The Chemistry Division’s Terawatt Ultrafast High Field Facility (TUHFF) was built in order to provide a source of femtosecond electron pulses, femtosecond tunable x-rays (soft and hard), and femtosecond proton pulses. TUHFF will primarily be used for applications in the fields of chemistry and physics. A Titanium:Sapphire based laser system that produces 0.6 Joules of energy in a 50 femtosecond pulse was constructed. This system produces peak powers in excess of 10 terawatt! Because of these extremely high power levels, part of the laser system and the experimental areas (target chamber) are contained in vacuum chambers to prevent the dielectric breakdown of air. Currently, we are exploring the generation of femtosecond pulses of ionizing radiation (both protons and electrons) and of x-rays by focusing this intense beam (power density >10^19 W/cm2!) into either a metal target (hard x-rays and protons) or a supersonic gas jet (energetic electrons).
Source: Chemistry division, Argonne National Laboratory