High-brightness ultrafast laser sources enabled by quadratic nonlinear devices


Ultrashort pulsed lasers enable many important applications such as spectroscopy, materials processing, and laser ranging. The stringent demands of these applications has motivated continued advancement of the achievable laser performance. Yet the available toolset to accomplish this in conventional optical systems, which are based on laser population inversion and third-order nonlinear effects, is limited. In this talk I will discuss how, by exploiting second-order nonlinear-optical devices, we have overcome various challenges that limit conventional systems. For example, these devices enable greater flexibility for nonlinearity management intracavity, which in one configuration enabled very high repetition rate (>10 GHz) femtosecond lasers. Second-order nonlinear devices also enable frequency conversion to challenging wavelength regions, such as the molecular fingerprint region which is critical for spectroscopy. I will present selected results from our frequency conversion work, and give a perspective on future directions towards low-cost, high-speed lasers for applied spectroscopy.