Experimental Areas

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.

Oct 2021: The target areas 1 and 2 are still under construction, so more description and photos will be added as the areas are built.


Target Area 1 will house the flagship 3 PW capability, but it will also will 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.

The figure below shows a cartoon of a colliding beam geometry to investigate pair production.



Target Area 2 will initially have 0.5 PW that has the option for a double plasma mirror set up. Below is a picture of the Hercules “solid target area” that has a similar double plasma mirror setup. The chamber will house a short focusing configuration and therefore is expected to be well suited to experiments using solid targets.

With additional funding, it would be possible to upgrade this area to accommodate the 3 PW beam.


Target Area 3 is an existing target area that was originally used for the old Hercules laser and 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.