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Orion laser facility

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Academic access

Ever since the inception of Orion, there has been a commitment to provide access to the laser facility to the UK physics community and academia.

It has been agreed that up to 15% (up to 6 weeks) of system time each year will be available to UK academics. This is subject to peer review of the experiment proposals and adherence to our procedures.

Application process

Application for experimental time in Orion will be managed through the Central Laser Facility at STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, with our representation on the review committee. 

Successful applicants will have their experiments scheduled in a manner which most efficiently fits into facility operations. For instance, if several campaigns call for Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) pulses with green light, then they will likely be scheduled consecutively to minimise system down-time swapping between infrared and green operations on the short-pulse beamlines. In each case, a local point of contact will be made available to assist the external team prepare for their campaign.

Orion readiness review

The Orion readiness review requires all experimental teams to demonstrate that preparations for their campaign are well managed. That the targets have been ordered and will be delivered on time, diagnostic requirements are understood and that the desired laser performance is achievable and so on. This is done through three separate meetings in the run up to a campaign, held six, three and one month(s) ahead of the start of the campaign. It will also allow those new to us and our site the chance to complete facility safety courses and become familiar with local procedures and assurance requirements.

Call for proposals and contacts

A detailed call for proposals has been issued. Those interested in applying to perform experiments on Orion are encouraged to contact AWE's Orion Academic Access team via email: Orionacademicaccess@awe.co.uk as early as possible, to discuss their requirements.

First academics granted access to Orion - see news story