Peking University and Thales signed an agreement on 30 June to develop a 2PW/1Hz very high peak power laser system in China, the company announced on 29 July.

Marking a further major step forward in the fruitful collaboration between the parties, the new agreement follows on from a strategic agreement for future scientific cooperation in the field of physics signed last November during President Marcon’s visit to China.

Thales will provide its expertise and state-of-the-art laser system to support Peking University in fulfilling China's national key R&D programme, the PW Laser Proton Accelerator Research & Application Demonstration Project. This will be built at Beijing Huairou Science City, an area of some 100km2 north of Beijing – a national strategic site that will gather the major Chinese stakeholders in a single location.

Thales’ laser system will enable the University to pursue its work in the field of laser particle acceleration and help advance human understanding of the physics of matter. It is the first phase of acquisition that will be reinforced in China’s 14th five-year plan (2021-2025). The project expands upon the work of Gérard Mourou, professor at the École Polytechnique – particularly his innovative research into Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) techniques, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018. His work is the result of a longstanding laser-research partnership between his laboratory, the Applied Optics Laboratory (LOA) and Thales, whose cutting-edge laser technology expertise pushes the use of CPA to new boundaries every day.

Thales has a strong experience in fostering cooperation with internationally renowned research laboratories and institutions […] As a trusted partner for Chinese industries in aerospace, transportation and digital identity and security, Thales actively supports scientific research in physics with the academic world,” commented Pascale Sourisse, President of Thales International.

As a leader in laser technologies, Thales has extensive experience in collaborative programmes. The group has worked with ninety research teams across the world over the past three decades, including PW BELLA system for Laser Wakefield Acceleration in Berkeley, CA, the Extreme Light Infrastructure for Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP), developed and commissioned by Romania, the SACLA facility for X-ray generation at Riken Harima in Japan and contributions to the French multi-PW project Apollon for Plasma Physic Research.

Beijing Huairou Science City, the location for the very high peak power laser system. (Image via Thales)

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