On 24th October a special Departmental Colloquium in the Physics Department commemorated the recent 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Arthur Ashkin, Gerard Mourou and Donna Sutherland. The prize celebrated the trios' "groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics”. Dr Gavin Morley spoke about the invention of optical tweezers, and their widespread adoption and use today. Dr James Lloyd-Hughes described the discovery and principles of chirped-pulse amplification, which is now used worldwide to create incredibly intense laser pulses for laser machining (micromachining and laser eye surgery) and scientific applications.
Chirped pulse amplification is the technique used in WCUS to produce our amplified laser pulses, which we use to perform ultrafast spectroscopy across the electromagnetic spectrum. As an example of the extreme intensity now routinely available, this video shows the focussed laser beam output producing a plasma (white ball, bottom right). The "buzz" on the video is the sound of the laser creating a mini explosion 1000 times per second. In addition to glowing, the plasma acts as a non-linear source of light, hence the blue/white/red glow on the top left. Thanks to Dr Mick Staniforth & Connor Mosley for the video.
We would like to invite you to the University of Warwick in December to a workshop on terahertz (THz) science and technology, with the theme "THz Instrumentation and Applications". The scientific and technical session of talks and posters will be on Tuesday 11th December, with a welcome dinner on campus the night before (Monday 10th). The event is being organised by Emma MacPherson & James Lloyd-Hughes in Warwick, with help from some of the previous EPSRC Teranet network steering group. Registration and the programme are available here.
Results from one of our PhD students, Maurizio Monti, have just been accepted for publication in J. Phys. Chem. C. Well done to Maurizio on his first paper, and the first paper from the optical-pump THz-probe (OPTP) spectroscopy beamline at WCUS. In this work we have used OPTP to study how rapidly the energetic carriers in a perosvkite semiconductor relax in energy within their bands.