Annual Report to IUPAP September 2016

ICUIL Activity Overview

ICUIL continues to promote the advancement of the international field of ultra-high intensity lasers. Our goals are to provide a venue for discussions, among representatives of high-intensity laser facilities and members of user communities on a variety of subjects including; international collaborations to define and develop the next generation of ultra-high intensity laser capabilities, exploration of new areas of fundamental and applied research and formation of a global research network for access to facilities by users. This report to IUPAP highlights progress made by members of the ICUIL community over the last year.

ICUIL represents the global community working with ultra-intense lasers, i.e. lasers with capabilities exceeding 1019 W/cm2. This community is rapidly increasing in size both in terms of capability and investment. The cumulative laser power from all “ICUIL” qualifying lasers in 2010 was estimated to be ~11 PW. By present estimates this total will exceed 120 PW by 2018. Ultra-high intensity laser projects worldwide now total more than $4B in research investment and involve more than 1500 FTEs of technical staff.

A multitude of laser facilities continue to push towards multi-petawatt power capability. For example, the Chinese initiative at the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) is advancing towards a 10-PW laser facility. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) activated their multi-kJ Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) PW scale laser and the PETAL laser at CEA began operations toward the 2-PW level this year. In South Korea, the Gwangju Institute for Science and Technology is presently commissioning a 4 PW capability that should be available to users in 2017. The University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics continues to work on the OPAL multi-phase laser initiative that could evolve from 5-PW to 75-PW capability. In addition, the European ESFRI roadmap project, the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), consisting of ELI-Beamlines (Czech Republic), ELI-Nuclear Physics (Romania), and ELI-ALPS (Hungary), is rapidly approaching initial operations.

ICUIL and ICFA (International Committee for Future Accelerators), another arm of the IUPAP Working Groups, are now jointly promoting the development of efficient, high-power, laser technology to enable laser-driven wakefield acceleration for future high energy accelerators. ICUIL has continued to collaborate with and support the activities of the Asian Intense Laser Network and has helped sponsor the Russian Summer School on Intense Lasers to promote involvement by young scientists in the advancement of ultra-high intensity lasers.

ICUIL Biennial Conferences

The 7th Conference of the International Committee on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers (ICUIL 2016) was held in Montebello, Québec, Canada from the 11th to the 16th September 2016. The ICUIL biennial meeting aims to gather ultrahigh intensity enthusiasts from around the world, to report new results, exchange information and to establish and enhance collaborations across borders. Following past conferences, ICUIL 2016 focused on the following themes: (i) ultra-intense laser design and performance (such as Nd:glass-based, Ti:sapphire-based, DPSSL-based and OPCPA-based ultra-intense lasers, in addition to their pump lasers); (ii) novel technologies for ultra-intense lasers (such as grating and compressor modeling and fabrication, high-damage-threshold and ultra-broadband laser components, devices for spatial and temporal pulse control, diagnostics for ultra-intense lasers), and (iii) applications of ultra-intense lasers (such as laser acceleration, short-wavelength sources, attosecond sources, high-field physics and applications of extreme light). ICUIL 2016 included more than 100 presentations that showcased the latest on multilateral projects such as ELI, XCELS and IZEST, in addition to the efforts in individual institutions across the world.

The conference was chaired by Dino Jaroszynski (U. Strathclyde, UK) and Tsuneyuki Ozaki (INRS, Canada), with strong support from the Technical Program Committee Co-Chairs, Marco Borghesi (Queen's U. Belfast, UK), Hiromitsu Kiriyama (QST, Japan) and Christophe Dorrer (UR/LLE, USA), along with 24 members of the Technical Programme Committee. The program consisted of 19 invited talks, 61 contributed talks and 77 poster presentations, held over the five days of the conference. The total number of participants was 148, coming from 56 institutes and 18 countries from around the world. We also had strong participation from young researchers, with 17 postdoctoral fellows and 11 PhD students, who are the future of the ICUIL community. The ICUIL 2016 conference was also strongly supported by a total of 22 companies, agencies and universities. Participation from these companies was also active, with 44 participants, some of whom gave oral presentations, while the majority of companies presented posters during the conference. The total number of conference attendees was 192, again showing continual growth in this field.

For contributions to the two poster sessions at ICUIL 2016, Student Poster Awards were awarded to three students: First Prize (including a US$500 cash award) went to Mr. N. Stuart (Imperial College, UK), for his poster on "OPCPA Pump-Depletion Contrast Enhancement using a Seeded OPCPA Fluorescence Diagnostic", Second Prize (US$300 cash award) went to Mr. J. Pilar (Czech Technical U Prague, Czech Rep), for his poster on "Adaptive optics development at HiLASE", and the Third Prize (US$200 cash award) went to Ms. S. Bucht (UR/LLE, USA) for her poster on "Transforming the Idler to Seed Raman Amplification". There were also five Student Travel Grants (US$1,000 each) were awarded to promote student participation. These went to Ms. C. Scullion (Queen’s University Belfast, UK), Ms. G. Cantono (Université Paris-Saclay, France), Mr. R. Budriunas (Vilnius U., Lithuania), Mr. D. E. Cárdenas (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany) and Mr. J. Pilar (Czech Technical U Prague, Czech Rep).

ICUIL 2016 provided an occasion to honour and remember an important figure of the ICUIL committee and community, Prof. Wolfgang Sandner, who passed away unexpectedly in December 2015. Among his many illustrious roles (including Director of the Max Born Institute, Coordinator of Laserlab-Europe, President of the German Physical Society, and the General Director of the ELI-Delivery Consortium), Prof. Sandner served as Co-Chair of the ICUIL committee for many years. To pay tribute to Prof. Sandner, the ICUIL 2016 conference dedicated one of its plenary sessions in his honour. This special session was organized by Dr. Catalin Miron of the ELI-Delivery Consortium, and included invited speakers who worked closely with Wolfgang over many years. We also had the privilege of Mrs. Sandner accepting an invitation to attend the conference, and to remember Prof. Sandner with all his professional colleagues and friends.

The ICUIL 2016 was a great success, owing to the excellent presentations from the participants from around the world, and to the support from the various sponsors. The conference again showed the strength of the ICUIL community. Four potential sites were proposed for the 2018 ICUIL conference in Europe. Compelling proposals were provided by Germany, Russia, the UK, and Hungary; the largest number of proposals in the 12 year history of ICUIL. Although the General Assembly member votes were distributed among the proposals, Germany received the largest number of votes and was selected as the 2018 host. T. Kuehl will serve as Chairman of the next conference. Subsequently, T. Kessler agreed to serve as Co-Chairman. The exact location and venue will be made available early in 2017.

ICUIL Membership Rotation

After eight years of service, Toshiki Tajima stepped down from his Chairman position, but remains a voting member of the GA. Toshi nominated Chris Barty as the next ICUIL Chairman which was seconded by Tsuneyuki Ozaki. Following General Assembly (GA) deliberation, including questions posed to the candidate, the GA unanimously voted to have Chris serve as Chairman of ICUIL for the next four years. Chris will prepare a vision statement to elucidate his plans for the future of ICUIL. T. Tajima recommended adopting a rotation philosophy that includes two types of succession plans where the Board members are rotated from and to the GA, while the regular members of the GA are rotated in from the high intensity laser community. After lengthy deliberation of candidates who could take the vacant Co-Chair position, Chris Barty nominated Ravindra Kumar, an active GA member, for the position with Terry Kessler seconding the nomination. The GA unanimously voted to have Ravi serve as Co-Chair along with the existing Co-Chair, Alexander Sergeev. For the purpose of promoting overall diversity (continental, gender, racial, etc.) GA members were asked to generate a list of candidates for future rotation with an emphasis on increasing overall diversity. Several ICUIL members have completed two terms of service and are required to step down according to the bylaws of the ICUIL charter. The bylaws may be changed to allow continued participation by active members after two terms of service.

ICUIL Charter

The bylaws of the ICUIL Charter are being revised to maintain the experience and dedication of the current membership that has been assembled over the last decade. In exceptional cases, more than two terms of service would be allowed for members who continue to be active in this field and are able to provide service to the ICUIL community. A vote on the revised charter is anticipated to occur at the end of 2016. A more gradual member rotation will be used to maintain continuity and ensure that ICUIL continues to advance while maintaining balance both geographically and between the various high field science working groups of IUPAP.

ICUIL Website and Newsletter

One of the features of the ICUIL website is an interactive world map that highlights the high intensity laser facilities around the world as shown later in this report. Surveys of the worldwide laser community are conducted by ICUIL in an effort to provide an accurate accounting of all existing and planned ultrahigh intensity laser facilities that are capable of reaching intensities above 1019 W/cm2. An updated survey was carried out at the 2016 ICUIL conference.

ICUIL continues to achieve its goal of publishing an annual newsletter. The seventh ICUIL Newsletter (Volume 7) was sent out to the high intensity laser community in June 2016 and is also available at the ICUIL website. The chief editor, Alexander Sergeev, managed the illustration and publication resources to distribute a twelve-page newsletter to hundreds of readers, highlighting the major laser construction and laser science projects within the HIL community, major conferences, and related workshops.

Fund Raising

ICUIL has continued its corporate support program to afford maintenance of the ICUIL website, publish an annual newsletter, support biennial conferences, and provide prize funds to students. In addition, IUPAP provides 2500 euros per year for the general operation of ICUIL as a working group. The ICUIL Treasurer will formally request that IUPAP provide these funds biennially, so that a large portion of the amount could be used to finance the Wolfgang Sandner Prize for Leadership at the biennial ICUIL conference. Student travel funds in the form of five US$1000 grants were derived from the conference budget which was funded through registration fees and corporate sponsorships. Student poster prizes (US$500, US$300 & US$200) were also derived from the conference budget.

Recent Awards to ICUIL Members

Enrico Fermi Prize 2015

Toshiki Tajima
Norman Rostoker Chair Professor,University of California at Irvine, USA

For the invention of the laser-wakefield-acceleration technique which led to a large number of fundamental and interdisciplinary applications ranging from accelerator science to plasma physics and astrophysics

The Infosys Prize 2015 in Physical Sciences

G. Ravindra Kumar
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

For his pioneering experimental contributions to the physics of high intensity laser matter interactions. In particular for providing, for the first time, unequivocal evidence of turbulent magnetic fields and the discovery of terahertz frequency acoustic waves, in laser produced hot dense plasmas. These results have significance to testing stellar and astrophysical scenarios.

Frederic Ives Medal / Quinn Prize 2016

Gerard Mourou
Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the University of Michigan and the Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France

For numerous pioneering contributions to the development of ultrafast and ultrahigh intensity laser science and for outstanding leadership of the international and commercial communities impacted by these technologies.

Harold E. Edgerton Award 2016

Christopher P. J. Barty
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In recognition of his efforts in the development of foundational techniques that have enabled ultrafast, intense lasers and for pioneering contributions to time-resolved, x-ray and gamma-ray science conducted with such lasers

2016 ICUIL Membership

  • Chris Barty
    Co-Chairman - United States
  • Alexander Sergeev
    Co-Chairman - Russia
  • Ravi Kumar - India
  • Terry Kessler
    Secretary - United States
  • Tsuneyuki Ozaki
    Treasurer - Canada
  • Toshiki Tajima - International
  • Hiroshi Azechi - Japan
  • John Collier - United Kingdom
  • Dino Jaroszynski - United Kingdom
  • Thomas Kuehl - Germany
  • Christine Labaune - France
  • Wim Leemans - United States
  • Ruxin Li - China
  • Chang Hee Nam - Korea
  • Bedrich Rus - Czech Republic
  • Heinrich Schwoerer - South Africa
  • Ken-ichi Ueda - Japan

Associate Members (without vote)

  • Ryosuke Kodama - Japan
  • Sandro de Silvestri - Italy
  • Nilson Dias Vieira Jr. - Brazil
  • Claes-Goran Wahlstrom - Sweden

ICUIL Related Science and Technology Highlights

Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI)

ELI is a pioneer among the research infrastructures contained in the European ESFRI Roadmap in that it is using EU structural funds and not science funds for construction of its facilities. ELI consists of three separate sites of roughly equal funding magnitude: ELI-Beamlines, ELI-Nuclear Physics, and ELI-ALPS (attosecond science pillar). ELI-NP, a European research center to study ultra-intense lasers interaction with matter and nuclear science using gamma and laser driven radiation beams is located in Magurele, Romania. The total cost of the facility will be 300 million Euros and commissioning is scheduled to take place in 2018. The ELI-NP facility combines a high power laser system (HPLS) with two arms of 10 PW having intensities on the target in the range of 1023 W/cm2. A gamma beam system (GBS) will deliver up to 19 MeV photons with extreme brilliance and bandwidth and is based on Compton scattering of a high repetition pulsed laser beam on a relativistic electron beam produced by a warm linac of 720 MeV. A new, international conference entitled Nuclear Photonics 2016 and devoted to science of direct relevance to ELI-NP will held this October in Monterey, California. ( Members of ICUIL have been instrumental in the formation of this new biennial meeting series. The 2018 meeting of the Nuclear Photonics series will be hosted by the ELI-NP facility and team.

International Center for Zetta-Exawatt Science and Technology

IZEST endeavors to unify a number of exawatt class facilities around the world. Almost 30 laboratories in 13 countries have signed a collaboration agreement. A new pillar within the IZEST organization, known as ZeptoScience, was formed. A ZeptoScience team is performing experiments to test the methods to efficiently compress existing laser technologies to the few-cycle, femtosecond regime with a sufficient intensity to pursue the creation of zeptosecond pulses. This work is being performed by a team based at Ecole Polytechnique (France), National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics (INFLPR, Romania), and ELI-NP (Romania).

The International School on Ultra-Intense Lasers

The School is organized by the International Committee on Ultra-Intense Lasers (ICUIL), Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAP RAS), National Research Nuclear University MEPhI and Russian Federal Nuclear Center (RFNC-VNIIEF). The school was held in the Hotel@Resort “Yunost” 40 km from Moscow, Russia, from 4 to 9 October, 2015. The main objective of the School was to give an opportunity for postgraduate students and other early career researchers working in ultra-intense laser science to meet in person and listen to the lectures given by world renowned experts in high power laser physics, laser-matter interaction physics, laser-plasma accelerators, laser-based x-ray sources and inertial confinement fusion. Also, a poster session was organized for the young participants where they could present and discuss their own results. In addition to the lectures and poster session, evening interactive classes were conducted by distinguished specialists in the field. The main idea behind them was to make contact of students and teachers as close as possible. The classes were divided into 4 topics; High average power and high-energy lasers, Femtosecond-laser-plasma interaction and particle acceleration, Laser ceramics: fabrication and application and Interaction of strong lasers with quantum systems. About 80 young scientists from Asia, Western Europe and Russia took part in the school.

Collaborations with the Accelerator Community

For laser-based particle accelerators, one of the main issues is the need to improve the laser technology, in particular laser efficiency and repetition rate, so that the beam generated has high enough luminosity for practical applications. Along this line, the ICUIL community is supporting the development of the Coherent Amplification Network (CAN) laser technology based on phased arrays of fiber lasers. A successful CAN system will have applications beyond particle acceleration and in particular a separate community is now considering the potential of this technology for laser-based management and removal of orbiting space debris.

Discussions of the CAN concept, updates on experimental demonstrations and consideration of other areas of overlap between the intense laser and high energy physics communities took place at an IZEST Conference at CERN last October and represented a giant step in collaboration between the communities of ICUIL and ICFA. The possibility of future collaboration on high fluence laser technology at CERN will be discussed in the future.

The 76th International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) meeting was held at the J-PARC site (KEK Tokai campus) in Japan on 25th and 26th February 2016 and included discussion of ICUIL/ICFA collaborative science. The meeting summary can be found on the web page of ICFA at

In 2015 a working started with seed funding from the Japanese government to consider plasma-based deceleration as a technique for dramatically reducing the environmental issues associated with the 10-MW beam dump for the planned International Linear Collider (ILC). The members of the so-called “Green ILC Beam Dump” group include; KEK, UCI, SLAC and LAPP/IN2P3/CNRS.

In 2016 ICUIL, Chris Barty (at the time co-chair of ICUIL) became a member of the newly-formed, IUPAP Working Group on Accelerator Science (WG14). The first meeting of WG14 took place in May in Pusan, South Korea. Chris participated in this meeting via teleconference and provided insight with respect to generic issues faced upon formation in 2004 of the ICUIL working group.


This project was launched in October 2015 and is aimed at fostering scientific cooperation between the Russian Federation and the European Union in the development and scientific exploitation of large-scale research infrastructures. 19 European research centers, including 6 Russian institutions, established a consortium to develop concrete coordination and support measures for each research infrastructure and common best practice and policies on international participation. The project is intended for 3 years during which each consortium member will organize working meetings and/or focus workshops with participation of other CREMLIN members to discuss problems of mutual interest and find ways for their solution. In addition, meetings of Consortium Board (CB) and Project Management Board with representatives of each party will be held regularly. An external Science Policy Advisory Board (SPAB) appointed by the CB shall assist and facilitate the CB decisions.

The CREMLIN kick-off meeting took place on 06-07 October 2015, at the National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute” in Moscow, Russia. The objectives, management and financial issues, exchange platform, milestones and other issues were addressed at the meeting. It was agreed that the CREMLIN project should be seen as a vehicle and platform to move the discussions around large-scale research infrastructures and as a means to establish links between the project participants and the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and other relevant EU organizations. The first CREMLIN working meeting on exchange on policy and ESFRI-related issues was held at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia on the 20th April 2016. The meeting was intended to stimulate and enable mutual learning and exchange of best practice within the community, with a focus on policy issues. A second working meeting took place on 28–30 June 2016 and was dedicated to international relations to the megascience facilities. It was held at the European Spallation Source in Lund, Sweden. Still another CREMLIN event was organized by the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAP RAS). It was a workshop on novel applications of exawatt laser sources, with a focus on the XCELS facility developed at IAP RAS. The workshop was held on board a river ship cruising from Nizhny Novgorod to Saint Petersburg, Russia from the 17th to the 23d of July 2016.

2016 Highlights - High Intensity Laser Facilities

1. National Ignition Facility’s ARC

The commissioning of the Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) laser system in the National Ignition Facility (NIF) was completed. ARC is designed to ultimately provide eight beamlets from one quad of NIF beams with pulse duration adjustable from 1 to 50 ps, and energies up to 1.7 kJ per beamlet. A special front end laser system enables ARC to achieve the high pulse contrast (80 dB) needed for unperturbed solid target interactions. The ARC beamlets will be used to create x-ray point sources for dynamic, multi- frame high-energy x-ray radiographs of the imploded cores of ignition targets. ARC x-rays are critical for precision x-ray imaging of NIF experiments studying complex hydrodynamics and material strength at extremely high energy densities. In principle, ARC can also produce MeV protons and electrons for future experiments in advanced fusion, TeV acceleration and proton radiography.

2. Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI)

A High Power Laser System (HPLS) is being constructed for the ELI-NP (Nuclear Physics) pillar in Magurele, Romania. The HPLS consists of two main beams, each delivering 10 PW peak power at a repetition rate of 1 shot per minute. In addition, each leg will be capable of delivering 100 Terawatt at 10 Hz and 1 PW at 1 Hz. The ELI-NP team recently achieved compressed pulses with 28 J at 1 Hz with 21 fs pulsewidth, yielding 1.3 PW in a beam measured to have a Strehl ratio of 0.92.

National Energetics is working to deliver the L4 beamline, a 10 PW (1.5 kJ in 150 fs) at 1 shot per minute, to ELI Beamlines in Czech Republic. The laser system is based on Nd-doped glass as a gain medium. The thermal management of the power amplifiers includes liquid cooling of multiple slabs in a split-disk configuration. The spectral width is increased to support 150 fs pulses by mixing Silicate and Phosphate glass amplification media.

3. Texas Petawatt Laser

Researchers at the University of Texas, Center for High Energy Density Science have benefitted from a successful project to improve the pulse contrast on the Texas Petawatt Laser while reaching 150 J in 150 fs. This laser has produced the brightest ultrashort pulse neutron source yet measured (>1018 n/cm2 in a 50 ps pulse), the highest measured positron-to-electron ratio pair creation in a solid (~50% in a Pt rod), and high energy (~100 MeV) proton yields. Following improvements to the laser wavefront and focusing system, the Texas group expects to reach intensities above 1022 W/cm2.


Petawatt Aquitaine Laser (PETAL) will allow unique experiments in the field of ultrahigh intensity sciences, extreme plasma physics, astrophysics, radiography, and fast ignition by a combination of its own multipetawatt kilojoule beam and the nanosecond multikilojoule beams of the Laser Mégajoule (LMJ). The PETAL facility is designed and constructed by the French Commissariat à l'énergie Atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA) to deliver laser pulses in the kJ-picosecond range at the wavelength of 1053 nm and is an additional short pulse beam to the Laser MegaJoule (LMJ) facility. In May 2015, PETAL had achieved 1.4 kJ at 2 ns with a 3.5 nm bandwidth to produce 1.15 PW. In December 2016, PETAL delivered 0.9 PW to the LMJ target chamber. The PETAL goal is to reach 1020 W/cm2 on target.

5. SIOM’s Petawatt Lasers

The Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) in China introduced their 10 PW laser project called SULF (Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility). At the end of 2014, a high gain chirped pulse amplifier based on a 150 mm diameter, Ti:sapphire crystal was demonstrated. To date the highest output pulse energy has been 192.3 J when pumped by laser energy of 312 J, corresponding to a pump-laser efficiency of 50.4%. With the grating compressor efficiency of 72% and the 27.0 fs compressed pulse width obtained with part of the energy, this Ti:sapphire laser system could support a peak power of 5.13 PW. A CPA/OPCPA hybrid laser system has achieved the peak power of 1.02 PW, where an LBO of 100 mm in diameter was used in the final OPCPA, and the output energy of 45.3 J was obtained. A 10 PW level femtosecond laser system, combining the Ti:sapphire based CPA chain and the OPCPA booster amplifier, is currently being constructed.

6. Kansai Photon Science Institute (KPSI)

The J-KAREN laser system at the KPSI National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST) was upgraded over a two-year period between 2014 and 2016. Previously, J-KAREN system delivered laser intensities of 1021 W/cm2 to high field physics experiments to successfully obtain energetic hadron beams. The J-KAREN-P laser is a Ti:sapphire system with double-chirped pulse amplification (CPA), capable of providing a laser pulse with intensity over 1022 W/cm2 and a high contrast ratio of 10-10 at -500 ps. The laser system has successfully amplified a pulse up to 65 Joules and compressed it to 30 fs (FWHM) on target. The J-KAREN-P laser system promises to open the door to relativistic particle acceleration, especially hadron beams, bright x-ray and -ray radiation generation and photo-nuclear science.