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Route to Low-cost, High-energy, and Tunable Femtosecond Laser Technology Based on Diode-Pumped Cr:Colquiriites (fs Cr:Colquiriites)
Start date: Sep 1, 2012, End date: Aug 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Ultrafast laser technology is an active research field focusing on the development of advanced, high-performance femtosecond lasers in different wavelength regions for diverse applications in science and engineering. The venerable Ti:Sapphire lasers and amplifiers have always been the workhorse of ultrafast technology; however, they are quite bulky, inefficient and expensive, mainly due to lack of suitable pump diodes at the green region of spectrum. The cost and complexity of fs Ti:Sapphire sources are significant hurdles to its widespread adoption, slowing down progress in several important areas of research. We propose to develop a new generation of compact, ultra low-cost, highly efficient, and broadly tunable femtosecond technology based on diode pumped Cr:Colquiriite lasers and amplifiers. The proposed system will significantly reduce the complexity in pumping geometry of Cr:Colquiriites by using recently available high brightness tapered diode lasers. We propose to use multipass-cavity, cavity dumping, and regenerative amplification techniques to scale up pulse energies from Cr:Colquiriite systems to 350 uJ level (two orders of magnitude improvement over the previous results). We propose to use novel oxidized broadband saturable absorber mirrors to extent the tuning range of femtosecond Cr:Colquiriite laser oscillators to 750-1000 um region. Furthermore, using sum frequency generation and optical parametric oscillation/amplification, we will extend tunability of the femtosecond Cr:Colquiriite sources into the near infrared (1-3 um), visible (375-750 nm) and blue to UV (190-330 nm) regions of the spectrum. Lastly, we will develop compact, high repetition rate (5-20 GHz) Cr:Colquiriite oscillators and investigate their usability in optical metrology. If we can succeed, the proposed developments will help wider spread use of low-cost femtosecond technology, which we hope to accelerate and transform fundamental research in several important areas of science.

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