Hey everyone.. Monday afternoon I joined a guided tour of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at University of Rochester. It was organized by UoR/LLE and the Optical Society of America.
The Laboratory for Laser Energetics, established in 1970, has been involved in major engineering efforts to build high power lasers. They conduct research on high energy density phenomena, matter interaction, implosion and plasma physics. The OMEGA and OMEGA EP (extended performance) are two such major laser systems used to study matter under high power laser pulses. The OMEGA system delivers 40K Joules of energy from 60 focused UV laser beams to the target. Top right in the picture is a portion of the target chamber structure.
The OMEGA EP (extended performance) system delivers pulses with petawatts of energy used for x-ray and proton radiography. Up front (to the left in this click) you see the top portion of target structure. Towards the back (top in the picture) are the amplifiers and beamlines.
Optics comes in all scales and sizes. Here were systems that required the construction of entirely new, custom buildings and dedicated power, air, cooling and resource management.. systems which deliver the kind of power that makes matter implode! At another extreme are nano and micro level optical systems fabricated on tiny chips, self powered and sometimes even disposable!
Engineering can accomplish marvels!