Repairs to a femtosecond laser system essential for nonlinear optical studies

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science


Much of the research of the Nonlinear Optics Group at Heriot-Watt University is based around a single femtosecond laser system. This laser system consists of a regenerative amplifier that is seeded by a mode-locked femtosecond and pumped by a Q-switched nanosecond laser (Merlin). The output of this amplifier is used to pump an optical parametric amplifier that, via several nonlinear conversion processes, provides access to femtosecond radiation from 400-3200 nm. The Merlin pump laser is an intra-cavity doubled Nd: YLF proving up to 10W of output average power at 527 nm. This laser was installed in 1998 (GR/L62542), is flash lamp pumped and is now an obsolete model. It is this pump laser that is now in need of replacement. In addition, the regenerative amplifier is very unstable and requires replacement of optical components e.g. Pockel's cell and compressor grating that have both become lossy over the past 9 years due to the deterioration of these two key optical components. The successful completion of two EPSRC funded grants and a further three projects involving DTA PhD students are dependent on the continued operation of this laser system. Two postdoctoral research associates regularly use this system as well as various visiting researchers. Our request is for funds to enable us to repair the laser system and return it to optimum specifications. The research described in this proposal will result in the development of compact lasers which are essential for sensing and medical applications as well as the fundamental understanding of the new semiconductor devices which underpin modern photonics for telecom, displays and signal processing.


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Description Supercintinuum generation in the mid-infrared. Nonlinear optical studies in Chalcogenides and Graphene.
Exploitation Route These studies are very important for developing future sensors and mode locked lasers.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

Description Supercontinuum sources were developed for the mid-infrared part of the spectrum. Mid-infrared supercontinuum is useful for sensing.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment