Building Vacuum Chambers for Laser Installations

Created 5 years ago
Vacuum Chambers for Laser Installations

Keller Technology Corporation’s comprehensive manufacturing capabilities afford us the opportunity to build complex and unique vacuum chambers for a variety of applications, including research equipment for universities and research institutions as well as the semiconductor and medical industries.

The chamber pictured will be installed at University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) as part of a next-generation laser system capable of producing powerful, ultrashort optical pulses for a broad range of scientific experiments. The laser system, called MTW-OPAL, is a prototype for an even larger system that will be added to the existing OMEGA facility to reach record power densities (intensities) unachievable by any other means. For intensities of this magnitude, the technique of “chirped pulse amplification” is required. This technique was invented at the LLE in 1985 by Drs. Mourou and Strickland, for which they received last year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.

High intensities are reached by first stretching the pulse in time, amplifying it, and then compressing it back. At these intensities, all matter is ionized and therefore the optical pulses must remain in a vacuum. Keller Technology was responsible for building a key piece of the prototype system, the vacuum compressor chamber, which will contain the critical components at the end of the new MTW-OPAL laser for achieving petawatt power levels. 

The LLE of the University of Rochester is a unique national resource for research and education in science and technology. LLE was established in 1970 as a center for the investigation of the interaction of intense radiation with matter. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) funds LLE as part of its Stockpile Stewardship Program.

Along with vacuum chambers for high power laser installations such as MTW-OPAL, Keller Technology provides chambers for linac-driven x-ray band Free Electron Lasers (FEL’s) Synchrotron light sources, Neutron science, radio oncology equipment and more. Utilizing the latest in five-axis machining and robotic welding techniques, Keller Technology can provide vacuum chambers constructed of plated steel, stainless steel or aluminum.

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