A Brief Overview of Ultraintense Light/Matter Interactions in the Longwave Infrared


Fri, 18 Nov 2022, 03:00 pm - 04:00 pm
Natural Science Bldg. 112 - Louisville, KY
Current Colloquia, Fall 2022
David Bloom
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Crane Division


Since the invention of the "chirped pulse amplifier" (CPA) in 1984 by Mourou and Strickland, which ultimately won them the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, the field of ultrafast nonlinear optics has been a treasure trove of beautiful and broadly applicable scientific inquiry. Whether you consider biology (two-photon excitation microscopy), manufacturing (laser micromachining), chemistry (attosecond-scale electron dynamics), or even x-ray astronomy (Ultrafast laser stress figuring) it is clear that the development of stable, high peak-power, ultrashort pulse lasers has had a revolutionary impact on almost every major scientific discipline. Despite its incredible effect up to this point, the field is still overflowing with unsolved problems and previously unexplored/explained phenomena. One such subfield is that of ultraintense light/matter interactions, which was integral to the development of the field of attosecond science. Due to limitations imposed by laser architecture, much of the spectrum remains relatively unexplored and it is in an effort to fill this gap that our team has been working to design and construct a 1TW, wavelength tunable, longwave infrared ultrashort pulse laser. (LWIR USPL). Many interesting effects may be interrogated with such a LWIR USPL due to favorable scaling of physical laws as a function of wavelength. Additionally, there is significant interest within the fields of remote sensing and directed-energy for the development of such a system due to the atmospheric transmission window found in the LWIR and the optical absorption of many atmospheric molecule species. Building a USPL in the thermal spectrum poses unique scientific and engineering challenges which range from the mundane (alignment) to the fascinating (pulse characterization).


Natural Science Bldg. 112