We developed a compact plasma-based focusing optic that, in one step, increases the peak intensity of ultrahigh-intensity lasers without modifying the laser system itself. By using a plasma-based focusing optic with extremely small f-number (), we have experimentally demonstrated a fivefold reduction of the focal spot size (from 4.4 to ), thus producing an at least eightfold enhancement of the laser light intensity. This innovative plasma-based optic opens the way for the study of high-energy-density and high-field science at intensities greater than presently available.
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