Recently, an amplification technique for ultrashort pulses was explored in detail in a theoretical paper by Ross et al. [Opt. Commun. 144, 125 (1997)]. The technique, based on nonlinear optics, is called optical parametric chirped pulse amplification. It has a number of features that, in principle, make it highly attractive. It primarily offers extremely large gains simultaneously with extremely large bandwidths. Additional attractions are virtually no spatial and temporal phase distortion of the amplified pulse, high efficiencies and a low thermal loading, reduced amplified spontaneous emission levels, small optical material lengths, and an inherent simplicity of implementation. We present an evaluation of the technique as a front end amplifier for the ultrashort pulse amplification chain of the Vulcan laser system. Such a device could replace some of the existing amplification in Nd:glass and additionally have a wider effect as a direct replacement of Ti:sapphire regenerative amplifiers on large-scale chirped pulse amplification scale facilities.
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