Bordeaux and Aquitaine are at the forefront of laser technology: PETAL, the world’s most powerful laser, installed on the CEA-CESTA site, was recently inaugurated in Le Barp to the south of Bordeaux, a year after the opening of the nuclear test simulator, the Laser Mégajoule (LMJ).
Coupled with the LMJ, the Pétal laser (Petawatt Aquitaine Laser) emits 1.2 Petawatts of power (1.2 million billion watts) and is the most powerful laser beam in the world. Bordeaux and Aquitaine are at the forefront of laser technology: PETAL, the world’s most powerful laser, installed in the CEA-CESTA site within Laser Mégajoule (LMJ), the nuclear test simulator, was recently opened in Le Barp to the south of Bordeaux, a year after the opening of the Laser Mégajoule (LMJ).
This laser beam is added to the 176 of the LMJ, but although its power is 1,000 times greater, it is 1,000 times quicker than that of each LMJ beam.
CEA has been designing this scientific instrument, the only one in Europe, for nearly 10 years, with the support of the ILP (Institut des Lasers et Plasmas). It has attracted a total investment of €54.3 million, financed by the Aquitaine region, the French State, the European Union and the Fonds de compensation pour la TVA (French VAT reinvestment fund).
It has come as part of the ambition to share the use of the Laser Mégajoule with the scientific community working in civil research, who from 2017 will benefit from 20 to 30% of the available time of the LMJ facilities, developed by the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies renouvelables (CEA – French alternative energies and atomic energy commission).
The coupling of these two facilities will lead to a unique instrument in Europe for extreme physics studies, knowledge of the universe, inertial confinement fusion and medical research.
“Aquitaine is the European region that has invested the most in photonics, because lasers and optics are to the 21st century what electricity was to the 20th. I am very proud to inaugurate the PETAL laser today”, announced Alain Rousset, the President of the Aquitaine region.
The ILP (Institut des Lasers et Plasmas) is in charge of supervising and coordinating the scientific communities that use PETAL-LMJ.
The first set of experiments should be held in a year’s time.
(Source: Press release 18/09/2015, Aqui.fr 19/09/2015)