Stretching and compressing of laser pulses is demonstrated with a single-grating apparatus. A laser pulse of 110 fs is stretched to 250 ps and then recompressed to 115 fs. The apparatus exploits a two-level structure: one level for stretching and the other for compressing. This single-grating configuration shows significant simplification in structure and alignment over existing multiple-grating systems. Such a stretcher–compressor is particularly suitable for use with chirped-pulse amplification in which laser wavelength tuning is desirable. Only one rotational adjustment is rquired to restore the alignment of the entire stretcher and compressor when the laser wavelength is changed.
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