An all-reflective pulse stretcher for laser systems employing chirped-pulse amplification enables on-axis use of the focusing mirror which results in ease of use, significantly decreased sensitivity to alignment and near aberration-free performance. By using a new type of diffraction grating which contains a mirror incorporated into the grating, the stretcher contains only three elements: 1) the grating, 2) a spherical or parabolic focusing mirror, and 3) a flat mirror. Addition of a fourth component, a retro-reflector, enables multiple passes of the same stretcher resulting in stretching ratios beyond the current state of the art in a simple and compact design. The pulse stretcher has been used to stretch pulses from 20 fsec to over 600 psec (a stretching ratio in excess of 30,000).
The United States Government has rights in this, invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.