Optical Surfaces Ltd. has supplied to Thales (www.thalesgroup.com) the first of 10 high-performance beam expanders for the Extreme Light Infrastructure for Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) project to develop the world’s most powerful laser system.
Offering an unprecedented level of power in ultrashort pulses, the two new 10 petawatt (1,000,000,000,000,000) high-intensity lasers will be delivered to the Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics & Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH) in Magurele, Romania. The €60 million contract awarded to Thales to develop the laser systems is the largest contract by a national research institute under a European-funded programme.
Due to be operational by 2018, the new lasers will pave the way for the development of a new generation of powerful particle accelerators, which will be smaller and less costly, for fundamental research in material physics and medical applications including proton beam therapy for treating cancer.
Because of its international reputation for supplying outstanding high-power laser optics, Thales selected Optical Surfaces Ltd. to manufacture and supply 4 x 580 mm aperture and 6 x 200mm aperture laser beam expanders for the ELI-NP project.
Dr Aris Kouris, Sales Manager for Optical Surfaces Ltd. commented “To be chosen as a supply partner for such a prestigious project is a great honour. Drawing upon many decades experience in laser beam expander design and manufacture we were able to deliver systems that provided the required high performance whilst maintaining cost competitiveness. In addition to improving beam collimation, beam expanders can be used to focus laser beams. By producing an expanded beam our systems are able to produce smaller laser spot sizes when used in combination with additional focusing optics. This is very useful in laser focusing optimisation”.
Optical Surfaces Ltd. has been producing optical components and beam expanders for more than 50 years and is now accepted as one of the world’s leading suppliers for high power laser research. The company’s ISO 9001-2008 approved manufacturing workshops and test facilities are deep underground in a series of tunnels excavated in solid chalk where the temperature remains constant, and vibration is practically non-existent. With such stable conditions, testing, particularly with long path lengths, becomes quantifiable and reliable. Working with these natural advantages is a highly skilled team of craftsmen with a commitment to excellence in both product quality and customer service.