These Scientists Have Made A New Breakthrough In Controlling Laser Pulses That Last A Quadrillionth of a Second

It was recently disclosed in a press release that the researchers from the Universities of Bayreuth and Constance have found a way to control intervals between ultrashort light flashes of a quadrillionth of a second.

They are called femtosecond pulses and are used for studying energy materials along with 3D manufacturing, and precision scalpels in medicine for eye and heart surgery.

In an interview with Popular Science, study author Georg Herink from Bayreuth University said “many people who work with these lasers know that this happens, but they thought it might be a strange curiosity. Companies try to avoid this operation mode. They just want to have a single clean pulse.”

Impression of a laser. Shutterstock

In order to learn more, the German scientists made a ring out of optical glass fibers and started shooting pulses of laser light through the ring in orbits. They have used advanced high-resolution real-time spectroscopy to track the intervals in two coupled flashes in real-time over hundreds of orbits.

In the journal Optica, the scientists from Bayreuth and Constance stated that they could control the coupling. By reducing the laser’s power for a short time period, they were able to break the bond between the two pulses. They were able to re-link the pulses with a different time interval. The co-author, Prof. Dr. Alfred Leitenstorfer from the University of Constance said, “based on our new findings, we can look forward to the realization of versatile technological applications.” 

Technology will only go forward from here and then there will be a system developed that lets them produce sequences of short laser pulses with unprecedented precision to further study the phenomenon. In the long run, this will help the scientists to develop better, more precise lasers for a vast number of applications.

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