Control room of the high-power laser system POLARIS.

Relativistic Laser Physics

Control room of the high-power laser system POLARIS.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)
Prof. Dr. Malte Kaluza Prof. Dr. Malte Kaluza Image: Private

Prof. Dr. Malte KALUZA

Phone: +49 3641-9-47280

The primary focus of the research group "high-intensity laser physics" lies on the development and optimization of a new class of laser systems generating pulses with peak powers in the range of 100 Terawatt to 1 Petawatt and the application of these pulses for the acceleration of charged particles such as electrons and ions to energies in the range of 10's or 100's of Megaelectronvolts.

The laser systems which are developed and utilized within this research group are fully diode-pumped solid state laser systems which offer a worldwide unique combination of high laser pulse energy (in the range of 10s of Joules), short laser pulse duration (shorter than 150 fs) and high pulse repetition rate (a few shots per minute). The POLARIS laser system which has been developed within the group currently holds the world record for the peak power of the laser pulses from such a fully diode-pumped system.

Using high-power pulses from such a laser system opens up the possibility to conduct a large variety of experiments towards laser-driven particle acceleration. Both the generation of electron and ion pulses exhibiting a quasi-monoenergetic spectral distributions are among the research highlights of this group. This group was the first to be able to observe the electron acceleration process with optical methods and to visualize the so-called "plasma bubble" during the interaction, which is a prerequisite for the generation of quasi-monoenergetic electron pulses. Applications using such electron pulses for the generation of secondary radiation with unique properties are also developed in the group.

Research areas

Prof. Kaluza's research focuses on the generation and application of pulses from the THz to the x-ray regime with extreme parameters, reaching peak powers up to Terawatt or Petawatt for the study of various phenomena in non-linear relativistic optics. These studies also include:

  • the development of laser systems with peak powers from TW to PW
  • laser-based particle acceleration
  • realization of secondary light pulses with ultra-short duration
  • high-resolution probing of transient states of matter with optical pulses and particle beams
  • the development of novel materials for laser operation

Teaching fields

Prof. Kaluza's teaching is devoted to young scientist education from their first year onward to the doctorate level using state-of-the-art research. He gives courses in:

  • standard courses on experimental physics
  • high-intensity, relativistic optics
  • plasma physics

Research methods

In Prof. Kaluza's group's laboratories, a wide range of methods is developed and used to generate and apply high-intensity laser pulses. These methods include:

  • the operation of the POLARIS laser system
  • cryogenic cooling for laser amplifiers
  • operation of burst-mode lasers both with high peak and high average power
  • high-resolution spectroscopy and characterization of laser materials
  • few-cycle optical probing techniques
  • high-resolution characterization of ultra-short high- energy particle and photon pulses

link to the Relativistic Laser Physics Group

link to POLARIS

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