Thales awarded a new contract for an intense laser system – Oct 25, 2013– Neuilly sur Seine, France (Techreleased) – The Japanese research institute RIKEN (RIKEN Spring-8 Center) has awarded Thales with a contract for the development and installation of two intense laser beam lines of 500 terawatts each[1]. The system will significantly expand the capabilities of the current SACLA (SPring-8 Angstrom Compact free electron LAser), used by researchers in Japan and from the international community for advanced research in science.

Intense Laser System

The contract, worth €10 million, is the result of the close collaboration between the Japanese company Hakuto and Thales. Hakuto leads both the programme and local coordination with the RIKEN institute while Thales develops the system.

This new system will be the first Japanese petawatt-class turn-key laser system which will be highly compact thanks to a very short pulse”, explained Jean-Louis Moraud, Country Director of Thales in Japan. “Thales is honoured by this new expression of trust by the Japanese scientific community, which has been built on 20 years of close collaboration.”

Dr. Yabashi, Director of the Beam Line Research and Development Group at RIKEN and Professor Kodama, a leading researcher in high energy density science, stated, “This system will allow us to work with excellent performances and to start exciting research in new domains.”

This type of laser paves the way for a new generation of extremely powerful particle accelerators, which will be smaller and less costly, for fundamental research in materials physics and for medical applications.

This new success confirms Thales’s leading position among the scientific community for the development, installation and commissioning of turn-key intense laser systems. It follows the project for the laser BELLA, the most powerful laser in the world, in operation since 2012 in the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, as well as  a contract for the development of a high-intensity laser system (2 x 10 petawatts) at the Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH) in Romania.


[1] 1 petawatt = 1000 terawatts  = 1 quadrillion (1015) watts