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Quantel receives 20M€ order from the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

4 Year Contract Delivers Preamplifier Modules to CEA’s Megajoule Laser Facility

27 August 2015 Back


Quantel Laser announced that, following successful development and a stringent qualification process, the CEA has placed an initial production order for preamplifier modules for the Megajoule Laser Facility in Bordeaux, France.

Under terms of the multi-year contract, Quantel will manufacture and test the critical preamplifier modules used in the Laser Source Assembly. The Preamplifier Modules will increase the energy of the initial pulse from several billionths of a Joule to around 1 Joule.  Further amplification takes place in the amplifier section and, after beam combination, the total energy delivered to the target is expected to be in excess of one million Joules.

According to the CEA’s website, “the Megajoule Laser Facility (LMJ) is a key component of CEA's Simulation Program. Its purpose is to study, at a very small scale, the behavior of materials under extreme conditions similar to those reached during the operation of nuclear weapons. The LMJ is designed to deliver, in a few billionths of a second, more than one million joules of light energy to targets measuring a few millimeters in size.  Since France indefinitely halted nuclear testing in 1996, the Simulation Program has been the key element that allows CEA physicists to guarantee the reliability, safety and performance of the country's nuclear weapons.”

“For over 10 years, Quantel has been working in close cooperation with teams from the French Atomic Energy Authority on the design, development and manufacture of this critical technology,” commented Alain de Salaberry, CEO of Quantel.  “Despite exceptional technical challenges in design, manufacture and test, we’re thrilled to deliver the demanding performance required for this unique application.”

In order to bring the system to full functionality, a total of 90 preamplifier modules are required to equip the 22 laser beam lines.  The CEA may place a second similar size order in order to fully equip all lines of the Megajoule Laser.

Further information about the Megajoule project is available through CEA’s website at

Download the Press Release here.


More about the Megajoule Project :

Pre-Amplification laser Modules Manufacturing

The Mégajoule Laser (MJL) is an essential component of the CEA's Simulation program. The aim of the program is to develop a sustainable alternative following the permanent end to nuclear testing. Quantel is working on the research and manufacturing of the pre-amplification laser modules (PAM). These modules amplify a nanoJoule source up to a Joule level, as well as shape the pulse both spatially and temporally. Each of these PAM is 4 meters long and weighs a ton - which is small compared to the MégaJoule laser, but poses a significant challenge for a transportable laser, inside of which the beam travels through 170 optical components. As each PAM powers two Mégajoule laser beams, the final model will include 88 of them.

"Following a research phase, which began in 2005 for Quantel, and which includes 5 to 15 people in R&D depending on the period in question, we are currently in the process of manufacturing 5 PAM having already delivered the previous order of 4 units. Today, manufacturing is split between our Les Ulis and Laséris sites", explains Patrick Maine, a member of the Quantel Group's Board of Directors.

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