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Novel chirped pulses defy 'conventional wisdom'

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fairly difficult
The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics was shared by researchers who pioneered a technique to create ultrashort, yet extremely high-energy laser pulses at the University of Rochester.
An illustration of the optical fiber Kerr resonator, which Rochester researchers used with a spectral filter to create highly chirped laser pulses. The rainbow pattern in the foreground shows how the colors of a chirped laser pulse are separated in time. Credit: University of Rochester / Michael Osadciw

Now researchers at the University's Institute of Optics have produced those same high-powered pulses—known as chirped pulses—in a way that works even with relatively low-quality, inexpensive equipment. The new work could pave the way for:

Better high-capacity telecommunication systems

Improved astrophysical calibrations used to find exoplanets

Even more accurate atomic clocks

Precise devices for measuring chemical contaminants in the atmosphere

In a paper in Optica, the researchers describe the first demonstration of highly chirped pulses created by a using a spectral filter in a Kerr resonator—a type of simple optical cavity that operates without amplification. These cavities have stirred wide interest among researchers because they can support "a wealth of complicated behaviors including useful broadband bursts of light," says coauthor William Renninger,…
Science X staff
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