The Vulcan 2020 upgrade is a proposal to invest in the renewal of the CLF and has the strategic aim of securing its international leadership, its long term sustainability and our excellence as a nation in High Energy Density science for the coming decades. We plan to build the most powerful laser in the world on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, thereby ensuring that the United Kingdom retains its globally leading position in this exciting field. This would be achieved by an upgrade to the Vulcan system in a project called Vulcan 2020.
This plan has already been peer- and project- reviewed and Technical Design Reports (TDR), Science Cases & Project Plans are in place. It is a top priority for STFC and has been strongly supported by successive independent STFC Programmatic Reviews. The relevant scientific community input into the 2014 BIS Capital Consultation was unequivocal in calling for this investment in CLF. Furthermore, the recent Research Councils Science Requirements review for the national facilities identified this project as a major need.
The Vulcan 2020 project will upgrade both the short (<1ps) and long pulse (0.2-10ns) capabilities to realise an unprecedented combination of beams. A 20PW (20x1015 W) short pulse beamline will be created by utilising the developments that the CLF has pioneered in the area of Optical Parametric Chirped Pulse Amplification (OPCPA). This technique will combine the concepts of chirped pulse amplification and optical parametric amplification to generate pulses that have 400J of energy and pulse durations of 20fs (20x10-15 s). The long pulse upgrade will increase the capability of Vulcan's existing long pulse energy from 2kJ by an order of magnitude to 20kJ in the infra-red.