Abstract

We present and characterize a very efficient optical device that employs the plasma mirror technique to increase the contrast of high-power laser systems. Contrast improvements higher than 104 with 50% transmission are shown to be routinely achieved on a typical 10TW laser system when the pulse is reflected on two consecutive plasma mirrors. Used at the end of the laser system, this double plasma mirror preserves the spatial profile of the initial beam, is unaffected by shot-to-shot fluctuations, and is suitable for most high peak power laser systems. We use the generation of high-order harmonics as an effective test for the contrast improvement produced by the double plasma mirrors.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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