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We invite you to explore the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator's new website at BELLA.lbl.gov.



LOASIS team photo, June 2011Loasis Laboratory Staff

LOASIS in the News:The newly installed Thales-built laser at the heart of BELLA, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator, set a world record for combination of laser power (energy flow per unit of time) and repetition rate the night of July 20, delivering more than 1 PW (1015 watts) for approximately 40 femtoseconds. The energy after pulse compression was 42.4 joules per pulse, and this feat was repeated at 1 pulse per second.

Future campaigns will fine-tune the system (with, among other things, a goal of 30-fs pulses), couple it to the beam line, and document its performance. Acceleration experiments with an ultimate goal of 10 GeV of electron energy are expected to begin this fall. Click here for a detailed news article on the achievement.

In 1995, AFRD's Center for Beam Physics started a leading-edge research effort, one of several in the world, exploring advanced accelerators based on the interactions of lasers and plasmas. This effort focused on the development of advanced acceleration and radiation concepts. A dedicated facility was built that became known as the LOASIS Laboratory (Lasers and Optical Accelerator Systems Integrated Studies). Wakefield accelerators became the predominant effort. In 2005, we were spun off from the Center and designated as an AFRD program in our own right.

Today the LOASIS Program has a total budget of about $6.1 million and a staff of more than 20 full and part-time members of scientific staff and technical and engineering support personnel. In an important aspect of the program, five postdoctoral scholars; seven graduate and undergraduate students; and three guest researchers are working with us as of spring 2012.

The staff of the LOASIS Program also contributes extensively to the national and international accelerator communities through a variety of service and leadership roles. These include participation on program and organizing committees of major accelerator conferences and workshops; facility advisory committees; and various program and proposal review committees; service as journal referees; and service to the International Committee on Future Accelerators, the American Physical Society, and various executive and technical boards.

To learn more about laser-plasma accelerators and our work on them, see "State-of-the-Art Beams from Table-Top Accelerators," a November 2012 feature article from the LBNL New Center: Part 1 and Part 2.

The News Center also has a December 2009 article that provides a highly accessible overview of laser-plasma accelerators and the role of LOASIS, along with an overview of BELLA, the step now underway. Also available is an October 2009 article on BELLA, with a link to a New York Times story about it.

Efforts to understand these systems are always in progress, and many of AFRD's endeavors are synergistic with others. A March 17, 2011 Berkeley Lab news article spotlights one example: how an AFRD-led breakthrough in modeling has greatly boosted the feasibility of BELLA simulations.

You can find more of our work here on our website.