CESTA (Le Barp, France)

CESTA hosts the most energetic lasers in Europe in a single facility: LMJ composed of 176 nanosecond beams and PETAL a kJ-level picosecond beam (more than 1 PW). CESTA designs, engineers and operates these lasers.
Research highlights

CESTA conducts leading research in high-power energetic lasers. Its research covers all the related topics: front-end technologies, amplification, frequency conversion, optical design, opto-mechanics, power-banks, optics manufacturing, optics damage, electromagnetic pulse generation…

Further application highlights

Lasers and Metrology


Centre d'Etudes Scientifiques et Techniques
d'Aquitaine, CEA, Le Barp, France



Contact: Denis Penninckx

As a research centre dedicated to high power laser for fusion experiments, CESTA houses the European highest-energy laser facility comprising two lasers: LMJ (Laser MégaJoule (LMJ)) and PETAL (PETawatt Aquitaine Laser). LMJ offers unique capabilities, providing an extraordinary instrument to study high energy density physics and basic science. The 176 beams of the facility, grouped into 22 bundles of 8 beams, will deliver a total energy of 1.4 MJ of 0.35 μm light and a maximum power of 400 TW. LMJ is still in a ramp-up period: operational commissioning was established in October 2014 with the first bundle and the first plasma diagnostics. Seven bundles and twelve diagnostics are now operational; with these fifty-six beams and a maximal energy of 420 kJ, LMJ is the second largest laser in the world. PETAL is a multi-petawatt multi-kilojoule picosecond single beam line laser. It is focused in the same target chamber. PETAL has reached a record of 1.2PW (850J, 0,7ps) for this kind of lasers. Although on-site infrastructure is mainly devoted to high power laser design and operation, there is intense partnership with the neighbouring CELIA laboratory in Bordeaux. CELIA and CESTA therefore constitute a joint Bordeaux node within the LASERLAB EUROPE Consortium.

LMJ PETAL facillity (Copyright Beview-CEA 2015)