Fiber Lasers that Generate Ultrashort Light Pulses

Ultrafast optical techniques have revolutionized science and technology, allowing for direct observation of the fastest natural processes with picosecond or femtosecond pulses, and even attosecond time resolution measurements. The use of ultrafast lasers is being explored in areas with broader societal impact such as manufacturing and health care. Fiber lasers offer practical advantages for continuous-wave lasers but generating high peak power pulses remains challenging due to strong nonlinear effects. While others are seeking solutions to reduce nonlinearity (with the famous example technique of chirped pulse amplification), our group aims to control it. Several effects with nonlinearity being required have been observed, such as gain-managed nonlinear amplification for sub-40-fs pulse generation and optical parametric amplification for femtosecond pulse generation at various exotic wavelengths. Our work spans the spectrum from analytic theory to experimental laser construction, with the aim of designing real working lasers that emit shorter pulses, higher powers, new colors, and more. We make contributions to the world by pushing the boundaries of laser science and intend to help scientists who are, for example, trying to do sub-cellular imaging deep in biological tissue.