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Laser physics: A new home for optical solitons

 

Physicists based at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics have generated dissipative solitons in passive, free-space resonators.

Optical solitons are – due to their self-stabilizing properties – an indispensable component of laser technology, especially in the investigation of quantum optics and ultrafast dynamics. Under conditions that result in the dispersion of all other waveforms, a soliton will continue undisturbed on its solitary way, without changing its shape or velocity in the slightest. A team led by Ferenc Krausz, Head of the Institute of Experimental Physics at LMU Munich and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics has now generated optical solitons in passive free-space resonators for the first time. The technique allows one to compress laser pulses while increasing their peak power, opening up new applications for free-space enhancement cavities in the exploration of ultrafast dynamics and in precision spectroscopy. The results are published in Nature Photonics.

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