The conference – which was organised jointly between the ORION laser facility at AWE and the CLF – is designed to allow laser scientists and engineers from global facilities to participate in a two-way conversation about new updates, techniques and best practice. This year, ILOW took place at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for a day on Thursday 20th June and at the ORION laser facility AWE.
The day began with an introductory talk by Director of the CLF Prof. John Collier, who welcomed the visitors to the CLF, gave an overview of the facility, its current projects, and the UK's Science Case Update for a UK Free Electron Laser. This was followed by Dr. Ian Musgrave, head of Vulcan Laser, who shared Vulcan's near future upgrades including the new OPCPA pump-probe beamline in Target Area Petawatt, developments in long-pulse research and ventures into short-pulse experiments using Vulcan's Target area West.
Proceeding this and dotted throughout the rest of the day were CLF laser lab tours. Small groups out of the 80 attendees were taken to see Vulcan, Gemini and D100X. Meanwhile, a number of talks and workshops were set up, covering topics from radiological and contamination hazards, to managing pulse shaping workload versus user needs. During these workshops, the attendees were encouraged to have open discussions in order to improve support for the scientists, engineers and users of all labs involved.
Overall, the conference was successful in nurturing the conversation between international experts in the field of scientific lasers. Dr. Ian Musgrave said proceeding the conference, “The attendees were impressed with what they saw on the tours and I felt that we made useful contributions to the breakout groups."
By sharing our expertise as a world-class laser facility and taking in advice from others through ILOW 2019, we hope to contribute to the improvement of overall technique, best practice and understanding of all high powered laser systems, not just our own.