Plasma-Based Laser Pulse System: Higher Power, Sharper Wavefront

Web Published:

Princeton Docket # 17-3296, 17-3311, 17-3333


Current laser systems are inherently brilliance-limited by the ability of the internals to resist damage by the laser. To overcome this thermal threshold, researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have invented techniques to improve the current laser amplifiers based on Raman instability in plasmas.


A process was invented to use magnetized plasmas as the gain media combine counter-propagating laser beams. Using magnetized plasma to mediate energy transfer makes it possible to use pump lasers of higher frequency or lower intensity to produce output pulses with higher intensity and longer duration. 


In addition, to overcome challenges of preparing a high quality short seed pulse and synchronizing it with the pump, the researchers have replaced the laser seed with a plasma wave seed. This method can produce the same time-asymptotic amplified short pulse as if a laser seed is used. This would reduce the device complexity of ultra-high-power systems capable of producing exawatt discharges. 


One further advancement is the use of electromagnetically induced transparency in plasma to create a sharp wavefront from a continuous laser. It can also improve the signal-to-noise ratio of a short laser pulses with a strong pedestal above ionization intensity. The resulted laser pulse with a sharp wavefront can function as a high-quality laser seed for plasma Raman amplifiers.



•       Amplification and compression of intense laser pulses

•       Broader operational parameter range including pump frequency and plasma density

•       Better signal-to-noise ratio of nanosecond to sub-picosecond lasers

•       Lower system complexity and higher operation stability



•       Tabletop laser pulse compressors

•       Distance/speed detection

•       Air quality detector/monitor

•       Tattoo removal

•       Ultra-high power lasers

•       High contrast short laser pulses


Stage of development

The method of creating ultra-high-power laser pulses using a plasma wave seed is under experimental verification.


Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory                     

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a United States Department of Energy National Laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL is collaborative national center for fusion energy research. The Laboratory advances the coupled fields of fusion energy and plasma physics research, and, with collaborators, is developing the scientific understanding and key innovations needed to realize fusion as an energy source for the world. An associated mission is providing the highest quality of scientific education.



Kenan Qu, Ph.D. is a postdoc research associate at Princeton University. His research interest focuses on the interaction between light and different varieties of matters, including atoms, molecular, mechanical oscillators, and plasmas. Dr. Kenan Qu graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2015. His Ph.D thesis studies quantum optics, optomechanics, and laser spectroscopy.


Yuan Shi is Ph.D. candidate at Princeton university. His research focuses on strong-field effects in plasma physics, including the influence of strong magnetic fields on coherent laser scattering, and the influence of quantum electrodynamic during laser-plasma interactions. His Ph.D. thesis develops analytical theories and numerical schemes for plasma physics in the strong-field regime, which was inaccessible by previous methods. 


Intellectual Property & Development Status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.



Chris Wright

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762•


Laurie Bagley

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory • (609) 243-2425 •


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Chris Wright
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Kenan Qu
Nathaniel Fisch