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Experimental study and numerical simulations of the spectral properties of XUV lasers pumped by collisional excitation

Abstract : Improving the knowledge of the spectral and temporal properties of plasma-based XUV lasers is an important issue for the ongoing development of these sources towards significantly higher peak power. The spectral properties of the XUV laser line actually control several physical quantities that are important for applications, such as the minimum duration that can be achieved (Fourier-transform limit). The shortest duration experimentally achieved to-date is ~1 picosecond. The demonstrated technique of seeding XUV laser plasmas with a coherent femtosecond pulse of high-order harmonic radiation opens new and promising prospects to reduce the duration to a few 100 fs, provided that the gain bandwidth can be kept large enough.XUV lasers pumped by collisional excitation of Ni-like and Ne-like ions have been developed worldwide in hot plasmas created either by fast electrical discharge, or by various types of high-power lasers. This leads to a variety of XUV laser sources with distinct output properties, but also markedly different plasma parameters (density, temperature) in the amplification zone. Hence different spectral properties are expected. The purpose of our work was then to investigate the spectral behaviour of the different types of existing collisional excitation XUV lasers, and to evaluate their potential to support amplification of pulses with duration below 1 ps in a seeded mode.The spectral characterization of plasma-based XUV lasers is challenging because the extremely narrow bandwidth (typically ∆λ/λ ~10-5) lies beyond the resolution limit of existing spectrometers in this spectral range. In our work the narrow linewidth was resolved using a wavefront-division interferometer specifically designed to measure temporal coherence, from which the spectral linewidth is inferred. We have characterized three types of collisional XUV lasers, developed in three different laboratories: transient pumping in Ni-like Mo, capillary discharge pumping in Ne-like Ar and quasi-steady state pumping in Ne-like Zn. Besides the accurate measurement of the temporal coherence of the laser in each case, we have studied the spectral behaviour when the laser is operated in the saturation regime and (in Ni-like Mo) when it is seeded with high-order harmonic radiation. We have also investigated the temporal behaviour of the Ni-like Mo transient XUV laser, using an ultrafast X-ray streak camera. Our linewidth measurements are compared with detailed numerical calculations including relevant broadening mechanisms as well as radiative transfer effects. The evolution of the spectral profile with amplification and saturation was studied for different plasma parameters, and corresponding Fourier-transform limit duration were evaluated.The shortest temporal coherence (ie the largest bandwidth) is measured for the quasi-steady state pumping XUV laser, which operates at the highest density and ionic temperature.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 1:43:12 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00790077, version 1

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Limin Meng. Experimental study and numerical simulations of the spectral properties of XUV lasers pumped by collisional excitation. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PA112419⟩. ⟨tel-00790077⟩

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