From the accounts of authors who write about their achievements in VisualIt looks as if the material is glass. Of course, this is not unusual in the context of everyday applications, we use it at almost every step. However, when it comes to femtosecond laser design, glass has not been used for this purpose yet.
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Yves Bellouard of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is behind this progress. It was he and his colleagues working in the Galatea laboratory who decided to conduct ambitious laser experiments. These elements are used, among other things, in optics, mechanics and materials science, which is why the conclusions of Bellward’s research are so important. Typically, commercial femtosecond lasers are created by mounting optical elements on a substrate.
The problem was that this approach required very precise alignment, so the researchers looked for a simpler and more reliable solution. As they claim, they have managed to do just that. just us? Presumably the key was using a femtosecond laser to create… a femtosecond laser made of glass. The resulting device resembles a bank card in size, which may be a bit misleading given its many applications.
The femtosecond laser made of glass is the size of a bank card, but its potential is great.
Glass was chosen because it has less thermal expansion than commonly used substrates. Its advantages do not end there, because it is also a stable material, and what’s more, it easily transmits the laser light used in experiments. Using a laser, the researchers created depressions in the glass plate and then used them to align the mirrors. As part of further research, the authors want to see if the same technique can be used to make progress in assembling quantum optical systems.
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What seems most astonishing about the whole thing is the fact that a machine can replicate itself almost completely on its own. It sounds like a wet scene for fans of futuristic stories starring artificial intelligence. Importantly, glass femtosecond lasers generated in such conditions, despite their small size, are capable of achieving a maximum power of about a kilowatt and emitting pulses with a duration of less than 200 femtoseconds. is this too much? Not necessarily, considering that at the same time light can cover a distance comparable to the thickness of a human hair.
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