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Laser System

The ZEUS laser is being constructed using mainly commercial components based on a design that will result in a reliable laser facility for experiments at the frontier of relativistic plasma physics. Proceeding clockwise, the Figure 1 shows: The Amplitude Technologies Pulsar, a double chirped pulse amplified laser with cross-polarization wave generation to improve contrast and bandwidth; two Pockels cells for isolation, a series of three amplifiers (brown) coupled by vacuum spatial filters and pumped by commercial pump lasers (green); an auxiliary programmable nanosecond drive pulse laser (dark red) which can also provide backup pump energy if needed; an atmospheric beam splitting and delay system (red lines); a 3 PW compressor with fused silica-based gratings and a 500 TW compressor with ultra low expansion glass-based gratings; and three target areas linked by evacuated delivery lines. In this configuration, the front-end Pulsar system and the compressor are being designed to maintain the bandwidth and phase compensation needed to support 20 fs compressed pulses with the final detailed spectral amplitude and phase being set by programmable acousto-optic filters (Mazzler and Dazzler, respectively).