Berkeley Lab


We are exploring the prospects of a user facility at the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center. We call this initiative BELLA-i because ion acceleration at >100 MeV is among the possibilities, but many other unique experiments can be performed.

A BELLA-i Workshop will be held here at Berkeley Lab on January 20-22, 2016. Go here to register for the Workshop, or read on to learn more.

If you are interested in the workshop, or would like occasional e-mails to keep you up to date on BELLA-i, please let us know.

Background and Motivation

The BELLA petawatt laser in the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center has performed at a very high level since first light in July 2012, delivering now up to 40 J of power in about 30 fs to targets at 1 Hz with very high stability. To date, experiments with the BELLA laser are focused on the acceleration of electrons to multi-GeV energies, using a relatively long focal lengths beamline with a spot diameter of about 50 um, reaching peak intensities of ~1019 W/cm2.

The facility and laser have matured over the past few years, and we are ready to start the process of opening BELLA up to a community of users. We are in the process of exploring BELLA-i, which would provide users with unprecedented access to peak intensities well above 1021 W/cm2 through the addition of a second, short focal length beamline. Together with high contrast optics (>10-10), this will enable user experiments in many areas of high energy density physics at 1 Hz and take full advantage of the very high quality of the BELLA laser system.

We believe that BELLA-i is a timely opportunity to provide a community of domestic and overseas users with access to very high laser intensities with very high contrast and excellent laser quality, possibly within two years. It can allow users to explore the frontiers of high energy density laboratory physics, in areas such as the physics of “flying mirrors,” the onset of non-linear QED, and the physics and technology of laser driven ion acceleration.

We would very much appreciate your feedback and comments on BELLA-i.

Likely Topics and Activities

The workshop will cover science with BELLA-i as a user facility; minimum and desired facility requirements; target chambers; and diagnostics. To begin the discussion at the satellite meeting, we suggest these topics for the Workshop.

  • Tours of the BELLA laser center, ATAP facilities and optionally LBNL user facilities
  • Science drivers for BELLA-i (ultra-intense laser-matter interactions, onset of non-linear QED, laser-ion acceleration …)
  • Ideas for “day one” experiments
  • Laser beam line design and high contrast optics for >1021 W/cm2 at 1 Hz
  • Target chambers
  • Targetry for 1 Hz operation
  • Diagnostics
  • Beam line design for laser accelerated ions
  • Theory and simulation support of experimental campaigns
  • Conventional facilities (e.g., shielding)

Please let us know if you or your colleagues are interested in receiving updates on the BELLA-i initiative and would like to attend the planned satellite meeting at the APS-DPP conference, November 17, 2015, and the BELLA-i workshop in Berkeley, January 20-22, 2016.

Help us get the word out!

Here is the Bella-i Workshop poster, suitable for plotters (its native size is 48 x 36 inches) or, with suitable scaling settings, printers.