By the year 2010 a new laser will be operational at the CNR Campus in Pisa. The laser system will deliver two beams each one providing 1‐ns 50‐joule pulses of high optical quality and full control of phase. The major feature of the system is its spectral and time shape flexibility ranging from narrowband single mode operation to broadband operation with pulse tailoring. According to previous experiments and recent simulations, these features could critically determine the laser‐pellet coupling in the different approaches to laser fusion. The physics involved in the different coupling processes is still not fully investigated experimentally. The BLISS laser, combined with the rest of the ILIL experimental facility, including ultrafast optical probing, time resolved optical X‐ray diagnostics and particle detection could contribute to this investigation with ad hoc small scale experiments. The main features of the innovative BLISS laser front end for broadband operation are shown, together with the amplification chain and the main features of the experimental installation. Data from simulations providing a useful input for future experiments are also presented. BLISS is expected to contribute to the preparatory phase of the large scale European HiPER project.

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