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[en] A longstanding challenge for terahertz quantum-cascade (QC) lasers is achieving both a high power and high-quality beam pattern, this is due in part due to their use of sub-wavelength metallic waveguides. Recently, the vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser (VECSEL) concept was demonstrated for the first time in the terahertz range and for a QC-laser. This is enabled by the development of an amplifying metasurface reflector capable of coupling incident free-space THz radiation to the QC-laser material such that it is amplified and re-radiated. The THz metasurface QC-VECSEL initiates a new approach for making QC-lasers with high power and excellent beam pattern. Furthermore, the ability to engineer the electromagnetic phase, amplitude, and polarization response of the metasurface enables lasers with new functionality. Our article provides an overview of the fundamental theory, design considerations, and recent results for high-performance THz QC-VECSELs.
[en] Modern single molecule fluorescence microscopy offers new, highly quantitative ways of studying the systems biology of cells while keeping the cells healthy and alive in their natural environment. In this context, a quantum optical technique, photon antibunching, has found a small niche in the continuously growing applications of single molecule techniques to small molecular complexes. Here, we review some of the most recent applications of photon antibunching in biophotonics, and we provide a guide for how to conduct photon antibunching experiments at the single molecule level by applying techniques borrowed from time-correlated single photon counting. We provide a number of new examples for applications of photon antibunching to the study of multichromophoric molecules and small molecular complexes
[en] We discuss the demonstration of gain-saturated high repetition rate table-top soft x-ray lasers producing microwatt average powers at wavelengths ranging from 13.9 to 33 nm. The results were obtained heating a pre-created plasma with a picosecond optical laser pulse impinging at grazing incidence onto a pre-created plasma. This pumping geometry increases the energy deposition efficiency of the pump beam into the gain region, making it possible to saturate soft x-ray lasers in this wavelength range with a short pulse pump energy of only 1 J at 800 nm wavelength. Results corresponding to 5 Hz repetition rate operation of gain-saturated 14.7 nm Ni-like Pd and 32.6 nm line Ne-like Ti lasers pumped by a table-top Ti:sapphire laser are reported. We also discuss results obtained using a 1 ω 1054 nm pre-pulse and 2ω 527 nm short pulse from a Nd:glass pump laser. This work demonstrates the feasibility of producing compact high average power soft x-ray lasers for applications
[en] A hard X-ray streak camera capable of 2-ps time resolution is in operation at the Sector 7 beamline of the Advanced Photon Source. It is used for laser-pump, X-ray probe experiments using the Ti:Sapphire femtosecond laser system installed on the beamline. This streak camera, combined with standardized and prealigned experimental setups, can perform time-resolved liquid-phase absorption spectroscopy, reflectivity, and diffraction experiments.
[en] Silicon woodpile photonic crystals provide a base structure that can be used to build a three-dimensional dielectric waveguide system for high-gradient laser driven acceleration. A new woodpile waveguide design that hosts a phase synchronous, centrally confined accelerating mode is proposed. Comparing with previously discovered silicon woodpile accelerating modes, this mode shows advantages in terms of better electron beam loading and higher achievable acceleration gradient. Several traveling-wave coupler design schemes developed for multi-cell RF cavity accelerators are adapted to the woodpile power coupler design for this new accelerating mode. Design of a forward coupled, highly efficient silicon woodpile accelerator is achieved. Simulation shows high efficiency of over 75% of the drive laser power coupled to this fundamental accelerating mode, with less than 15% backward wave scattering. The estimated acceleration gradient, when the coupler structure is driven at the damage threshold fluence of silicon at its operating 1.506 μm wavelength, can reach 185 MV/m. Lastly, a 17-layer woodpile waveguide structure was successfully fabricated, and the measured bandgap is in excellent agreement with simulation
[en] A short pulse fiber injection laser for the Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) has been developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). This system produces 100 (micro)J pulses with 5 nm of bandwidth centered at 1053 nm. The pulses are stretched to 2.5 ns and have been recompressed to sub-ps pulse widths. A key feature of the system is that the pre-pulse power contrast ratio exceeds 80 dB. The system can also precisely adjust the final recompressed pulse width and timing and has been designed for reliable, hands free operation. The key challenges in constructing this system were control of the signal to noise ratio, dispersion management and managing the impact of self phase modulation on the chirped pulse
[en] We report the characteristics of a saturated high repetition rate Ni-like Mo laser at 18.9 nm. This table-top soft x-ray laser was pumped at 5 Hz repetition rate by 8 ps, 1 J optical laser pulses impinging at grazing incidence into a pre-created Mo plasma. The variation of the laser output intensity as a function of the grazing incidence angle of the main pump beam is reported. The maximum laser intensity was observed for an angle of 20 degrees, at which we measured a small signal gain of 65 cm-1 and a gain-length product gxl > 15. Spatial coherence measurements resulting from a Young's double slit interference experiment show the equivalent incoherent source diameter is about 11 (micro)m. The peak spectral brightness is estimated to be of the order of 1 x 1024 photons s-1 mm-2 mrad-2 within 0.01% spectral bandwidth. This type of practical, small scale, high repetition soft x-ray laser is of interest for many applications. This acts to reduce the sensitivity of burst properties to metallicity. Only the first anomalous burst in one model produces nuclei as heavy as A = 100. For the present choice of nuclear physics and accretion rates, other bursts and models make chiefly nuclei with A ∼ 64. The amount of carbon remaining after hydrogen-helium bursts is typically ∼< 1% by mass, and decreases further as the ashes are periodically heated by subsequent bursts. For M = 3.5 x 10-10 Mcircledot yr-1 and solar metallicity, bursts are ignited in a hydrogen-free helium layer. At the base of this layer, up to 90% of the helium has already burned to carbon prior to the unstable ignition of the helium shell. These helium-ignited bursts have (a) briefer, brighter light curves with shorter tails; (b) very rapid rise times (< 0.1 s); and (c) ashes lighter than the iron group
[en] Cascade pumping of type-I quantum well gain sections was utilized to increase output power and efficiency of GaSb-based diode lasers operating in spectral region from 1.9 to 3.3 μm. Coated devices with ~100-μm-wide aperture and 3-mm-long cavity demonstrated continuous wave (CW) output power of 1.96 W near 2 μm, 980 mW near 3 μm, 500 mW near 3.18 μm, and 360 mW near 3.25 μm at room temperature. The corresponding narrow ridge lasers with nearly diffraction limited beams operate in CW regime with tens of mW of output power up to 60 °C. Two step shallow/deep narrow/wide ridge waveguide devices showed lower threshold currents and higher slope efficiencies compared to single step narrow ridge lasers. Laterally coupled DFB lasers mounted epi-up generated above 10 mW of tunable single frequency CW power at 20 °C near 3.22 μm.