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TAU Systems Upgrades University of Texas Tabletop Laser To A Peak Power of 40 Terawatts and Debuts its Particle Accelerator

TAU Systems, the producer of ultrafast, compact laser-plasma accelerators, today announced the successful upgrade of the existing University of Texas Tabletop Terawatt Laser (UT3), to a new and improved performance for powering a compact particle accelerator.  The upgraded UT3  driver laser now produces ultrashort pulses with a peak power of 40 terawatts.

Image Credit: TAU Systems

The upgrade is part of a collaboration between TAU and University of Texas at Austin to jointly develop the fundamental elements of laser-plasma interactions, advancing the science and technology of compact accelerator systems and advanced light sources, with the goal of making these tools widely available to a broad range of end-users and industry.

The upgraded UT3 reaches almost twice the energy of its predecessor. The upgrade was done jointly by personnel from TAU Systems and UT Austin, with the necessary components from the Thales Laser company.  TAU has already shown the new potential of the facility through the successful laser-driven acceleration of electrons in an all-new TAU-designed beamline.

The system will now be used for the development of compact and novel laser-wakefield accelerators, and EUV and X-ray light sources for applications in the semiconductor industry, material science, battery technology, medical imaging and more.

Bjorn Manuel Hegelich, CEO of TAU Systems and a professor in UT's Physics Department, said of the new capabilities of the UT3, "Having successfully completed this important UT3 upgrade we are looking forward to pushing the engineering frontiers of laser-driven particle accelerators. It will enable us to develop new imaging capabilities for users both from within and from outside UT."

Prof. Mike Downer, Distinguished Professor of Physics at UT Austin, echoed this sentiment, saying, "The new research capabilities enabled by this upgrade are exciting, and we look forward to furthering the development of compact electron accelerators and 21st century X-ray sources."

Christine Dixon Thiesing, UT Austin's Associate Vice President for Discovery to Impact, commented on the successful partnership between the university and TAU Systems, saying; "This successful project is a great example of a private-public partnership between UT Austin and a local cutting-edge industry, and a great success story for a spin-out company out of UT Austin."

The collaboration between TAU Systems and UT Austin highlights the importance of public-private partnerships in advancing scientific research and accelerating innovation.

The upgrade represents the next significant step in making plasma wakefield accelerators available for commercial use.  TAU Systems intends to install a system 100 times more powerful in its recently acquired premises in San Diego by the end of the year.  The opening of the Service Center will create previously unavailable opportunities for researchers across a number of fields especially semiconductor manufacturing through the exploration and the metrology of 3D structures in semiconductors. The Service Center will also allow EV battery developers to comprehensively study the charge and discharge of batteries.


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