My academic research focused on ultrafast science - observing and controlling processes on timescales of femtoseconds or faster (1 fs = 10-15 s). Along the way I delved into high-power lasers, ultrashort pulse characterization, optical engineering, supercontinuum generation, photonic crystal fibers, ultrafast x-ray generation and characterization.

Ultrashort pulses have durations below 100 fs. The attraction of such pulses is that

  • they offer unprecedented temporal resolution - the ability to observe and influence processes on the natural timescales of electronic and nuclear motion, and
  • they allow energy to be highly concentrated in space and time so that, for example, a pulse produced by a table-sized laser can have a peak power equal to the total consumption of Great Britain, and an intensity high enough to tear an electron from an atom.

I have worked on several topic within ultrafast optics: