Optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA) operation with low gain by seeding with high-energy, clean pulses is shown to significantly improve the contrast to better than in a high-intensity Ti:sapphire laser system that is based on chirped-pulse amplification. In addition to the high-contrast broadband, high-energy output from the final amplifier is achieved with a flat-topped spatial profile of filling factor near 77%. This is the result of pump beam spatial profile homogenization with diffractive optical elements. Final pulse energies exceed 30 J, indicating capability for reaching peak powers in excess of 500 TW.
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