May 2003

Free-Electron Lasers Push Into New Frontiers

The promise of high power and short wavelengths has tantalized scientists since the early days of free electron lasers (FELs). Developments in accelerator technologies and discoveries about the physics of FELs have allowed researchers to push performance into new frontiers.

Excimer Lasers at 30 Years

Thanks to research and development over the course of three decades, the excimer has become the laser of choice for many applications in the ultraviolet spectral region, including vision correction surgery and the photolithographic production of computer chips.

Bright Storage of Light

Although for many years scientists have been aware of the ease with which optical images can be stored in transparent media, the idea of storing raw energy in optical form is quite new. The author describes the direct generation of stationary light by electrical means and some implications for dynamic electromagnetic energy storage.

Stitching Interferometry: A Flexible Solution for Surface Metrology

The fabrication of large high-quality optics continues to be a challenge, in part because of the difficulty of measuring extensive surface areas. One alternative is to measure many subapertures of the surface and “stitch” the results together to synthesize a full aperture map.

Photonic Device Fabrication With Femtosecond Laser Oscillators

With Femtosecond Laser Oscillators High-repetition-rate femtosecond laser oscillators are powerful tools for device fabrication. Today, waveguides can be written at speeds much higher than those that are possible using femtosecond amplifiers.

Ever Higher Power From Mode-Locked Lasers

Passive mode locking was first used to generate ultrashort pulses in the mid-1960s. Today, mode locked lasers can generate pulses on the order of 5 fs at 60 W, a level of performance that allows researchers to target new applications.

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