Lasers are a staple in our day-to-day lives and used in acne treatment, fingerprint detection, dentistry, printing, and a variety of other areas.
Researchers continue to find new applications for the devices, and in the future, they might be used in explosive identification, underwater sensing, and various high power communications applications.
A Boston University team in the Nanostructured Fibers and Nonlinear Optics lab, led by Associate Professor Siddharth Ramachandran (ECE), is hoping to help make that vision a reality by developing new high power fiber laser sources at frequencies not achievable by current means.
In a recent paper by Electrical & Computer Engineering Ph.D. students, Jeffrey Demas and Boyin Tai; postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Paul Steinvurzel; Yuhao Chen (MS ’13); and Ramachandran, the team described how they were able to generate new wavelengths by pumping a specially designed fiber with a higher order, bull’s-eye-shaped mode.
“The research itself is very visually dynamic due to the extent of the visible frequencies we generated,” said Demas. “I think on a deeper level, it’s also interesting because we were able to take a chaotic process in a system that allows dozens of intermodal interactions and simplify it to a well-understood pattern.”
Demas presented the paper, “Two Octaves of Frequency Generation by Cascaded Intermodal Nonlinear Mixing in Solid Optical Fiber,” during the 2013 Maiman Student Paper Competition. This contest takes place annually at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) and recognizes student innovation, research excellence and presentation skills in the areas of laser technology and electro-optics.
“I am delighted to note that several scientists in the field approached me at CLEO to comment on the excellent presentation Jeff made at the conference,” said Ramachandran.
The panel of judges, impressed by the work, awarded Demas honorable mention, which puts his paper in the top 3 out of more than 1000 student papers submitted to the conference.
“I was, and still am, incredibly honored and surprised,” said Demas. “This project has been incredibly stimulating and rewarding for me personally, so it was very nice to see that others were interested as well.”
Additionally, Ph.D. student, Patrick Gregg (ECE), was named a semi-finalist for his paper, “Stable Transmission of 12 OAM States in Air-Core Fiber.”
This was Demas’s second CLEO conference, and he said he was “blown away” by the quality and diversity of the research presented.
“Photonics can feel like a very tightknit community, but this conference in particular seems to do a good job sampling a large extent of the field,” said Demas.
Ramachandran said that the research offers “exciting implications” for high-power fiber laser development and is happy about the great strides the team has made on this project.
“I was particularly impressed by Jeff’s detailed analysis of the seemingly ‘chaotic’ data obtained in the lab, which resulted in uncovering a methodical rule for the nonlinear interactions we observed, and was the basis of his rather impressive CLEO paper and talk,” said Ramachandran.
Demas, who is a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, said that working with Ramachandran has been a “spectacular” experience.
“It has been great to find a research advisor whose work aligned so well with both my background and my own interests,” said Demas. “Our lab is very driven, so the pace of the research is incredibly fast and we are constantly generating exciting results.”
-Rachel Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org)