From 24 to 27 October, 2023, the beautiful setting of Wasem’s Engelthal Monastery in Ingelheim (Germany) became a hub of innovation and collaboration for the high-energy laser community. The four days were a great opportunity to review the progress made in each work package and task, and to exchange views and ideas on some key issues to be addressed in the coming months.
The first two days were dedicated to the End-User Workshop, where a diverse range of ongoing research topics using High Energy High Repetition Rate (HEHRR) lasers was presented, from the dynamic compression of materials and warm-dense-matter research to inertial fusion energy and high-field quantum electrodynamics. The leading international scientists presented the state-of-the-art in their respective fields, and identified the prerequisites for future laser facilities. While requirements varied depending on specific applications, a unanimous emphasis was placed on the need for greater energies and enhanced beam stability.
Furthermore, an important consensus emerged: while laser repetition rates at the 1 shot/min level are definitely desirable, more rapid repetition rates would not be practical for many experiments at this point due to limitations in target delivery and online diagnostics. This feedback provides a clear direction for future priorities in the field.
Participants of the End-User Workshop
The workshop also offered an opportunity for the advisory boards, including the End-User Board and the Industry Board, to gain insight into THRILL’s activities and to provide valuable feedback to the THRILL Management Board, contributing to the continuous improvement and development of the project.
General Assembly Meeting: First face-to-face gathering of THRILL
The following General Assembly Meeting marked a significant milestone in the project: the first face-to-face gathering of all THRILL members since collaborating on the proposal writing in 2022 and subsequently working on their tasks since the project launch in January 2023. During the assembly, the work-package leaders provided an overview on their respective areas, followed by detailed progress reports of the task leaders. Every facet of the THRILL initiative was addressed, spanning from innovative laser amplifier designs and beam quality management to the coatings used on large optics. A highlight was the presentation of the plans for upcoming lasers at the Eu-XFEL and FAIR facilities and on how their development falls in line with the ESFRI research roadmap. These laser blueprints are anticipated to be one of THRILL’s major deliverables.
Participants of the General Assembly
Great potential in collaborative efforts in advancing laser technology
In conclusion, the event was able to establish a connection between users of high-energy/high-intensity laser systems and the experts dedicated to their design and advancement. Discussions were not only fruitful but also played a crucial role in aligning expectations for the forthcoming generation of HEHRR lasers designed for ESFRI landmark facilities, the main goal of the THRILL project.
Overall, this workshop impressively underlined the great potential in collaborative efforts in advancing laser technology. The participants of THRILL will now take the outcome back into their projects and will report on further progress in the next General Assembly Meeting in 2024.
For those eager to remain at the forefront of these developments, subscribing to the THRILL newsletter is highly recommended: https://www.thrill-project.eu/newsletter/
Additionally, for those passionate about contributing to this work, we direct your attention to the current job announcements on the THRILL website: https://www.thrill-project.eu/jobs/
Text: Jonas Ohland, Zsuzsanna Major, Marina Fischer
Photos: Bernhard Zielbauer