Physics and unified technology platform of intense ultrafast optics for avionics, medicine and nanophotonics.
Technology of optical fibers and fiber components for ultrafast applications.
Technology of power scaling of ultrafast lasers using high-power optical amplifiers.
Technology of THz emitters using semiconductor disk lasers and effect of modulation instability.
All these technologies are used to develop all-fiber sub-picosecond laser systems with ultra-high peak power. The applications of the developed pulsed systems in medicine, avionics, communications, material processing are investigated.
The invention of the laser triggered a non-stop development of principally new types of devices, engineering systems and innovative techniques with an enormous range of scientific and technological applications and corresponding impact on society from the Internet to medical laser applications. Nowadays, lasers have become ubiquitous devices equally important in fundamental science, engineering technologies and in a range of practical applications. In the last decade there has been a revolutionary progress in laser science fuelled by advances in high-power systems, ultra-short pulse lasers and oscillators with high pulse energy. The progress was driven by a variety of new important applications that these advanced laser systems can open-up. This expansion has been facilitated by continuous advances in material science, achievements in technology and by the improvement in our understanding of the fundamental laser principles and physical effects underlying the operation and performance of new types of lasers. In particular, laser designs based on new physical concepts offer opportunities for creating systems with non-incremental changes of performance characteristics leading to disruptive progress in middle and long term prospects.
Our current project aims for a breakthrough in laser science and technology through development of a radically new concept of laser employing special optical fibers with key parameters varying along the fiber length. On this way fiber laser systems with record performance characteristics have been designed and employed for several applications in material processing, ranging sensing and medicine.
Success of the project is predetermined by particular scientific and technical contributions made by our team to the following areas:
- advanced understanding of light interaction in optical fibers with special properties
- novel light sources with tailorable temporal, spectral, and statistical characteristics
- new fiber materials and structures with enhanced functionality
- urgent photonic applications
Here we highlight the main scientific achievements:
- Employing a number of special fibres all-fiber sub-picosecond systems have been demonstrated for operation at 1.06 µm and 1.55 µm achieving a peak power up to 1MW.
- New universal model describing chirped pulse propagation in longitudinally non-uniform fibers taking into account effects of modulation instability, cross-phase modulation and Raman scattering has been developed and resulted in the designer software allowing an accurate analysis of pulse temporal dynamics (soliton collapse, bound-states of high energy solitons) as well as nonlinear spectral compression in fibers of different geometry.
- New concept of soliton management in fibers with variable dispersion has been proposed and applied for design of new photonic devices:
- optical pulse compressors
- pulse train generators with repetition rates higher 100 GHz
- broadband supercontinuum sources covering an octave in spectrum domain
New master oscillator - power amplifier system based on erbium-doped fibers comprising all these elements has been built and tested demonstrating an advance of the developed concept.
- Ultrafast pulse train generators based on passively mode-locked semiconductor disk lasers has been demonstrated and tested for operation with output power above 100 mW.
- A technology for fabrication of longitudinally non-uniform active and passive optical fibers with high Brillouin threshold has been elaborated. The designer software has been developed to control the fabrication process.
- High power narrow bandwidth laser generator based on a tapered fiber has been designed and applied for the LIDAR system providing the advanced performance characteristics:
- optical linewidth – < 6 kHz,
- pulse energy – above 3 µJ,
- pulse duration – 10-100 ns
- A family of fiber lasers for bio-medical applications has been offered and applied to study in vivo the effect of laser radiation on biological specimens:
- 1264-1270 nm sub-picosecond laser with peak power up to 25 kW
- Er-Ho doped fiber laser with pulse duration of 1-10 ps and peak power up to 10 kW
- picosecond fiber laser tunable over spectrum range from 1550 to 2100 nm
- picosecond Ho-doped fiber laser system with peak power over 10 kW
- The picosecond laser system based on ytterbium-doped fiber has been tested for operation with peak power higher than 1 MW and applied for nanostructuring of metal and semiconductor surfaces. In particular, inscription of periodic structures with sub-wavelength spatial resolution has been demonstrated.
In next few years, the proposed concept and the results of the project have to trigger technological breakthroughs in many areas of science and engineering and will lead to particularly strong impact on optical fiber communications, fiber sensing and microwave photonics.
Among the tasks addressed to the next years of the project are:
- Extension of the developed concept to new fiber materials, including Bi-doped, Tm-doped optical fibers, chalcogenide fibers, photonic crystal fibers, and endlessly single mode fibers providing advanced diversity of the generation wavelength (in the range covering 1 - 2.5 µm) and controllable nonlinearity of light-matter interaction
- Extension of the developed concept to plasmon-polariton dynamics providing generation, amplification and control of the plasmon-polariton waves through light-matter interaction in layered structures. The idea of plasmon wave amplification by the drift currents and electronic beams will be also developed.
- Design and application of new laser sources for range sensing and free-space communication. In particular, lasers operating at ~2.1 µm will be developed and applied for this concern.
- Design and application of new laser sources for in vivo bio-medical experiments. In particular, the effects of laser radiation at new wavelengths on an oxidant stress in cancer cells will be evaluated for most efficient cancer treatment.
- Harnessing of stimulated Brillouin scattering in special fibers for recording of dynamical Brillouin gratings with advanced performance characteristics. Studies and design of narrow-band Brillouin laser sources (<1kHz) based on dynamical Brillouin gratings.
- Application of the developed narrow-band Brillouin lasers for distributed fiber sensing, elaborating advanced functionality and low-cost solutions for optical sensors used in oil and nuclear industries, building construction, municipal services.
- Development of nonlinear optical circuits realizing conversion of CW laser radiation into ultra-fast pulse trains (~1 THz and higher). The effects of modulation instability and four-wave-mixing taking place in circuits comprising fiber lasers, disc lasers and surface plasmonic devices (nano-antennas) will be implemented for this purpose. Applications of such generators for telecommunication, metrology and security systems will be considered.
- Design and application of new photonic devices for microwave photonics - systems of generation, transmission and analysis of the microwave signals. In particular, ultra-narrow-band RF generators operating at GHz - THz will be designed and tested. Studies of dynamical Brillouin gratings will result in design of cost-effective Instantaneous Frequency Measurement (IFM) system (widely tunable narrow-band RF filters) that is of critical importance for RF signal processing.
In general, the scientific problems considered in the project are related to technologies that are promising for future optoelectronic designers all over the world. The integration of the developed circuits will allow the development of competitive devices demanded by security sector, oil industry, nuclear power industry, telecommunications, biochemistry and medicine.