Russia, Nizhny Novgorod

Exawatt Center for Extreme Light Studies



The goal of the Project is establishing a large research infrastructure – the Exawatt Center for Extreme Light Studies (XCELS) using sources of laser radiation with giant (exawatt) peak power. The Project rests upon the considerable advance made in the recent years in Russia and worldwide on creating petawatt lasers (1 Petawatt = 1015W) with intensity up to 1022W/cm2 and ultrashort pulse duration (< 100 femtoseconds = 10-13s). The core of the planned infrastructure will be a new unique source of light having the power of about 200 Petawatt with a further prospect to increase it up to 1 Exawatt (1 Exawatt = 1018W) and beyond. The fundamental processes of such laser-matter interaction belong to an absolutely new branch of science that will be the principal research task of the infrastructure. There will open up opportunities for studying the spacetime structure of vacuum and unknown phenomena at the interface of the high-energy physics and the physics of high fields. The envisaged applications of results of these studies will include among others development of compact charged-particle accelerators with sizes hundreds times less than the available ones, creation of sources of ultrashort pulses of hard X-ray and gamma radiation for diagnosing materials with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution, elaboration of new sources of radiation and particles for clinical applications, and others.

Commissioning: 2019



Institute of Applied Physics


Plasma Physics

Key words: high power electronics (gyrotrons and their applications, relativistic electronics, microwave processing of materials), plasma electrodynamics (powerful radiation interaction with plasma, plasma astrophysics, geophysical electrodynamics), radiophysical methods of diagnostics (plasma diagnostics, millimeter and submillimeter radioastronomy, remote diagnostics of natural media, coherent seismoacoustics, vibroacoustics and spectroscopy, nonlinear acoustics, optical tomography), low-frequency ocean acoustics (long-range sound propagation in the ocean, acoustic tomography of the ocean, low-frequency radiating complexes, hardware for underwater acoustics), dynamics of nonlinear processes (nonlinear waves, dynamic chaos and structures, internal and surface waves), laser physics and nonlinear optics






The research program of XCELS is essentially multifunctional. A considerable amount of research will be carried out at the junction with other areas of knowledge – high energy physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics, and biomedicine. Once completed, XCELS will be a world-class S&T facility with the subexawatt laser significantly exceeding the level of radiation power inherent in the most powerful available, constructed or projected laser systems worldwide. The resulting radiation at the output of the laser complex will have a power of 200 PW. The complex will comprise 12 identical channels based on the technique of optical parametric chirped pulse amplification (OPCPA) to a Petawatt power developed at the Institute of Applied Physics RAS. Along with the subexawatt laser, the XCELS complex will house unique laboratories for experiments on physics of strong fields, high-energy physics, laboratory astrophysics and cosmology, nuclear optics, neutron physics, laboratories for studying the properties of vacuum, attosecond and zeptosecond physics, and fundamental metrology. XCELS will also comprise a powerful center for data processing and computer modeling of interactions of extreme light fields.





The subexawatt laser significantly exceeding the level of radiation power inherent in the most powerful available, constructed or projected laser systems worldwide, will be based on the technique of optical parametric chirped pulse amplification (OPCPA) to the petawatt power developed at the Institute of Applied Physics RAS. The complex will comprise 12 identical channels, each of which will generate a pulse with the energy of 300-400 J, duration of 20-30 fs, maximum intensity at focusing more than 1023 W/cm2. The channels operate by the scheme of parametric amplification in KD*P crystals with the aperture of final cascades of 30×30 cm2.

It is supposed that optical pulses in laser modules of the subexawatt complex will be phased to an accuracy of hundredths fractions of a light wave period (10-16s). The first phase of the Project will be creation at IAP RAS of two such modules with the power of 15 PW each based on parametric amplification in KD*P crystals. This will not only allow creating a reliable prototype of an XCELS module, but will also enable solving fundamental problems associated with phasing of channels, as well as completing diagnostic equipment for applications. In addition, final corrections will be made in the architecture and component base of the XCELS facility. Further, 12 channels of the main XCELS laser complex will be assembled by the proven technology in a newly constructed building of the international center.




Center for Antiproton and Ion Research FAIR Ministry of Education and Science, Commissariat of Atomic Energy of France  Nuclear Energy Agency, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization KEK European Centre for Nuclear Research Los Alamos National Laboratory Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory National Research Institute of Canada