Home > About > Target Area Capabilities

Target Area Capabilities

The NSF ZEUS facility has been designed to house three target areas, Target Area 1, 2, and 3 (TA1, TA2 and TA3). Each will have different capabilities and therefore will be more suitable for certain types of experiment. The laser capabilities that are available in each target area are given in the tables below, both the anticipated 2023-2024 parameters and the eventual parameters are given.

Target Area 1 (TA1)

Target Area 1 will house the flagship 3 PW capability, but it will also eventually run the split beam experiments (2.5 PW + 0.5 PW). The chamber is designed to accommodate a very long focal length optic (in fact the optic will sit in a different room along a beam pipe), that is best suited to laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA) experiments. Additionally, there will be a short focal length optic to accommodate a colliding beam geometry using the split beam, or other configurations of interest. Typical targets are anticipated to be gas jet or gas cells. A multi-GeV electron spectrometer is being designed for the chamber.

Parameter
2023-24 GoalFull Capacity
Energy25 J75 J
Pulse duration25 fs25 fs
Power1 PW3 PW
Plasma Mirror (PM)NoNo
Focusing f/64f/64 (3 PW) or
f/64 (2.5 PW) and f/3 (0.5 PW) or
f/78 (0.5 PW) and f/1 (2.5 PW)
Rep-rate1 shot per minute1 shot per minute
Split beamNo2.5 PW/0.5 PW
Long pulseNoYes

Possible beam paths for Target Area 1:

Target Area 2 (TA2)

Target Area 2 will initially have capacity to accept 100-200 TW pulses (power limited by initial chamber size and deformable mirror condition) with an upgrade to 3 PW planned. The laser beam will have the option to pass a double plasma mirror to increase the ASE contrast. The chamber will house a short focusing configuration and therefore is expected to be well suited to experiments using solid targets such as ion acceleration or high-harmonic generation.

Parameter
2023-24 GoalFull Capacity
Energy5 J75 J
Pulse duration25 fs25 fs
Power200 TW3 PW
Plasma Mirror (PM)double PMdouble PM
Focusing f/1.5f/1.5 or f/3
Rep-rate1 shot per minute1 shot per minute
Split beamNoNo
Long pulseNoYes
Figure: Photo of the TA2 0.5 PW experimental chamber being prepared for experiments. The double plasma mirror chambers are in the foreground and the target chamber is behind.

Target Area 3 (TA3)

Target Area 3 was an existing target area originally used by the previous laser, Hercules. TA3 will have 0.5 PW pulse at 1-5 Hz repetition rate in burst mode. It has f/40 or f/20 configurations and is designed to accommodate laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA) experiments that might study the electron beams, the secondary radiation, or use the electron or x-ray beams  for probing or imaging experiments. The chamber contains a two magnet electron spectrometer (total field length of 60 cm) that can measure up to ~5 GeV electrons.

Parameter
2023-24 GoalFull Capacity
Energy5 J12.5 J
Pulse duration25 fs25 fs
Power200 TW500 TW
Plasma Mirror (PM)NoNo
Focusing f/40f/40 or f/20
Rep-rate1 Hz burst 5 Hz burst
Split beamNono
Long pulseNoYes

Targets

Basic targets that will be available for users to install for their experiments will be gas jets, gas cells and solid foils.

Gas targets: 3D printed gas jets and gas cells are available with a variety of parameters. Users can request special designs and we can work to design the gas jets / cells. These will typically be implemented in TA1 and TA3.

2-stage supersonic gas jets with independently controlled gas inlets (gas species, pressures)

  • 1st stage: Injector stage with pressure up to 1000 psi, gas density up to 2e19 cm^-3 and a length of 1 mm.
  • 2nd stage: Accelerator stage with pressure up to 1000 psi, gas density up to 2e19 cm^-3 and a length 1mm – 20 mm (not variable).

2-stage variable length gas cells with independently controlled gas inlets (gas species, pressures)

  • 1st stage: Injector stage with pressure up to 100 psi, gas density up to 1e19 cm^-3 and a length of 1 mm.
  • 2nd stage: Accelerator stage with pressure up to 100 psi, gas density up to 1e19 cm^-3 and a length of 1 mm – 20 mm (variable by change the height of the gas cell).

Solid targets available for TA2 experiments include metallic foils with thicknesses ranging from 0.8 to >10 microns, and Silicon Nitride (SiN) windows with thicknesses down to 50 nm. For high-harmonic generation experiments, optical quality (lambda/4) glass substrates are available. Foils and SiN windows can be mounted in-house to a frame, and targets can be positioned by motorized x-y-z translation stages inside the chamber enabling several shots without braking vacuum. The translation stages have 50 mm of travel range in each direction.

Custom targets: We have an in-house target Engineer, Sallee Klein, who has the capability to fabricate planar and 3D targets. There is also an on-site laser cutter to prepare small elements. Any custom target requests will be considered by the facility on a case-by-case basis.

Header text