Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

402-0402-00L  Ultrafast Laser Physics

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersL. P. Gallmann, S. Johnson, U. Keller
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractIntroduction to ultrafast laser physics with an outlook into cutting edge research topics such as attosecond science and coherent ultrafast sources from THz to X-rays.
ObjectiveUnderstanding of basic physics and technology for pursuing research in ultrafast laser science. How are ultrashort laser pulses generated, how do they interact with matter, how can we measure these shortest man-made events and how can we use them to time-resolve ultrafast processes in nature? Fundamental concepts and techniques will be linked to a selection of hot topics in current research and applications.
ContentThe lecture covers the following topics:

a) Linear pulse propagation: mathematical description of pulses and their propagation in linear optical systems, effect of dispersion on ultrashort pulses, concepts of pulse carrier and envelope, time-bandwidth product

b) Dispersion compensation: technologies for controlling dispersion, pulse shaping, measurement of dispersion

c) Nonlinear pulse propagation: intensity-dependent refractive index (Kerr effect), self-phase modulation, nonlinear pulse compression, self-focusing, filamentation, nonlinear Schrödinger equation, solitons, non-instantaneous nonlinear effects (Raman/Brillouin), self-steepening, saturable gain and absorption

d) Second-order nonlinearities with ultrashort pulses: phase-matching with short pulses and real beams, quasi-phase matching, second-harmonic and sum-frequency generation, parametric amplification and generation

e) Relaxation oscillations: dynamical behavior of rate equations after perturbation

f) Q-switching: active Q-switching and its theory based on rate equations, active Q-switching technologies, passive Q-switching and theory

g) Active modelocking: introduction to modelocking, frequency comb versus axial modes, theory for various regimes of laser operation, Haus master equation formalism

h) Passive modelocking: slow, fast and ideally fast saturable absorbers, semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM), designs of and materials for SESAMs, modelocking with slow absorber and dynamic gain saturation, modelocking with ideally fast saturable absorber, Kerr-lens modelocking, soliton modelocking, Q-switching instabilities in modelocked lasers, inverse saturable absorption

i) Pulse duration measurements: rf cables and electronics, fast photodiodes, linear system theory for microwave test systems, intensity and interferometric autocorrelations and their limitations, frequency-resolved optical gating, spectral phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction and more

j) Noise: microwave spectrum analyzer as laser diagnostics, amplitude noise and timing jitter of ultrafast lasers, lock-in detection

k) Ultrafast measurements: pump-probe scheme, transient absorption/differential transmission spectroscopy, four-wave mixing, optical gating and more

l) Frequency combs and carrier-envelope offset phase: measurement and stabilization of carrier-envelope offset phase (CEP), time and frequency domain applications of CEP-stabilized sources

m) High-harmonic generation and attosecond science: non-perturbative nonlinear optics / strong-field phenomena, high-harmonic generation (HHG), phase-matching in HHG, attosecond pulse generation, attosecond technology: detectors and diagnostics, attosecond metrology (streaking, RABBITT, transient absorption, attoclock), example experiments

n) Ultrafast THz science: generation and detection, physics in THz domain, weak-field and strong-field applications

o) Brief introduction to other hot topics: relativistic and ultra-high intensity ultrafast science, ultrafast electron sources, free-electron lasers, etc.
Lecture notesClass notes will be made available.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Basic knowledge of quantum electronics (e. g., 402-0275-00L Quantenelektronik).