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Orion laser facility

Orion is one of the most powerful lasers and largest laser facilities in the UK.

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A unique national asset

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World-class expertise

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Target diagnostics

Orion provides a comprehensive suite of target diagnostics to try and understand the plasma conditions created through the laser interaction on a millimetre-scale target positioned at the centre of the Orion target chamber. Targets, manufactured using micro-engineering techniques, can be typically made out of metals, plastics or gases.

Some of these are mounted in one of six Ten-Inch Manipulators and experimental teams can have access to those instruments without needing to break the vacuum on the target chamber. Many more instruments are mounted directly onto the target chamber. 

The principal diagnostics fielded on Orion are:


XUV Grating Spectrometer

Soft X-ray diagnostic, making spectrally resolved measurements of the radiation produced in laser-plasma interactions.


Electron Spectrometer – High Energy

Collimates electrons produced by high intensity laser-plasma interactions; deflecting them in an arc which is a function of the electrons' accelerating potential.

Thomson Parabola

Charged-particle-discrimination spectrometer used to record charged particle spectra generated during laser-plasma interactions.

Electron Spectrometer – EPPS

TIM-based charged particle spectrometer that uses permanent magnets generating an internal magnetic field.

Neutron Time of Flight

Measures the neutron energy spectrum generated during laser-plasma interactions, for yields between 2x107 and 1011 neutrons.

Faraday Cups

Primarily measures the protons produced in short-pulse laser interactions.


Diagnostic used to record protons up to energies of 13MeV.

Radiochromic Film

Diagnostic used to diagnose the protons and ions produced in ultra-high intensity laser-plasma interactions.

Neutron Total Yield

Infers the neutron signal from the experiment using irradiated copper sample material, and induced activation and reaction cross sections.


X-ray Microscope

The KB X-ray Microscope (KBXRM) is an imaging system with a large field of view and high spatial resolution.


Measures the absolute X-ray energy emitted from laser-target interactions to enable calculations of the target temperature to be achieved.

Filter Fluorescer

Designed to diagnose the conditions created in long-pulse laser-plasma interactions.

Transmission Grating Spectrometer

Used to measure absolute spectral intensity from targets in the 10-100Å (0.12-1.2keV) spectral range.

Streak Cameras (TIM-compatible)

Provides a means of time-resolving the laser-plasma interactions at picosecond resolutions.

Thermoluminescent Detector

Measures bremsstrahlung radiation dose levels generated in laser-plasma interactions.

Hard X-ray Spectrometer

An array of filtered detectors that provide a time integrated measurement of the hard X-ray spectrum relevant to ultra-high intensity interactions.

X-ray Film Spectrometers

Use crystals to disperse X-rays in a variety of geometries to give the X-ray spectrum relevant to an experiment.


Fielded on both short-pulse and long-pulse laser shots and has a spectral range of 1-10keV.


Type of Laue camera used to record X-ray diffraction data from single-crystal samples of different material.

Pinhole Camera - Single-Channel

Designed to record an X-ray image of the laser-target interaction.

Pinhole Camera - Multi Channel

Designed to provide Full-Field X-ray Imaging (FXI) of the laser-target interaction.

Gated X-ray

Uses Micro-Channel Plate (MCP) technology to provide 2D spatially resolved, time gated images of X-ray emission.