Ultra-high intensity laser applications span a number of scientific disciplines, such as plasma physics and fusion research, atomic molecular & optical physics, femtosecond chemistry, astrophysics, high energy physics, materials science, biology, and medicine.
Areas where a strong impact is possible include:
- High harmonic generation and attosecond science
- Relativistic effects in interactions with atoms, molecules and electrons
- Ultrafast X-ray science
- High density science
- Fusion energy research
- Particle accelerators
- Thomson scattering
Development and characterization of a laser-plasma soft X-ray source for contact microscopy
In this work, we present a compact laser-produced plasma source of X-rays, developed and characterized for application in soft X-ray contact microscopy (SXCM). The source is based on a double stream gas puff target, irradiated with a commercially available Nd:YAG laser, delivering pulses with energy up to 740 mJ and 4 ns pulse duration at 10 Hz repetition rate. The target is formed by pulsed injection of a stream of high-Z gas (argon) into a cloud of low Z-gas (helium) by using an electromagnetic valve with a double nozzle setup. The source is designed to irradiate specimens, both in vacuum and in helium atmosphere with nanosecond pulses of soft X-rays in the ‘‘water-window” spectral range. The source is capable of delivering a photon fluence of about 1.09 x 103 photon/µm2/pulse at a sample placed in vacuum at a distance of about 20 mm downstream the source. It can also deliver a photon fluence of about 9.31 x 102 - photons/µm2/pulse at a sample placed in a helium atmosphere at the same position. The source design and results of the characterization measurements as well as the optimization of the source are presented and discussed. The source was successfully applied in the preliminary experiments on soft X-ray contact microscopy and images of microstructures and biological specimens with ~80 nm half-pitch spatial resolution, obtained in helium atmosphere, are presented.
EUV spectra from highly charged terbium ions in optically thin and thick plasmas
We have observed extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectra from terbium (Tb) ions in optically thin and thick plasmas for a comparative study. The experimental spectra are recorded in optically thin, magnetically conned torus plasmas and dense laser-produced plasmas (LPPs). The main feature of the spectra is quasicontinuum emission with a peak around 6.5-6.6 nm, the bandwidth of which is narrower in the torus plasmas than in the LPPs. A comparison between the two types of spectra also suggests strong opacity effects in the LPPs. A comparison with the calculated line strength distributions gives a qualitative interpretation of the observed spectra.
XUV generation from the interaction of pico- and nanosecond laser pulses with nanostructured targets
Laser-produced plasmas are intense sources of XUV radiation that can be suitable for different applications such as extreme ultraviolet lithography, beyond extreme ultraviolet lithography and water window imaging. In particular, much work has focused on the use of tin plasmas for extreme ultraviolet lithography at 13.5 nm. We have investigated the spectral behavior of the laser produced plasmas formed on closely packed polystyrene microspheres and porous alumina targets covered by a thin tin layer in the spectral region from 2.5 to 16 nm. Nd:YAG lasers delivering pulses of 170 ps (Ekspla SL312P )and 7 ns (Continuum Surelite) duration were focused onto the nanostructured targets coated with tin. The intensity dependence of the recorded spectra was studied; the conversion efficiency (CE) of laser energy into the emission in the 13.5 nm spectral region was estimated. We have observed an increase in CE using high intensity 170 ps Nd:YAG laser pulses as compared with a 7 ns pulse.
Conversion efficiency of a laser-plasma source based on a Xe jet in the vicinity of a wavelength of 11 nm
We optimized the parameters of a laser-produced plasma source based on a solid-state Nd: YAG laser (λ = 1.06 nm, pulse duration 4 ns, energy per pulse up to 500 mJ, repetition rate 10 Hz, lens focus distance 45 mm, maximum power density of laser radiation in focus 9 x 1011 W/cm2) and a double-stream Xe/He gas jet to obtain a maximum of radiation intensity around 11 nm wavelength. It was shown that the key factor determining the ionization composition of the plasma is the jet density.With the decreased density, the ionization composition shifts toward a smaller degree of ionization, which leads to an increase in emission peak intensity around 11 nm.We attribute the dominant spectral feature centred near 11 nm originating from an unidentified 4d-4f transition array in Xe+10...+13 ions. The exact position of the peak and the bandwidth of the emission line were determined. We measured the dependence of the conversion efficiency of laser energy into an EUV in-band energy with a peak at 10.82 nm from the xenon pressure and the distance between the nozzle and the laser focus. The maximum conversion efficiency (CE) into the spectral band of 10–12 nm measured at a distance between the nozzle and the laser beam focus of 0.5 mm was CE = 4.25 ± 0.30%. The conversion efficiencies of the source in-bands of 5 and 12 mirror systems at two wavelengths of 10.8 and 11.2 nm have been evaluated; these efficiencies may be interesting for beyond extreme ultraviolet lithography.
53 W average power CEP-stabilized OPCPA system delivering 5.5 TW few cycle pulses at 1 kHz repetition rate
We present a high peak and average power optical parametric chirped pulse amplification system driven by diode-pumped Yb:KGW and Nd:YAG lasers running at 1 kHz repetition rate. The advanced architecture of the system allows us to achieve >53 W average power combined with 5.5 TW peak power, along with sub-220 mrad CEP stability and sub-9 fs pulse duration at a center wavelength around 880 nm. Broadband, background-free, passively CEP stabilized seed pulses are produced in a series of cascaded optical parametric amplifiers pumped by the Yb:KGW laser, while a diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser system provides multi-mJ pump pulses for power amplification stages. Excellent stability of output parameters over 16 hours of continuous operation is demonstrated.
Spectral pulse shaping of a 5 Hz, multi-joule, broadband optical parametric chirped pulse amplification frontend for a 10 PW laser system
Related products: NL940 series
We present a broadband optical parametric chirped pulse amplification (OPCPA) system delivering 4 J pulses at a repetition rate of 5 Hz. It will serve as a frontend for the 1.5 kJ, <150 fs, 10 PW laser beamline currently under development by a consortium of National Energetics and Ekspla. The spectrum of the OPCPA system is precisely controlled by arbitrarily generated waveforms of the pump lasers. To fully exploit the high flexibility of the frontend, we have developed a 1D model of the system and an optimization algorithm that predicts suitable pump waveform settings for a desired output spectrum. The OPCPA system is shown to have high efficiency, a high-quality top-hat beam profile, and an output spectrum demonstrated to be shaped consistently with the theoretical model.
Characterization and calibration of the Thomson scattering diagnostic suite for the C-2W field-reversed configuration experiment
Related products: ANL series
The new C-2W Thomson scattering (TS) diagnostic consists of two individual subsystems for monitoring electron temperature (Te) and density (ne): one system in the central region is currently operational, and the second system is being commissioned to monitor the open field line region. Validating the performance of the TS’s custom designed system components and unique calibration of the detection system and diagnostic as a whole is crucial to obtaining high precision Te and ne profiles of C-2W’s plasma. The major components include a diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser which produces 35 pulses at up to 20 kHz, uniquely designed collection lenses with a fast numerical aperture, and uniquely designed polychromators with filters sets to optimize a Te ranging from 10 eV to 2 keV. This paper describes the design principles and techniques used to characterize the main components of the TS diagnostic on C-2W, as well as the results of Rayleigh scattering calibrations performed for the whole system response.
Thomson scattering systems on C-2W field-reversed configuration plasma experiment
Related products: ANL series
TAE Technologies’ newly constructed C-2W experiment aims to improve the ion and electron temperature in a sustained field-reversed configuration plasma. A suite of Thomson scattering systems has been designed and constructed for electron temperature and density profile measurements. The systems are designed for electron densities of 1×1012 cm-3 to 2×1014 cm-3 and temperature ranges from 10 eV to 2 keV. The central system will provide profile measurements of Te and ne at 16 radial locations from r = -9 cm to r = 64 cm with a temporal resolution of 20 kHz for 4 pulses or 1 kHz for 30 pulses. The jet system will provide profile measurements of Te and ne at 5 radial locations in the open field region from r = -5 cm to r = 15 cm with a temporal resolution of 100 Hz. The central system and its components have been characterized, calibrated, installed and commissioned. A maximum-likelihood algorithm has been applied for data processing and analysis.
Emission properties of ns and ps laser-induced soft x-ray sources using pulsed gas jets
The influcence of the pulse duration on the emission characteristics of nearly debris-free laser-induced plasmas in the soft x-ray region (λ ≈1-5 nm) was investigated, using six different target gases from a pulsed jet. Compared to ns pulses of the same energy, a ps laser generates a smaller, more strongly ionized plasma, being about 10 times brighter than the ns laser plasma. Moreover, the spectra are considerably shifted towards shorter wavelengths. Electron temperatures and densities of the plasma are obtained by comparing the spectra with model calculations using a magneto-hydrodynamic code.
Photoacoustic imaging is a valuable high-contrast in vivo imaging technique for pre-clinical and clinical applications. This technique uses laser-induced ultrasound.
Ultrasound signal is generated in tissue, when it absorbs tunable wavelength laser light and expands thermo-elastically, and their waves are detected by ultrasonic transducers. 2D or 3D images are then reconstructed from the accumulated data.
Laser sources for photoacoustic imaging include lamp-pumped tunable wavelength and diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) tunable wavelength OPO systems.
Optoacoustic effect is responsible for laser-induced cochlear responses
Related products: NT342 series
Optical stimulation of the cochlea with laser light has been suggested as an alternative to conventional treatment of sensorineural hearing loss with cochlear implants. The underlying mechanisms are controversially discussed: The stimulation can either be based on a direct excitation of neurons, or it is a result of an optoacoustic pressure wave acting on the basilar membrane. Animal studies comparing the intra-cochlear optical stimulation of hearing and deafened guinea pigs have indicated that the stimulation requires intact hair cells. Therefore, optoacoustic stimulation seems to be the underlying mechanism. The present study investigates optoacoustic characteristics using pulsed laser stimulation for in vivo experiments on hearing guinea pigs and pressure measurements in water. As a result, in vivo as well as pressure measurements showed corresponding signal shapes. The amplitude of the signal for both measurements depended on the absorption coefficient and on the maximum of the first time-derivative of laser pulse power (velocity of heat deposition). In conclusion, the pressure measurements directly demonstrated that laser light generates acoustic waves, with amplitudes suitable for stimulating the (partially) intact cochlea. These findings corroborate optoacoustic as the basic mechanism of optical intra-cochlear stimulation.
Magneto-elasto-electroporation (MEEP): In-vitro visualization and numerical characteristics
Related products: NT342 series
A magnetically controlled elastically driven electroporation phenomenon, or magneto-elasto-electroporation (MEEP), is discovered while studying the interactions between core-shell magnetoelectric nanoparticles (CSMEN) and biological cells in the presence of an a.c. magnetic field. In this paper we report the effect of MEEP observed via a series of in-vitro experiments using core (CoFe2O4)-shell (BaTiO3) structured magnetoelectric nanoparticles and human epithelial cells (HEP2). The cell electroporation phenomenon and its correlation with the magnetic field modulated CSMEN are described in detail. The potential application of CSMEN in electroporation is confirmed by analyzing crystallographic phases, multiferroic properties of the fabricated CSMEN, influences of d.c. and a.c. magnetic fields on the CSMEN and cytotoxicity tests. The mathematical formalism to quantitatively describe the phenomena is also reported. The reported findings provide insights into the underlying MEEP mechanism and demonstrate the utility of CSMEN as an electric pulse-generating nano-probe in electroporation experiments with a potential application toward accurate and efficient targeted cell permeation.
Contrast Agent Enhanced Multimodal Photoacoustic Microscopy and Optical Coherence Tomography for Imaging of Rabbit Choroidal and Retinal Vessels in vivo
Related products: NT242 series
Multimodal imaging with photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) can be an effective method to evaluate the choroidal and retinal microvasculature. To improve the efficiency for visualizing capillaries, colloidal gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been applied as a multimodal contrast agent for both OCT and PAM imaging by taking advantage of the strong optical scattering and the strong optical absorption of AuNPs due to their surface plasmon resonance. Ultra-pure AuNPs were fabricated by femtosecond laser ablation, capped with polyethylene glycol (PEG), and administered to 13 New Zealand white rabbits and 3 Dutch Belted pigmented rabbits. The synthesized PEG-AuNPs (20.0 ± 1.5 nm) were demonstrated to be excellent contrast agents for PAM and OCT, and do not demonstrate cytotoxicity to bovine retinal endothelial cells in cell studies. The image signal from the retinal and choroidal vessels in living rabbits was enhanced by up to 82% for PAM and up to 45% for OCT, respectively, by the administered PEG-AuNPs, which enables detection of individual blood vessels by both imaging modalities. The biodistribution study demonstrated the AuNP accumulated primarily in the liver and spleen. Histology and TUNEL staining did not indicate cell injury or death in the lung, liver, kidney, spleen, heart, or eyes up to seven days after AuNP administration. PEG-AuNPs offer an efficient and safe contrast agent for multimodal ocular imaging to achieve improved characterization of microvasculature.
High-resolution multimodal photoacoustic microscopy and optical coherence tomography image-guided laser induced branch retinal vein occlusion in living rabbits
Related products: NT242 series
Joint high-resolution multimodal photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) was developed to improve the efficiency for visualizing newly developed retinal neovascularization (RNV) and to monitor the dynamic changes of retinal vein occlusion (RVO) in living rabbits. The RNV and RVO models were created in New Zealand rabbits by Rose Bengal laser-induced RVO. Dual modalities imaging equipment, including color fundus photography, fluorescein angiography (FA), OCT, and PAM, was used to image and assess the changes of retinal vasculature. In vivo experimental results exhibited that not only the treatment boundaries and the position of the occluded vasculature but also the structure of individual RNV were markedly observed using PAM platform with great resolution and high image contrast. The laser light energy of 80 nJ was used to induce photoacoustic signal, which is approximately half the energy of the American National Standards Institute safety limit. A cross-sectional structure of RNV was identified with the OCT modality. Furthermore, vibrant transformations in the RNV and the retinal morphology were examined at different times after laser occlusion: days 4, 28, 35, 49, and 90. PAM revealed high contrast and high resolution vascular imaging of the retina and choroid with amplified penetration depth. Through the present custom-built imaging system, both RNV and RVO can be reconstructed and observed in two and three dimensions. A unique dual modality A unique dual modality PAM and OCT can help precisely visualize and distinguish individual microvessels, microvessel depth, and the surrounding anatomy. Thus, the proposed multimodal ocular imaging platform may offer a potential equipment to enhance classification of microvasculature in a reliable and proficient manner in larger rabbit eyes.
Photoacoustic/Ultrasound/Optical Coherence Tomography Evaluation of Melanoma Lesion and Healthy Skin in a Swine Model
Related products: NL230 series
The marked increase in the incidence of melanoma coupled with the rapid drop in the survival rate after metastasis has promoted the investigation into improved diagnostic methods for melanoma. High-frequency ultrasound (US), optical coherence tomography (OCT), and photoacoustic imaging (PAI) are three potential modalities that can assist a dermatologist by providing extra information beyond dermoscopic features. In this study, we imaged a swine model with spontaneous melanoma using these modalities and compared the images with images of nearby healthy skin. Histology images were used for validation.
Image Enchancement Algorithm of Photoacoustic Tomography using Active Countour Filtering
The photoacoustic images are obtained from a custom developed linear array photoacoustic tomography system. The biological specimens are imitated by conducting phantom tests in order to retrieve a fully functional photoacoustic image. The acquired image undergoes the active region based contour filtering to remove the noise and accurately segment the object area for further processing. The universal vack projection method is used as the image reconstruction algorithm. The active contour filtering is analyzed by evaluating the signal to noise ratio and comparing it with the other filtering methods.
Detecting Rat’s Kidney Inflammation Using Real Time Photoacoustic Tomography
Photoacoustic Tomography (PAT) is a promising medical imaging modality that combines optical imaging contrast with the spatial resolution of ultrasound imaging. It can also distinguish the changes in biological features. But, real-time PAT system should be confirmed due to photoacoustic effect for tissue. Thus, we have developed a real-time PAT system using a custom-developed data acquisition board and ultrasound linear probe. To evaluate performance of our system, phantom test was performed. As a result of those experiments, the system showed satisfactory performance and its usefulness has been confirmed. We monitored the degradation of inflammation which induced on the rat’s kidney using real-time PAT.
A Custom Developed Linear Array Photoacoustic Tomography for Noninvasive Medical Imaging
A real-time photoacoustic tomography which is capable of imaging the changes in biological features of living subject is presented. A custom developed data acquisition board and linear array transducer is used in this photoacoustic system. A phantom test were carried out to evaluate performance of the system. The developed system showed a satisfactory performance and its usefulness were evaluated. The universal back projection algorithm is used for image reconstruction and the sensitivity is analyzed from the obtained photoacoustic images.
Photoacoustic signal detection using interferometric fiber-optic ultrasound transducers
The cross-section of a metallic sample was photoacoustically imaged using a pulsed nanosecond laser as the excitation source and a fiber-optic hydrophone system to acquire the pressure signal. The ultrasound sensor was an extrinsic Fabry-Perot fiber-optic interferometer and the band-limited photodetected output signal was recorded in a digital oscilloscope. In order to reconstruct the image, a time set of ultrasound signals acquired in a circular scan around the sample were used to solve the time-reversal equations. It was observed that image contrast can be enhanced considering the deconvolution of the sensor frequency response from each measured pressure signal.
Hydrophones based on interferometric fiber-optic sensors with applications in photoacoustics
Biomedical imaging used for medical diagnosis constantly requires improvement in the characteristics for imaging devices. The sensing devices are one of the most important pieces to improve in order to get images with better quality. In this thesis, it is proposed the use of interferometric fiber-optic sensors (which offer the advantages inherent to optical fibers) as devices to detect pressure/acoustic signals generated by the photoacoustic effect. It is explored the capability of using fiber-optic interferometric hydrophones in order to determine the thickness of a material derived from the acoustic signal generated when a sample is illuminated. In addition, the analysis of photoacoustic signals generated by the excitation of nanoparticles of an anisotropic material as absorption centers. Finally, the cross-section of a metallic sample was photoacoustically imaged by acquiring the pressure signals generated.
Enhancement of objects in photoacoustic tomography using selective filtering
Here we developed a real-time photoacoustic tomography (PAT) imaging acquisition device based on the linear array transducer utilized on ultrasonic devices. Also, we produced a phantom including diverse contrast media and acquired PAT imaging as the light source wavelength was changing to see if the contrast media reacted. Indocyanine green showed the highest reaction around the 800-nm band, methylene blue demonstrated the same in the 750-nm band, and gold nanoparticle showed the same in the 700-nm band. However, in the case of superparamagnetic iron oxide, we observed not reaction within the wavelength bands used herein to obtain imaging. Moreover, we applied selective filtering to the acquired PAT imaging to remove noise from around and reinforce the object’s area. Consequentially, we could see the object area in the imaging was effectively detected and the image noise was removed.
Hybrid Photoacoustic/Ultrasound tomograph for real time finger imaging
We report a target-enclosing, hybrid tomograph with a total of 768 elements based on capacitive micromachined ultrasound transducer technology and providing fast, high-resolution 2-D/3-D photoacoustic and ultrasound tomography tailored to finger imaging.A freely programmable ultrasound beamforming platform sampling data at 80 MHz was developed to realize plane wave transmission under multiple angles. A multiplexing unit enables the connection and control of a large number of elements. Fast image reconstruction is provided by GPU processing. The tomograph is composed of four independent and fully automated movable arc-shaped transducers, allowing imaging of all three finger joints. The system benefits from photoacoustics, yielding high optical contrast and enabling visualization of finger vascularization, and ultrasound provides morphologic information on joints and surrounding tissue. A diode-pumped, Q-switched Nd:YAG laser and an optical parametric oscillator are used to broaden the spectrum of emitted wavelengths to provide multispectral imaging. Custom-made optical fiber bundles enable illumination of the region of interest in the plane of acoustic detection. Precision in positioning of the probe in motion is ensured by use of a motor-driven guide slide. The current position of the probe is encoded by the stage and used to relate ultrasound and photoacoustic signals to the corresponding region of interest of the suspicious finger joint. The system is characterized in phantoms and a healthy human finger in vivo. The results obtained promise to provide new opportunities in finger diagnostics and establish photoacoustic/ultrasoundtomography in medical routine.