Laser and Particle Beams

Vulcan petawatt: Design, operation and interactions at 5 × 1020 Wcm−2

C.N.  DANSON  a1 c1 , P.A.  BRUMMITT  a1 , R.J.  CLARKE  a1 , J.L.  COLLIER  a1 , B.  FELL  a1 , A.J.  FRACKIEWICZ  a1 , S.  HAWKES  a1 , C.  HERNANDEZ-GOMEZ  a1 , P.  HOLLIGAN  a1 , M.H.R.  HUTCHINSON  a1 , A.  KIDD  a1 , W.J.  LESTER  a1 , I.O.  MUSGRAVE  a1 , D.  NEELY  a1 , D.R.  NEVILLE  a1 , P.A.  NORREYS  a1 , D.A.  PEPLER  a1 , C.J.  REASON  a1 , W.  SHAIKH  a1 , T.B.  WINSTONE  a1 , R.W.W.  WYATT  a1 and B.E.  WYBORN  a1
a1 CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Article author query
danson cn   [Google Scholar] 
brummitt pa   [Google Scholar] 
clarke rj   [Google Scholar] 
collier jl   [Google Scholar] 
fell b   [Google Scholar] 
frackiewicz aj   [Google Scholar] 
hawkes s   [Google Scholar] 
hernandez-gomez c   [Google Scholar] 
holligan p   [Google Scholar] 
hutchinson mhr   [Google Scholar] 
kidd a   [Google Scholar] 
lester wj   [Google Scholar] 
musgrave io   [Google Scholar] 
neely d   [Google Scholar] 
neville dr   [Google Scholar] 
norreys pa   [Google Scholar] 
pepler da   [Google Scholar] 
reason cj   [Google Scholar] 
shaikh w   [Google Scholar] 
winstone tb   [Google Scholar] 
wyatt rww   [Google Scholar] 
wyborn be   [Google Scholar] 


The Vulcan Nd:glass laser at the Central Laser Facility (CLF) is a petawatt (1015 Watts) interaction facility, designed to deliver irradiance on target of−2 for the UK and international user community. The facility came online to users in 2002 and considerable experience has been gained operating Vulcan in this mode. The facility delivers a wide-ranging experimental program in fundamental physics and advanced applications. This includes the interaction of ultrahigh intensity light with matter, fast ignition fusion research, photon induced nuclear reactions, electron and ion acceleration by light waves, and the exploration of the exotic world of plasma physics dominated by relativity. We report on the first year's operation of the facility and the highlights of the experimental campaigns.

(Received August 30 2004)
(Accepted October 25 2004)

Key Words: Chirped Pulse Amplification; CPA; OPCPA Field; Vulcan; Petawatt.

c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Colin Danson, CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 0QX United Kingdom. E-mail: