Attosecond Optics & Other Trending Hot Topics at QELS-Fundamental Science Conference
This year’s CLEO Conference, sponsored by APS/Division of Laser Science, IEEE Photonics Society and the Optical Society will feature an exciting number of submissions to QELS- Fundamental Science in the area of attosecond optics. Tom Giallorenzi, OSA’s Science Advisor interviewed Jacob Khurgin, General Chair, QELS-Fundamental Science to dig deeper into the hot topics for this year’s QELS- Fundamental Science Program
Tom Giallorenzi: Why is CLEO a must-attend conference?
Jacob Khurgin: If you look at other conferences, which I would not name, they might be bigger, they can cover wider area, but I know of no conferences which have such a rigorous reviewing process. And I’m talking not just optics conference because … I’m also active in condensed matter physics and semiconductors and so I think we emphasize quality over quantity. You cannot go to every conference, but I’ve been going to CLEO for 30 years now.
Can you give us some of the research highlights and trends at this year’s QELS- Fundamental Science Program?
Yes, so the section of CLEO which I present here is dedicated to fundamental science, even though it’s a fundamental science, the trend has been to miniaturization and practicality. And all the experiments which used to be done in large labs with high fields maybe high magnetic fields, huge, huge lasers for high lag optical fields and high vacuum is migrated. First, it’s migrated to tabletop and what we now have started seeing is that it’s migrating to optical fiber, like crystal fiber, hollow core fiber, and more interestingly, it’s migrating towards integrated optics.
So, we’ll have presentations where high field nonlinear optics is demonstrated in essentially integrated optical devices which, while I would not say they’re compatible with electronics right now, but the trend is towards compatibility and functionality.
There are lots of papers in the emerging fields of plasmonics and metamaterials and again, they’re becoming more functional. It’s not just to press light from Point A to Point B, but to manipulate the light and combine on the same integrated platform electronics and then high magnetic field some modulation, optomechanics and plasmonics. I think plasmonics and optomechanics, … that’s a new trend because plasmonics provides for high field and miniaturization, which is difficult to achieve otherwise. In terms of condensed matter optics, the new trend is novel to 2D materials beyond graphene. Of course, everyone heard about graphene, which has been discovered –maybe less than a decade ago and lots of work was done. It was this exciting material. Nevertheless, it’s limited because it is essentially a conductor.
But now we have new materials such as boron nitride, molybdenum compounds, which are also two-dimensional materials, but they exhibit the whole range of properties from good conductor to very strong insulator –with – and no semiconducting state in between. There will be lots of presentation of these new and exciting materials.
But I think the biggest trend is attosecond optics because we have seven subcommittees and almost all of them present attosecond optics so basically optics in which the length of the pulse is only a few optical cycles, which is interesting by itself. It’s interesting as an instrument to study condensed matter. It’s interesting as a nonlinear switch and it’s interesting in combination with plasmonics and metamaterial.
And up until recently, it was inaccessible, maybe one or two labs in the world could do it and now it becomes a standard instrument. And I expect that ten years from now –attoseconds will go to the different part of CLEO, basically applications will all be real world applications there. That’s trends.
Jacob Khurgin is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and serves as General Co-Chair of QELS-Fundamental Science for CLEO, Conference on Lasers and Electro-optics. For more information, visitwww.cleoconference.org.