Abstract

An alignment method for pulse-compression gratings that obviates the need to place the gratings at normal incidence to remove grating-tip error is proposed. Grating-tip and groove-orientation errors are removed using two alignment wavelengths in a manner analogous to a laser-beam pointing and centering procedure entirely at the respective Littrow angles for the two wavelengths. By choosing wavelengths with Littrow angles close to the use angle of the grating, the residual tip and groove-orientation errors that may be introduced when the grating mount is tilted to its use angle are reduced. This method has greatly facilitated the alignment of the OMEGA Extended Performance (EP) large-aperture pulse compressors, thereby reducing residual pulse-front tilt caused by nonparallel gratings. OMEGA EP is a high-energy, petawatt-class laser at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics. A numerical simulation of the alignment procedure is presented.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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