In the field of laser plasma, IPP concentrates its effort on experimental and theoretical study and applications of plasma generated by laser beams with very high power (in the order of TW). The laser beams are focused on solid or gaseous targets and the achieved power densities of the focused beams lie between 1014 W/cm2 to 3x1016 W/cm2. The following topics are studied experimentally:
1) Dynamic processes during laser plasma generation on solid planar targets (e.g. Al, Cu, Ta, Mo, Ag, Au).
2) Plasma generation from gas-puff targets (e.g. Ar, N, Ne and their combinations).
3) Radiation properties of laser plasma (radiation spectra in visible, UV, and XUV light).
4) Processes governing formation and acceleration of charged particles in laser plasma, namely multiply charged heavy ions.
5) Formation and propagation of shock waves in dense solid targets as well as porous targets.
6) Ablation processes on laser targets surface, laser generation of plasma jets for applications in laboratory astrophysics and inertial fusion research.
7) Hydrodynamical instabilities of plasma corona and means of their minimization.
The theoretical studies of various effects in laser plasma are concentrated on modeling of processes accompanying the interaction of strong electromagnetic field with matter. A special emphasis is placed upon studying accelerating mechanisms of charged particles in laser plasma and potential for their application in new types of plasma particle accelerators with extremely high accelerating field.
The experimental research of laser-produced plasma is carried out at a unique terawatt iodine laser facility, one of the largest in Europe, known since 2000 as the Prague Asterix Laser System (PALS), of which IPP is the main operator. The PALS laser system is simultaneously a key experimental facility of the PALS Research Centre, a joint research laboratory of the Institute of Plasma Physics and the Institute of Physics, and a founding member of the LASERLAB-EUROPE Consortium. A part of the research programme of the Laser Plasma Department falls within the Keep-in-Touch activities in the field of inertial fusion coordinated by Inertial Fusion Energy Working Group of EURATOM. The Department collaborates with other domestic institutions conducting research in the field of the laser-produced and lasing plasmas.