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Graduate student, Dat Nguyen wins Graduate Research Forum

Dat Nguyen won the Graduate Research Forum award in the category of Mathematics, Optics and Physical Sciences at UCF, 2013, for his poster entitled "A Dynamic Feedback Pulse Shaping Mechanism for High Power Chirped Pulse Amplification Laser Systems."

The Graduate Research Forum features poster displays representing UCF's diverse colleges and disciplines. The Research Forum is an opportunity for students to showcase their research and creative projects and to receive valuable feedback from faculty judges. Awards for best poster in each category are given and all participants receive recognition.

Chirped pulse amplification (CPA) systems are one of the key components in telecommunication systems as well as applications such as laser radar technology and non-thermal ablation that require high power ultrafast sources. That high energy-per-pulse is not directly available from lasers, and consequently the higher pulse peak power regime is accessed via external amplification, specifically chirped pulse amplification. Chirped pulse amplification is currently the state of the art laser technology, which is being employed by all the highest power lasers with output power greater than 100 terawatts.

Optical pulses with parabolic temporal intensity profile have been shown to be especially suitable for CPA systems, due to their attractive features such as resistance to optical wave breaking, ability to retain their intensity profile during propagation in gain media, and enhanced linearity in chirp. Their linear chirp also allows efficient and high quality pulse compression to achieve high peak power.

In this research, we proposed and demonstrated a dynamic feedback mechanism to realize high power pulses that retains their parabolic shape while exhibiting clean, high contrast, sub-picosecond transform-limited pulses in CPA systems. This method integrates the well-known technique of frequency-resolved optical gating with the liquid crystal on silicon technology, to combine spectral phase modulation with parabolic optical intensity shaping, resulting in 5 times increase in peak power, and 15 dB temporal pedestal suppression. This approach is highly efficient, reliable, versatile, can be applied to any existing CPA systems, and therefore will be of significance in many applications utilizing high power laser pulses.

Mentor: Peter Delfyett, PhD

Posted Monday, April 15, 2013

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