We report on the operation of a novel laser system delivering high-energy pulses in the near-infrared region. The pulses are nearly Fourier-transform limited (time-bandwidth product of 0.48), providing narrow-band radiation (∼1.5 GHz), with an energy of 225 mJ and 10 Hz repetition rate. The pulse duration of 320 ps covers the intermediate region between Q-switched and mode-locked lasers, and provides high peak powers. The nearly Gaussian beam profile, with a beam quality factor of M2=2.5, enables tight focusing, reaching intensities exceeding 5×1013 W/cm2. The system operation is demonstrated near 780 nm, however, the tunability extends over the range 700–970 nm. The laser system is suitable for high-order harmonic generation in the extreme-ultraviolet region for high-resolution frequency domain spectroscopy. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.