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Simpler Interferometer Can Fine Tune Even The Quickest Pulses Of Light

If you want to get the greatest benefit from a beam of light—whether to detect a distant planet or remedy an aberration in the human eye—you need to be able to measure its beam front information.

Now a University of Rochester research team has devised a much simpler way to measure beams of light— even powerful, superfast pulsed laser beams that require very complicated devices to characterize their properties.

The new device will give scientists an unprecedented ability to fine tune even the quickest pulses of light for a host of applications, says Chunlei Guo, professor of optics, who has used femtosecond pulsed laser beams to treat metal surfaces in remarkable ways. And it could render traditional instruments for measuring light beams obsolete.

“This is a revolutionary step forward,” says Guo. “In the past we’ve had to characterize light beams with very complicated, cumbersome interferometric devices, but now we can do it with just one optical cube. It is super compact, super reliable, and super robust.”

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