Abstract

The wavefront aberrations in a large-scale, flash-lamp-pumped, high-energy, high-power glass laser system can degrade considerably the quality of the final focal spot, and limit severely the repetition rate. The various aberrations induced on the Laboratoire pour l'Utilisation des Lasers Intenses (LULI), laser facility (LULI2000) throughout the amplification are identified and analyzed in detail. Based on these analyses, an optimized procedure for dynamic wavefront control is then designed and implemented. The lower-order Zernike aberrations can be effectively reduced by combining an adaptive-optics setup, comprising a bimorph deformable mirror and a four-wave lateral shearing interferometer, with a precise alignment system. This enables the laser chain to produce a reproducible focal spot close to the diffraction limit (Strehl ratio 0.7). This allows also to increase the repetition rate, initially limited by the recovery time of the laser amplifiers, by a factor of 2 (one shot per hour). The proposed procedure provides an attractive alternative for dynamic correction of the wavefront aberrations of a laser facility as complex as the LULI2000.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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