PGL to Develop X-Large Diffraction Gratings for Highest-Power Laser

October 09, 2023 | In the News

CARVER, Massachusetts / October 9, 2023 – Plymouth Grating Laboratory (PGL), the leading commercial manufacturer of large, high-performance diffraction gratings for lasers and laser systems, has been chosen by a multi-institutional team led by the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester to develop the means to produce gratings as large as two meters to support the design of a world-leading EP-OPAL laser.

Funding to develop the gratings is provided by a portion of an $18 million, three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) award to design and prototype key technologies for EP-OPAL, a new LLE facility dedicated to the study of ultrahigh-intensity laser-matter interactions.  The X-Large gratings will be used to compress the laser pulses to a duration of mere femtoseconds (with one femtosecond equaling one millionth of one billionth of a second).

“These X-Large gratings use the same, proven multilayer dielectric (MLD) and gold grating technology for pulse compression that PGL has been delivering to the world’s premier ultrahigh-intensity laser facilities and OEM laser manufacturers for more than 15 years,” said PGL’s Founder and CTO, Doug Smith.  “This exciting advance is possible because PGL’s many process steps required to fabricate gratings are fundamentally scalable to larger sizes.”

PGL will initially develop the technology to make up to 1.5-meter MLD gratings.  Successful completion of the three-year EP-OPAL design and prototyping effort could lead to the construction phase of this laser.  During the initial phase PGL will further extend its capability to enable fabrication of up to two-meter gold gratings.

“PGL is honored to play a crucial role in enabling the world’s highest peak power laser,” said PGL’s President, Turan Erdogan.  “Not only are ultrahigh-intensity lasers like this one making possible pioneering science such as laser particle acceleration, laboratory astrophysics, and laser-driven nuclear science, but they will one day also have tremendous practical impact in areas that touch every individual’s life, including energy, security, and medicine.”

Plymouth Grating Laboratory is dedicated to making the highest-quality diffraction gratings available today. Our focus is on lasers and laser systems. PGL gratings offer exceptionally high diffraction efficiency and laser damage threshold, combined with superior wavefront error and uniformity over large areas. This performance is made possible by PGL’s exclusive use of the Nanoruler, based on the proprietary Scanning Beam Interference Lithography technology developed at MIT, and PGL’s industry-leading process expertise. The company occupies 20,000 sq. ft. of dedicated manufacturing, engineering, and office space in Carver, MA, just outside of Plymouth, and about 45 miles south of Boston.

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