Revolutionary solid-state white-light continuum generation technique

The ultra-broad bandwidth of white-light continuum has a profound impact on optical coherence tomography, 2D and 3D microscopy, and high-precision metrology. Limited by the rapid formation of multiple filaments and optical breakdown in the solid, only a few microjoules of white-light pulse had been produced via nonlinear interaction between femtosecond laser pulse and condensed medium. Meters-long vacuum tube filled with gas has to be employed if stronger white-light pulse is desirable. The “Frontier Photonics Research Laboratory” in the University’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Institute of Photonics Technologies in collaboration with Academia Sinica reported a 100-fold increase in white-light pulse generation via multiple properly-spaced plates of a bulk material. The pulse energy, mode quality and coherence properties can approach those of supercontinuum generated in gases while preserving the advantages of being compact, simple to align and operate, and high reproducibility of a solid medium. The revolutionary approach is expected to have unique advantages in the recent trend of high repetition rate (0.1-1 MHz) isolated attosecond pulse generation, where gas-phase supercontinuum generation is strongly restricted for the lack of sufficient peak power. This work is reported in “Optica”, the new flagship journal of Optical Society of America. Investigators of “Frontier Photonics Research Laboratory” include Shang-Da Yang, Ming-Chang Chen, Yen-Yin Lin, Chen-Bin Huang, and Andrew H. Kung (jointly appointed by Academia Sinica).