=q_x_in3+(L/2)/index. q_x_out2=q_x_pass2+(L/2)/index. w_y_pass3=sqrt((-pi/lambda*imag(1/q_y_pass3))^-1). q_x_out3=q_x_pass3+(L/2)/index. q_x_afterLens5=1/(1/q_x_lens5-1/f_lens5). % w in m . q_x_lens3=q_x_out2+d_lens3. q_x_in3=q_x_afterLens4+d_in3. w_x_pass2=sqrt((-pi/lambda*imag(1/q_x_pass2))^-1). q_y_lens6=q_y_afterLens5+d_lens6. % lens 6 % fourth pass % q-parameter transformation in horizontal direction: q_x_lens1=q_waist_x+(p_lens1-waistPosition_x). q_x_afterLens2=1/(1/q_x_lens2-1/f_lens2). q_y_in4=q_y_afterLens6+d_in4. q_x_pass2=q_x_in2+(L/2)/index. % at lens 1 (different % waist-position in horizontal direction) q_x_afterLens1=1/(1/q_x_lens1-1/f_lens1). % after lens 1 q_x_lens2=q_x_afterLens1+d_lens2. q_x_in4=q_x_afterLens6+d_in4. q_x_lens5=q_x_out3+d_lens5. q_y_afterLens6=1/(1/q_y_lens6-1/f_lens6). q_x_afterLens6=1/(1/q_x_lens6-1/f_lens6). q_x_in1=q_x_afterLens2+d_in1.62 - . q_x_pass1=q_x_in1+(L/2)/index. q_x_lens6=q_x_afterLens5+d_lens6. q_x_afterLens3=1/(1/q_x_lens3-1/f_lens3). q_y_pass4=q_y_in4+(L/2)/index. % lens 2 % at input of first pass % middle of crystal % at output of the crystal % second pass % lens 3 % lens 4 % third pass % lens 5 % lens 6 % fourth pass % Calculate radii w from q-parameter at passes 1 to 4: w_y_pass1=sqrt((-pi/lambda*imag(1/q_y_pass1))^-1). q_x_lens4=q_x_afterLens3+d_lens4. w_x_pass1=sqrt((-pi/lambda*imag(1/q_x_pass1))^-1).q_y_afterLens5=1/(1/q_y_lens5-1/f_lens5). q_x_in2=q_x_out1+d_in2. q_x_afterLens4=1/(1/q_x_lens4-1/f_lens4). q_x_pass4=q_x_in4+(L/2)/index. q_x_out1=q_x_pass1+(L/2)/index. w_y_pass2=sqrt((-pi/lambda*imag(1/q_y_pass2))^-1).

% Grid large enough?: inputPulseEnergy=Pinput/repRate. normalised % check power: powerDistr=AstigGaussian*pixelArea. % center in x direction % center in y direction for i=1:pixels_y for j=1:pixels_x x=(j-x0)*pixelSize_x. % total pulse energy Grid_size_factor=Input_pulse_energy_in_J.63 - . w_y_pass4=sqrt((-pi/lambda*imag(1/q_y_pass4))^-1)./repRate. y0=pixels_y/2. w_x_pass4=sqrt((-pi/lambda*imag(1/q_x_pass4))^-1). % Astigmatic Gaussian input fluence profile for pass 1: x0=pixels_x/2.j)=(2*Pinput/(pi*w_x_pass1*w_y_pass1))*exp(2*(x^2/w_x_pass1^2+y^2/w_y_pass1^2)).title(str). w_y_pass=[w_y_pass1 w_y_pass2 w_y_pass3 w_y_pass4 w_y_pass4]. str=sprintf('Input-fluence profile').axis([0 pixels_x 0 pixels_y 0 max(max(inputFluence))]). mesh(inputFluence).axis square. % array of energy levels Input_pulse_energy_in_J=sum(sum(inputEnergyDistr)). % defined pulse energy in [J] inputEnergyDistr=inputFluence*pixelArea. w_x_pass=[w_x_pass1 w_x_pass2 w_x_pass3 w_x_pass4 w_x_pass4]./inputPulseEnergy % if Grid_size_factor < 1 the grid is too small % Pump fluence profile (from bitmap): % pump 1: . inputPower_in_W=sum(sum(powerDistr)) % Input fluence profile % to pulse energy % input power levels per pixel % total input power figure(1). % Astigmatic Gaussian with power P and radii w_x_pass1 and w_y_pass1 end end inputFluence=AstigGaussian. % x value from the center (in meters) y=(y0-i)*pixelSize_y.w_x_pass3=sqrt((-pi/lambda*imag(1/q_x_pass3))^-1). % y value from the center (in meters) AstigGaussian(i.

0149*mm. end x_center=round(sum(B)/sum(sum(selectArea))).1). pattern bmp1_pixelSize_y=0.bmp').2) B(j)=j*columnsum(j).101:900).hor/2+(jx_center))=selectArea(i.1). selectArea=pump1(101:700. % center pump profile % determine centerpoint (first moment) columnsum=sum(selectArea). end end centeredPump=center_Pump(1:vert.bmp1_pixelSize_x=0. % Make square array of square area pixels=100. y_center=round(sum(C)/sum(sum(selectArea))). center_Pump=zeros(vert. for j=1:size(columnsum.1:hor).0132*mm.1:bmp1_pixels_x)). % new size of grid in pixels % new size of grid in mm.2). pixelSize=grid/pixels. grid=12*mm. rowsum=sum(selectArea. bmp1_pixels_x=size(pump1. . % pixels in vertical direction % horizontal pump1=double(pump1(1:bmp1_pixels_y. for i=1+abs(y_center-vert/2):vert positive for j=1+abs(x_center-hor/2):hor % make sure i.hor). bmp1_pixels_y=size(pump1.64 - . hor=size(selectArea.j).2).j are % center pixel in x % y % area of interest center_Pump(vert/2-(y_center-i). vert=size(selectArea.2). % pixel size was found from a burn % (different in vertical direction) pump1=imread('G:\Hein\pictures of the pulse\pump1 @ crystal/pump1. end for i=1:size(rowsum) C(i)=i*rowsum(i).

end end else for i=1:pixels % reduce radius for j=1:pixels rescaledPump1(round((i-y0)*factor_y)+y0.j). rescaledPump1=zeros(pixels). % center in y direction % center in x direction % Scale to new pixelSize and compensate for difference in pixel-sizes factor_y=vert*bmp1_pixelSize_y/grid.round((j-x0)*factor_x)+x0)=squarePump(i.j)=squarePump(i.'nearest').round((j-x0)/factor_x)+x0).[pixels. x0=pixels/2.65 - . factors factor_x=bmp1_pixelSize_y/bmp1_pixelSize_x*factor_y.j)=squarePump(y0-round((y0-i)/factor_y). % Fluence profile of pump 1 % normalized to pulse energy % rescale checkPowerDistr=I_Pump1*pixelSize^2.j)=squarePump(i.squarePump=imresize(centeredPump. end end end if factor_y>=1 % enlarge radius for i=1:pixels for j=1:pixels rescaledPump1(i. % 'power levels' of pump 1 per pixel power1=sum(sum(powerDistr1)). end end else for i=1:pixels % reduce radius for j=1:pixels rescaledPump1(i./repRate. % intensity profile normalised to given Ppump1 pump1_Fluence=I_Pump1. if factor_x>=1 % enlarge radius for i=1:pixels for j=1:pixels rescaledPump1(i. . end end end % calculate / normalise power: powerDistr1=rescaledPump1*pixelSize^2. % 'nearest-neighbor' interpolation to get square array y0=pixels/2.pixels].j). % total 'power' I_Pump1=rescaledPump1*Ppump1/power1.j).

bmp'). selectArea_2=pump2(101:700. end x_center=round(sum(D)/sum(sum(selectArea_2))).j are % center pixel in x % y % area of interest center_Pump(vert/2-(y_center-i).hor). pattern bmp2_pixelSize_y=0. bmp2_pixels_y=size(pump2.66 - . for j=1:size(columnsum.checkPower_1=sum(sum(checkPowerDistr)) figure(2). y_center=round(sum(E)/sum(sum(selectArea_2))). center_Pump=zeros(vert. bmp2_pixels_x=size(pump2. for i=1+abs(y_center-vert/2):vert positive for j=1+abs(x_center-hor/2):hor % make sure i. mesh(pump1_Fluence).101:900). % center pump profile: % determine centerpoint (first moment) columnsum=[].hor/2+(jx_center))=selectArea_2(i. end end .title(str).axis([0 pixels_x 0 pixels_y 0 max(max(pump1_Fluence))]). columnsum=sum(selectArea_2).j). end for i=1:size(rowsum) E(i)=i*rowsum(i).1:bmp2_pixels_x)). % Pump 2: bmp2_pixelSize_x=0. center_Pump=[]. str=sprintf('Pump1-fluence profile').2) D(j)=j*columnsum(j). rowsum=sum(selectArea_2.0195*mm. % pixel size was found from a burn % (different in vertical direction) pump2=imread('G:\Hein\pictures of the pulse\pump 2 @ crystal/pump2.0197*mm.1). % pixels in vertical direction % horizontal pump2=double(pump2(1:bmp2_pixels_y.axis square. rowsum=[].2).2).

% 'nearest-neighbor' interpolation to get square array % Scale to new pixelSize and compensate for difference in pixel-sizes factor_y=vert*bmp2_pixelSize_y/grid.j)=squarePump2(i.pixels].j)=squarePump2(y0-round((y0-i)/factor_y). end end else % reduce radius for i=1:pixels for j=1:pixels rescaledPump2(i. end end else for i=1:pixels for j=1:pixels rescaledPump2(round((i-y0)*factor_y)+y0. factors factor_x=bmp2_pixelSize_y/bmp2_pixelSize_x*factor_y. % intensity profile normalised to given Ppump2 pump2_Fluence=I_Pump2. % Fluence profile of pump 2 % normalized to pulse energy % rescale ./repRate.1:hor).j). end end end % calculate / normalise power: powerDistr2=rescaledPump2*pixelSize^2.centeredPump2=center_Pump(1:vert.j)=squarePump2(i. % Make square array of square area squarePump2=imresize(centeredPump2.j).'nearest'). rescaledPump2=zeros(pixels).[pixels. end end end if factor_y>=1 for i=1:newSize for j=1:newSize rescaledPump2(i. % total 'power' I_Pump2=rescaledPump2*Ppump2/power2.round((j-x0)*factor_x)+x0)=squarePump2(i.67 - . % 'power levels' of pump 2 per pixel power2=sum(sum(powerDistr2)).j).round((j-x0)/factor_x)+x0). if factor_x>=1 % enlarge radius for i=1:pixels for j=1:pixels rescaledPump2(i.

*(e.68 - . . % Creation of a 'stored fluence array': absorbedFluence=pumpFluence*(1-e^(-alphaTiSa*L)).checkPowerDistr_2=I_Pump2*pixelSize^2. str=sprintf('Combined Pump-fluence profile'). % output pulse energy Pulse_energy(i+1)=Output_pulse_energy_in_J. % Add the two pump profiles: pumpFluence=pump1_Fluence+pump2_Fluence. % output energy levels per pixel Output_pulse_energy_in_J=sum(sum(outputEnergyDistr)).% first element: input pulse energy for i=1:n_pass. G=exp(storedFluence.axis square. imagesc(outputFluence).axis([0 pixels_x 0 pixels_y 0 max(max(pump2_Fluence))]). % Frantz-Nodvik equation figure. % absorbed part of pump Fluence storedFluence=absorbedFluence*efficiency*(lambdaPump/lambda).axis('square'). str=sprintf('Pump2-fluence profile'). figure(6). str=sprintf('Output-fluence profile').title(str). mesh(pump2_Fluence). checkPower_2=sum(sum(checkPowerDistr_2)) figure(4). % put in pulse-energy array storedFluence=storedFluence-(outputFluence-inputFluence). array' % creation of a 'gain outputFluence=saturationFluence*log(1+G. % Array of pulse-energies: Pulse_energy(1)=Input_pulse_energy_in_J.axis([0 pixels_x 0 pixels_y 0 max(max(pumpFluence))]).axis square.title(str)./saturationFluence).title(str). outputEnergyDistr=outputFluence*pixelArea. % usable fluence stored in the amplifier % Passes through the amplifier: n_pass=4. mesh(pumpFluence). % number of passes Pulse_energy=zeros(1.n_pass+1).^(inputFluence/saturationFl uence)-1)).axis square.

% rescale to model if scalingFactor_x>=1 % enlarge radius for k=1:pixels for l=1:pixels inputFluence(k. end end else % reduce radius for k=1:pixels for l=1:pixels inputFluence(k.round((lx0)/scalingFactor_x)+x0)/scalingFactor_x. str=sprintf('Build-up of pulse energy % loss in propagation / J').% stored fluence is lowered by the extracted amount % input of next pass: scalingFactor_y=w_y_pass(i+1)/w_y_pass(i).l)/scalingFactor_y.axis('square').round((lx0)*scalingFactor_x)+x0)=outputFluence(k. . end end else for k=1:pixels for l=1:pixels inputFluence(round((ky0)*scalingFactor_y)+y0.l)/scalingFactor_y.l)/scalingFactor_x. propagation scalingFactor_x=w_x_pass(i+1)/w_x_pass(i). end end end inputFluence=gamma*inputFluence.l)=outputFluence(k.69 - . end Pulse_energy_in_J=Pulse_energy figure.l)=outputFluence(y0-round((y0k)/scalingFactor_y). plot(Pulse_energy).axis square. end end end if scalingFactor_y>=1 for k=1:pixels for l=1:pixels inputFluence(k.title(str).l)=outputFluence(k.

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