Home

Group picnic 2015

Corning

Fiber green

Supercontinuum

Group bowling

Imaging - Gland

Our Research

We are currently focused on nonlinear wave phenomena in optical fibers. In one project, we develop fiber lasers that generate ultrashort light pulses. In another, we investigate nonlinear wave propagation in multimode fibers. See below for our most recent publications.

Spatiotemporal mode-locking in multimode fiber lasers

Spatiotemporal mode-locking in multimode fiber lasers

L.G. Wright, D.N. Christodoulides, and F.W. Wise (2017) “Spatiotemporal mode-locking in multimode fiber lasers,” Science 358 (6359), 94-97.

Unlike a conventional single-mode, 'one-dimensional' laser, the frequencies of a multimode, multidimensional laser are ordinarily very complicated (figure below, top left, where different colors correspond to different spatial modes). However, we showed that, for a properly designed laser (bottom), the laser's frequencies would adjust automatically into an organized, synchronized pattern (figure top right), corresponding to the emission of a 3D, multimode laser pulse at regular intervals. Pulses from this laser might eventually allow very sophisticated light-matter interactions, especially with complex molecules (different modes of the laser may interact with different 'modes', specific transitions, of molecules or other matter). We have some moderately crazy ideas to realize PW or even EW (exawatt) lasers with this approach.

Simple depiction of spatiotemporal mode-locking

Megawatt peak power from a Mamyshev oscillator

Megawatt peak power from a Mamyshev oscillator

Zhanwei Liu, Zachary M. Ziegler, Logan G. Wright, and Frank W. Wise. “Megawatt peak power from a Mamyshev oscillator” Optica, Vol. 4, Issue 6, pp. 649-654 (2017).

Historically, it has been really tough to make an ultrafast fiber laser that is both environmentally stable and that has good performance (i.e., it has similar performance as a Ti:sapphire oscillator). Recently, several groups have realized that a pair of spectral filters, each offset from the center of the laser gain spectrum, can be used as an effective saturable absorber. An intense pulse will experience nonlinear spectral broadening within fiber in between the filters, and can oscillate stably in a ring cavity formed in this way - a laser we call a 'Mamyshev oscillator' (see figure). Low-intensity pulses, or continuous-wave lasing, are meanwhile strongly attenuated. This mechanism, first proposed by Pavel Mamyshev for signal regeneration in telecommunications, is fully compatible with environmentally-stable laser designs. In this paper, we show that the Mamyshev oscillator can, when combined with the self-similar evolution of parabolic pulses, actually support extraordinary performance. Our initial experiments already show 10 times higher peak power than the previous state-of-the-art, and we are optimistic about further improvements.

Schematic of the demonstrated system.

High-power femtosecond pulses without a modelocked laser

High-power femtosecond pulses without a modelocked laser

Walter Fu, Logan G. Wright, and Frank W. Wise. “High-power femtosecond pulses without a modelocked laser” Optica, Vol. 4, Issue 7, pp. 831-834 (2017).

Modelocked lasers have long been a mainstay of ultrafast optics. However, they face ongoing challenges regarding long-term reliability, and can only emit pulses at regular intervals. Here, we present an alternative approach by seeding a fiber amplifier with a gain-switched diode. Gain-switched diodes emit pulses that are much longer and less coherent than those from modelocked oscillators. We address these issues using fiber nonlinearities: a Mamyshev regenerator isolates a coherent component of the pulse, and subsequent parabolic amplification allows the pulses to be compressed to 140 fs with 13 MW of peak power. Starting with a gain-switched diode means our system is highly robust and can in principle be electronically triggered in arbitrary pulse patterns. This flexibility may facilitate machining or microscopy sources (where pulses must be synchronized to scanning optics) or enable new types of functional neuroimaging (where specific neurons must be illuminated without saturating an entire sample).

Schematic of the demonstrated system.

Self-similar pulse evolution in a fiber laser with a comb-like dispersion-decreasing fiber

Self-similar pulse evolution in a fiber laser with a comb-like dispersion-decreasing fiber

Yuxing Tang, Zhanwei Liu, Walter Fu, and Frank W. Wise. “Self-similar pulse evolution in a fiber laser with a comb-like dispersion-decreasing fiber” Optics Letters, Vol. 41, Issue 10, pp. 2290-2293 (2016).

We demonstrate an erbium fiber laser with self-similar pulse evolution inside a comb-like dispersion-decreasing fiber (DDF), which has the potential of generating nJ-level few-cycle pulses directly from a fiber oscillator. A passive DDF is formally equivalent to a fiber with constant gain, and can thus support self-similar pulse evolution but without any bandwidth limitation. Considering the challenges to fabrication of DDF, we try to imitate an ideal DDF with a comb-like DDF based on segments of ordinary fibers, which offers major practical advantages. The laser generates 1.3 nJ pulses with parabolic shapes and linear chirps, which can be dechirped to 37 fs. This constitutes a 4-fold increase in pulse energy compared to previous reports of this pulse duration.
1

Generation of 8  nJ pulses from a normal-dispersion thulium fiber laser

Generation of 8  nJ pulses from a normal-dispersion thulium fiber laser

Yuxing Tang, Andy Chong, and Frank W. Wise. “Generation of 8  nJ pulses from a normal-dispersion thulium fiber laser” Optics Letters, Vol. 40, Issue 10, pp. 2361-2364 (2015).

There is great interest in development of better short-pulse lasers in the 2-5 μm region. We show the first thulium-doped fiber laser at 2 μm to reap the performance benefits of pulse propagation at normal dispersion. Ultra-high numerical-aperture fibers provide normal dispersion and are employed to shift the cavity dispersion to the normal regime. A laser that exhibits elements of self-similar pulse evolution generates 8-nJ and 130-fs pulses, which corresponds to 4 times the highest peak power achieved previously by a Tm fiber laser.
3

Spatiotemporal dynamics of multimode optical solitons

Spatiotemporal dynamics of multimode optical solitons

L. G. Wright, W. H. Renninger, D. N. Christodoulides, and F. W. Wise. "Spatiotemporal dynamics of multimode optical solitons". Opt. Express 22, 3492-3506 (2015).

We launch pulses into multimode fiber, exciting multiple spatial modes. We show how nonlinear interactions between the modes give rise to a multimode soliton. A multimode soliton is a non-dispersing wavepacket that contains several distinct spatial mode components, and propagates through the fiber without changing its shape due to a balance between nonlinear and linear effects. We observe spatiotemporal soliton fission - the disintegration of an optical pulse into distinct multimode soliton components with different spatiotemporal properties. Lastly, we observe the effect of stimulated Raman scattering on multimode solitons. This causes them to shift to longer wavelengths, while maintaining their multimode soliton characteristics.

ststmms
Multimode fiber acts as an intermediate-dimensional system. As the size of the fiber becomes infinite, optical dynamics are (3+1)-D (space+time). Meanwhile, as the fiber becomes small it becomes single mode, so that optical dynamics can be described using only (1+1) dimensions. Analytically, stable spatiotemporal solitons are expected for some region (blue) between 1 and 3 spatial dimensions. It is in this regime that multimode solitons are expected.

Ultrafast fiber lasers based on self-similar pulse evolution: a review of current progress

Ultrafast fiber lasers based on self-similar pulse evolution: a review of current progress

A. Chong, L. G. Wright and F. W. Wise "Ultrafast fiber lasers based on self-similar pulse evolution: a review of current progress " Rep. Prog. Phys. 78, 113901 (2015).
We summarize the state of research on lasers based on self-similar pulse evolutions, including passive similariton, amplifier similariton, and others. Self-similar fiber lasers are conceptually different from other kinds of short-pulse lasers. This distinction allows for exciting new laser design options.

selfsimilarrev
Characteristic steady-state round trip evolutions of the pulse chirp for different mode-locking regimes. Solid lines indicate the chirp of the pulse, while dashed lines indicate the local dispersion of the cavity. In the highlighted plot, the lines show the difference of the pulse from a parabolic pulse.

Ultrabroadband Dispersive Radiation by Spatiotemporal Oscillation of Multimode Waves

Ultrabroadband Dispersive Radiation by Spatiotemporal Oscillation of Multimode Waves

L. G. Wright, S. Wabnitz, D. N. Christodoulides, F. W. Wise "Ultrabroadband Dispersive Radiation by Spatiotemporal Oscillation of Multimode Waves " Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 223902 (2015). We show that intense pulses in multimode fiber oscillate in space and time, and that this creates resonant radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum. This work provides a route to tunable sources of ultrashort pulses from IR to ultraviolet and beyond. Dreaming, this work could lead to a fiber-format alternative to the free-electron laser.
summary figure 1

The resonant dispersive radiation is diffracted off a grating onto a piece of white paper.

 

Recent News:

8/3/2017 – Do you want to do fast simulations of pulse propagation in multimode fiber? Just use our code, created in collaboration with Pavel Lushnikov from the University of New Mexico.

7/21/2017 – Check out the latest issue of Cornell Engineering Magazine for an article on undergraduate research opportunities, starring our own Zack Ziegler! Meanwhile, Frank returns from giving an invited lecture at  International Symposium on Ultrafast Photonics Technologies at Southampton and three talks at NLO in Hawaii.

6/12/2017 – Congratulations to Yuxing Tang, who will soon start his new job as an associate at Wells Fargo, and Zhanwei Liu, who will do the same at CoAdna Photonics! Yuxing recently attended convocation, and is the 27th PhD student to graduate from the Wise group.