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The frequency-doubling efficiency and resultant focal spot quality of a large aperture (140 × 89 mm) subpicosecond, chirped pulse amplified (CPA) 1054-nm beam for laser–matter interaction studies has been investigated using the Vulcan Nd:glass laser system (Danson et al. 1998). The effect of B-integral on the CPA beam quality was studied and is shown not to be the dominant cause of the observed frequency-doubled beam break-up. Conversion efficiency tests were carried out on small aperture KDP (type 1) crystals at a range of incident intensities up to 3 × 1011 W/cm2 giving the optimum crystal thickness for pulses in the 0.3–3 ps region. A large-aperture frequency-doubled beam was commissioned and delivered pulses of over 10 TW onto target for an electron acceleration experiment.