The operational characteristics of an ultrahigh-intensity subpicosecond large-aperture KrF* laser system are described. Measurements show the achievement of a focal spot diameter of less than 1.7 μm. Combined with measurements of the pulse width and pulse energy, this yields an average intensity of ~2 × 1019 W/cm2, a value corresponding to a peak electric field of ~24 (e/a02). Light sources of this nature will find application in a broad range of studies of the nonlinear properties of matter in the strong-field regime.
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