Femtosecond laser pulses are extremely powerful tools in various applications ranging from medicine to manufacturing to astronomy. Using a time lens, researchers created a high-performance on-chip pulse source. The technology has the potential to enable new applications in quantum and optical computing, astronomy, optical communications, and other fields.
Microfabrication techniques, similar to those used to make computer chips, are used to create the chips. They promise lower cost and size while improving performance and reliability.
Traditional lenses, such as contact lenses or those found in magnifying glasses and microscopes, bend light rays from different directions by changing their phase so that they collide at the same point in space — the focal point.
The device generates femtosecond laser pulses by utilizing a series of optical waveguides, couplers, modulators, and optical grating on the lithium niobate platform.
They created a laser capable of producing 520 femtosecond bursts of light. The device is highly tunable, integrated on a 2cm by 4mm chip, and consumes far less power than tabletop products.
Integrated photonics improves both energy consumption and size at the same time. The team intends to investigate some applications for both the laser and the time lens technology. These include telescope lensing systems, ultrafast signal processing, and quantum networking.
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