A novel hybrid (solid/gas) approach to the development of femtosecond high‐intensity laser systems operating in the visible is presented in this chapter. Behind this approach is a combination of a solid‐state front end relying on widespread and highly developed techniques for femtosecond pulse generation in the near infrared with a photochemically driven boosting amplifier operating in the visible spectral range. Historical background of developing photochemically pumped gas lasers on broad bandwidth electronic transitions in molecules and physical principles of their operation are briefly summarized as well. The architecture and the design issues of the hybrid femtosecond systems relying on the amplification of the second harmonic of Ti:sapphire front ends in the photodissociation XeF(C‐A) power‐boosting amplifiers driven by the VUV radiation from electron‐beam‐to‐VUV‐flash converters are described, as well as breakthrough results of proof‐of‐principle experiments demonstrating a high potential of the hybrid approach. Wavelength scaling of laser‐matter interaction is shortly discussed to demonstrate advantages of shorter driver wavelengths for some applications with main emphasis placed on recombination‐pumped soft X‐ray lasers.
Part of the book: High Energy and Short Pulse Lasers