Spectrally bright deep (200-300 nm) and vacuum (100-200 nm) ultraviolet light has a wide range of potential applications, currently frustrated by a lack of easy-to-use table-top lasers in these spectral regions. Coherent broadband DUV/VUV sources could be used to produce sub-femtosecond pulses for precise temporal, spectral and spatial excitation of the electronic resonances of many atoms, molecules and bulk materials, and thus form the basis for advanced time-resolved pump-probe or photoemission spectroscopy.
The Division is working on the generation of broadband coherent light from the extreme UV to the mid-IR, using a variety of different techniques, and on high-harmonic generation with few-cycle pump pulses generated by self-compression in noble-gas-filled hollow core PCF. Much of the work deals with the interaction of solitons with photo-induced plasmas and ultrafast molecular dynamics. Increasingly these novel sources are being used in applications, often in collaboration with other groups.
The work has resulted in the formation of a start-up company, ultralumina.