The University of Texas' Tabletop Terawatt Laser (UT3) has been successfully upgraded, offering a new and enhanced performance for powering small particle accelerators. The upgrade was provided by TAU Systems, a manufacturer of ultrafast, portable laser-plasma accelerators.
The upgrade is part of a partnership between TAU and the University of Texas at Austin that aims to advance the science and technology of advanced light sources and compact accelerator systems while also developing the fundamentals of laser-plasma interactions. The collaboration’s end goal is to make these tools widely accessible to a variety of end users and the industry.
The improved UT3 has a nearly two-fold increase in energy over the original and has a peak output of 40 terawatts (TW). Personnel from TAU Systems and UT Austin worked together on the update, using parts provided by Thales Laser. TAU has already demonstrated the facility’s unprecedented potential with the successful acceleration of electrons using a laser in a brand-new beamline that TAU constructed.
The technique will now be utilized to create innovative and small laser-wakefield accelerators, in addition to EUV and X-Ray light sources for usage in a variety of fields, including the semiconductor industry, material research, battery technology, and medical imaging.
Having successfully completed this important UT3 upgrade we are looking forward to pushing the engineering frontiers of laser-driven particle accelerators. It will enable us to develop new imaging capabilities for users both from within and from outside UT.
Bjorn Manuel Hegelich, Chief Executive Officer, TAU Systems, University of Texas at Austin
Hegelich is also a Professor in the Physics Department at UT.
Prof. Mike Downer, Distinguished Professor of Physics at UT Austin, stated, “The new research capabilities enabled by this upgrade are exciting, and we look forward to furthering the development of compact electron accelerators and 21st century X-Ray sources.”
Christine Dixon Thiesing, UT Austin’s Associate Vice President for Discovery to Impact, added, “This successful project is a great example of a private-public partnership between UT Austin and a local cutting-edge industry, and a great success story for a spin-out company out of UT Austin.”
The relationship between TAU Systems and UT Austin serves as a reminder of the value of public-private collaborations for furthering innovation and scientific research.
The improvement is an important next step in the development of plasma wakefield accelerators for industrial applications. By the end of the year, TAU Systems plans to deploy a system that is 100 times more powerful in its newly acquired San Diego premises.
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