Standing over the BELLA PW laser system, researchers lay out options for transverse mode shaping to improve laser-plasma coupling.

The BELLA Center, with its five high-power laser facilities, each coupled to a laser-plasma accelerator cave, offers unique opportunities in laser R&D, plasma acceleration, photon source development, and radiation applications.

The flagship BELLA Petawatt laser, a testament to our cutting-edge technology, can deliver 40 J, 40 fs pulses every second. These powerful and precise pulses are directed to target chamber plasma1 for various LPA studies, including the staging of two LPAs, or to IP2 (interaction point 2) for laser-on-solid studies and ion acceleration.

R&D on photon sources and precision LPAs is conducted on the Hundred Terawatt Thomson (HTT) and the Hundred Terawatt Undulator (HTU) beamlines and at a kHz-mJ system. Driven by the need for a portable, lightweight, and highly customizable LPA, the kHz-mJ system can produce electron beams at few-MeV energies and high (1 kHz) repetition rates, driven by as small a laser system as possible. 

At the HTT system, scientists demonstrate how the femtosecond laser can induce nonlinear effects in gas and plasmas, which in this case manifests itself as spectral broadening (“white light”) in air.

A dedicated fiber laser lab, where we collaborate with ATAP’s Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation (BACI) Program, develops a system in which the output of many low-power femtosecond fiber lasers can be individually amplified, then combined with temporal, spatial, and spectral coherence into one high-power system. The goal is high peak laser power at a high repetition rate and high average power. With its kHz repetition rates, we consider this fiber-based technology the driver for a set of next-generation experimental facilities called kBELLA.

The BELLA Petawatt and Hundred Terawatt laser systems are available to users through the LaserNetUS program.