The Orion laser at AWE
is used to conduct research into high energy density physics phenomena. The building houses a large neodymium glass laser system and a target chamber in which the high energy density physics experiments are conducted. Orion will generate matter many times denser than solid – at temperatures up to 10 million degrees.
Designed primarily to support AWE's core work, Orion is also available for collaborative academic research, access for which is managed by the CLF and involves a similar proposal and review mechanism as adopted for the CLF's laser systems.
Orion delivers up to 5 kJ at 351 nm in 10 1-ns duration beams with flexible pulse-shaping, and up to 500 J in ~0.5 ps at 1053 nm in each of two short-pulse beams, one of which is currently frequency-doubled (at reduced aperture) to give increased contrast.
It has an extensive suite of optical, X-ray, charged-particle and neutron diagnostics, many of which are deployable in diagnostic insertion devices.