Abstract

We present the design, implementation, and testing of a novel picosecond optical parametric preamplifier system to generate high-energy seed pulses for the Vulcan laser facility. The preamplifier amplifies 100fs pulses stretched to 3ps pulses from 10pJ to 70μJ in a single stage of amplification before the pulses are further amplified in the Vulcan high-power Nd:glass laser facility to the petawatt power level. This increased seed energy has led to an improvement of the nanosecond amplified spontaneous emission contrast intensity to 1010 of the main pulse, without degrading the output of the laser system.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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