We demonstrated a high-pulse energy, femtosecond-pulse source based on optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification. We successfully amplified 1-µm broadband oscillator pulses to 31 mJ and recompressed them to 310-fs pulse duration, at a 10-Hz repetition rate. The gain in our system is 6 × 107, achieved by the single passing of only 40 mm of gain material pumped by a commercial Q-switched Nd:YAG laser. This relatively simple system replaces a more complex Ti:sapphire regenerative-amplifier-based chirped-pulse amplification system. Numerous features in design and performance of optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifiers make them a preferred alternative to regenerative amplifiers based on Ti:sapphire in the front end of high-peak-power lasers.
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