Thursday, September 29, 2022
Since the advent of Chirped Pulse Amplification, the technology that warranted the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, a steady increase in laser intensity has occurred enabling new regime of plasma physics to be explored. At such extreme intensities, laser matter interactions can only be described in extremes: the generation of light pulses with durations faster than any chemical interaction, production of matter with energy densities higher than the interior of stars, and such high electric fields that you can pull matter out of the vacuum itself. In this colloquium, I will discuss the work our group has performed at how to make the light itself more extreme, by manipulating the laser pulse in space and time and how it has led to new developments in high field science. I will discuss how our work can begin with commercially available laser systems such as our facility at UCI, to the current experiments involving the ZEUS facility, planned to be the most powerful laser in the US.