Femtosecond Technology in the '80s

R. L. Fork

The technology for producing femtosecond optical pulses was first realized in 1981 and improved to produce pulse durations as short as 6 fs by the end of the decade. In addition to the rapid reduction in pulse duration and close approach to the fundamental limits on optical pulse duration, the pulses were produced in highly stable pulse trains at repetition rates as large as 10 kHz. The direct observation of a broad range of previously inaccessible time dependent phenomena made possible by this progress has stimulated research in a number of fields. This work culminates some 25 years of progress that has resulted in reducing the duration of optical pulses by a factor of more than 100,000.

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