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TARANIS-X is a highly innovative laser development project, upgrading Queen’s University Belfast’s TARANIS laser to a Joule-class 10 femtosecond (fs 10-15 s)  laser system. For this upgrade, the picosecond output of TARANIS will be used to pump a high energy optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifier (OPCPA) system. TARANIS-X will deliver high energy pulses at 10 fs pulse duration for discovering new frontiers in laser-plasma interaction research. Once fully commissioned, TARANIS-X will represent the first >100 TW laser operating at 10 fs worldwide.


The main goal of the TARANIS-X project will be to pursue cutting edge applications in ultrafast science in the high energy density regime. In the short term there will be a particular focus on the generation of a) attosecond (10-18 s) bursts of extreme ultraviolet and X-ray radiation via high harmonic generation and b) high instantaneous flux/high dose rate pulses of particles (ions, electrons and neutrons). This capability will complement and enhance the current research being undertaken within CPP using the main TARANIS laser system (>10J, ~700 fs) which includes, but is not limited to,

  • radiation biology under high dose rate conditions
  • laser-driven charge propagation in plasmas,
  • production and study of warm dense matter,
  • positron production for applications in Quantum Electrodynamics
  • studying ultrafast ion-matter interactions in real time 

On the longer term, the aim will be to couple highly synchronised harmonic sources driven by both the front end and final stages of TARANIS-X to perform attosecond pump – attosecond probe experiments, extending the pump-probe technique so successful for studying molecular dynamics (fs timeframes) to the atomic regime. This capability will allow the study and control of outer and inner shell electron dynamics in real time.