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Dispositifs expérimentaux pour la caractérisation spatio-temporelle de chaines laser femtosecondes haute-puissance

Abstract : One of the advantages of high-power femtosecond lasers (TW-PW) is to obtain, at the focus of a focusing optic, very high intensities up to 10^22W.cm^-2 (i.e. an electric field of 2.7 PV.m^-1. Therefore, these lasers chains necessarily deliver beams with large diameter (up to 40 cm) and very short pulses (of the order of tens of femtoseconds). As a consequence, the spatial and temporal properties of the pulse are generally not independent. Such dependence, called spatial-temporal coupling has the effect of increasing the pulse duration and the size of the focal spot, which can lead to a significant reduction of the maximum intensity at the focus. Metrology devices commonly used on these high-power femtosecond lasers allow retriving the spatial and temporal profiles of the pulse only in an independent manner. The aim of this thesis was to develop techniques for measuring spatiotemporal couplings in order to quantify their effect and correct them in order to obtain the maximum intensity at focus. First of all, we adapted an existing technique of spatio-temporal characterization to the measurement of TW lasers. To avoid the issues induced at the focus, such as those related to jittering, measurements were performed on the collimated beam. By adding a reference source to the original device, we managed to take into account the measurement artifacts due to thermal and mechanical variations affecting the interferometer. With this improvement, it was possible to reconstruct the complete spatio-temporal profile of the beam, particularly its wavefront. However, the limitations imposed by this technique led to the development of a new measurement device. Based on a cross-correlation, this technique consists of making the laser beam to interfere with a part of itself, small enough not to be spatiotemporally distorted. We have also implemented a variant of this device for a single-shot measurement along one transverse dimension of the pulse. Using these techniques, we performed the very first characterization of several TW laser chains. The measurements have revealed the existence of residual space-time couplings leading to a significant decrease of the peak intensity at focus. These results show that it is essential to spatio-temporally characterize high power femtosecond laser chains to obtain the maximum intensity at focus.
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Valentin Gallet. Dispositifs expérimentaux pour la caractérisation spatio-temporelle de chaines laser femtosecondes haute-puissance. Physique des Hautes Energies - Expérience [hep-ex]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014PA112189⟩. ⟨tel-01084002⟩

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