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Breitkopf, Sven; Eidam, Tino; Klenke, Arno; Grafenstein, Lorenz von; Carstens, Henning; Holzberger, Simon; Fill, Ernst; Schreiber, Thomas; Krausz, Ferenc; Tünnermann, Andreas; Pupeza, Ioachim; Limpert, Jens (2014): A concept for multiterawatt fibre lasers based on coherent pulse stacking in passive cavities. In: Light-Science & Applications, Vol. 3, e211


Since the advent of femtosecond lasers, performance improvements have constantly impacted on existing applications and enabled novel applications. However, one performance feature bearing the potential of a quantum leap for high-field applications is still not available: the simultaneous emission of extremely high peak and average powers. Emerging applications such as laser particle acceleration require exactly this performance regime and, therefore, challenge laser technology at large. On the one hand, canonical bulk systems can provide pulse peak powers in the multi-terawatt to petawatt range, while on the other hand, advanced solid-state-laser concepts such as the thin disk, slab or fibre are well known for their high efficiency and their ability to emit high average powers in the kilowatt range with excellent beam quality. In this contribution, a compact laser system capable of simultaneously providing high peak and average powers with high wall-plug efficiency is proposed and analysed. The concept is based on the temporal coherent combination (pulse stacking) of a pulse train emitted from a high-repetition-rate femtosecond laser system in a passive enhancement cavity. Thus, the pulse energy is increased at the cost of the repetition rate while almost preserving the average power. The concept relies on a fast switching element for dumping the enhanced pulse out of the cavity. The switch constitutes the key challenge of our proposal. Addressing this challenge could, for the first time, allow the highly efficient dumping of joule-class pulses at megawatt average power levels and lead to unprecedented laser parameters.