The scientists made a breakthrough with laser pulses of one quadrillionth of a second

A team of researchers from the Universities of Bayreuth and Constance have discovered that they can control the intervals between ultrashort flashes of light a quadrillionth of a second, press release reveals.

Lightning flashes shorter than a quadrillion a second are also known as femtosecond pulses. They are used for the study of energy materials, as well as for 3D production and precision scalpels in medicine for eye and heart surgery, among other applications that require incredible precision.

“Connected” laser beams

When the laser produces ultrashort light rays, it often produces them in pairs. In a similar way to bonded atoms in a molecule, these pulses are “bonded” and show short time intervals with remarkable stability.

In an interview s Popular science,, author of the study Georg Herink said the University of Bayreuth “Many people who work with these lasers know this is happening, but they think it may be a strange curiosity. Companies try to avoid this mode of operation. They just want to have a clear pulse. “

However, the team of German scientists aimed to control the connection to learn more about the phenomena. To do this, they built a ring of optical glass fibers such as those used to provide high-speed Internet connections. Then they began firing pulses of laser light through the ring into orbits. Using advanced high-resolution real-time spectroscopy, the researchers tracked the intervals in two connected real-time flashes in hundreds of orbits.

Unraveling the mystery of femtosecond pulses

In their findings published in the diary OPTICAL, scientists from Bayreuth and Constance found that they could control the connection. By reducing the power of the laser for a short period of time, they were able to break the connection between the two pulses. By turning it back on at some point, they could reconnect the pulses at different times. According to the co-author, Prof. Dr. Alfred Leitenstorfer of the University of Konstanz, “based on our new discoveries, we can look forward to the realization of multilateral technological applications.”

Because femtosecond pulses are not fully understood, the study adds knowledge to an area that may have applications in the future of ultrafast computing. In 2017, for example, the University of Michigan dropped the paper on the applications of ultrashort light pulses for fast “light” computers.

The next step, say Henrik and his team, is to develop a system that allows them to produce series of short laser pulses with unprecedented precision for further study of the phenomenon. Although the team has not identified specific practical applications for which their new research could be used, they say that in the long run this could help the scientific community develop better and more accurate lasers for a huge number of applications.

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