Optical Surfaces Ltd. has delivered an extremely high quality F0.8
on-axis parabola of 175mm diameter to the Central Laser Facility at the
STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
The Central Laser Facility (CLF) at the STFC Rutherford Appleton
Laboratory (RAL) is one of the world's leading laser facilities
providing scientists from the UK and Europe with an unparalleled range
of state-of-the-art laser technology. The CLF's wide ranging
applications include experiments in physics, chemistry and biology,
accelerating subatomic particles to high energies, probing chemical
reactions on the shortest timescales and studying biochemical and
biophysical process critical to life itself.
Due to be installed on the Astra Gemini laser beam line the diffraction
limited on-axis mirror will be used to focus the beam line energy to
produce a maximum focused intensity of c.
10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Wcm-2 enabling researchers to explore
new areas of physics.
Using proprietary production techniques - Optical Surfaces highly
experienced and skilled production team produced the fast focusing
on-axis parabolic mirror with a surface accuracy of better than
lambda/10 P-V and smoothness of 20/10 scratch/dig. The excellent
surface quality achieved during manufacturing together with the
exceptional high reflectivity coatings will enable RAL researchers to
achieve the high optical performance and efficiency required by their
ground breaking experiments. The optics were manufactured in Zerodur
and coated using a special type high performance UV-Silver coating
suitable for high reflectivity (R>98%) throughout the wavelength
range between 350-800nm.
Peta Foster, Astro Gemini Link Scientist, commented "Our primary aim is
the production of the highest intensity ever produced with a laser.
This optic was extremely demanding in specification and we are
delighted to take receipt of it. The focus of this optic should deliver
a 5x increase in laser intensity that we hope will enable the study of
an exciting new regime in laser-matter interactions".
Dr Aris Kouris of Optical Surfaces Ltd commented "We were delighted to
have again been selected by a world-class laser facility to produce
optics key to their future research. In this project the great
challenge was to achieve the targeted surface accuracy and local
gradients simultaneously for such a highly aspheric mirror (0.4mm of
asphericity) and of this size. The higher the asphericity and the
smaller the size of the optic the more difficult is to control both
optical performance parameters but especially the local gradients. This
is due to the fact that the gradients are changing directions very
rapidly over a short distance making it extremely challenging to
achieve. Optical performance at that level requires mastering of
technical and practical aspects at multiple levels".
More information at www.clf.rl.ac.uk/