Nobel-winning physics key to ultra-fast laser research

phys.org | 10/4/2018 | Staff
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The technique for generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses developed by the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics winners, Professor Gérard Mourou and Dr. Donna Strickland, provides the basis for important scientific approaches used in Swinburne's research.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Future Low Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET) Chief Investigator at Swinburne, Associate Professor Jeff Davis, uses laser pulses just a few quadrillionths of a second in duration to investigate novel, complex materials that could be used in future low-energy electronics.

Field - Study - 'femtosecond - Spectroscopy - Femtosecond

The field of study is ultrafast 'femtosecond' spectroscopy – a femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second.

"These extremely short-duration pulses are necessary to measure the evolution of sub-atomic particles such as electrons," explains Associate Professor Davis.

Something - Starter - Gun - Things - Something

"When you want to measure how fast something is moving, you need a starter's gun to set things going and something to stop the clock.

"In a 100 metre race, this is straightforward because the time taken to run 100 metres is slow compared with how fast you can push the buttons on a stopwatch.

Evolution - Electrons - Properties - State - Femtoseconds

"But when you want to measure the precise evolution of electrons, which can change their properties or their state in femtoseconds, you need to be able to start and stop the clock much, much faster. We use femtosecond laser pulses to achieve this."

Swinburne has the highest concentration of ultrafast laser systems in the southern hemisphere, many relying on the technique developed by Dr. Strickland and Professor Mourou. In fact, Swinburne was the first lab in Australia to install one of these amplified laser systems, in 1998, to provide a fundamental understanding of novel materials.

Development - Amplification - CPA - Professor - Mourou

The development of chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) by Professor Mourou and Dr. Strickland has enabled scientific discoveries in a number of fields.

CPA allows high-energy pulses to be produced every microsecond – a million pulses per second – which means that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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