Ultra-fast laser physics

lphys2248  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Ultra-fast laser physics
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
5 credits
22.5 h + 7.5 h

This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2019-2020
Having followed LPHYS2143 is an asset
Main themes
This teaching unit reviews the building and use of femto and attosecond pulses to measure spectroscopic or dynamic quantities. It deals with the basic principles allowing the building of such ultra-short light sources, the tools developed to characterize them and several applications where this short time scale or extreme frequency stabilised light sources are used.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :



a.     Contribution of the teaching unit to the learning outcomes of the programme (PHYS2M and PHYS2M1)


AA1.3, AA1.4, AA1.5, AA1.6, AA 2.2, AA4.2, AA 5.1, AA5.2,AA 5.3, AA 6.3, AA 6.5, AA7.1, AA7.2, AA 7.5, AA 8.1.


b.    Specific learning outcomes of the teaching unit


At the end of this teaching unit, the student will be able to:


1.     use and characterize ultra-fast light sources ;

2.     build a femtosecond oscillator ;

3.     characterize in the time and frequency domains these ultra-fast light-sources ;

4.     consider the use of those sources to tackle original problems in physics.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The teaching unit follows the following structure :
1) Introduction
  • Mode-locking and elements of nonlinear optics
  • Dispersion compensation schemes
2) Study and use of ultra-fast lasers in the frequency domain
  • Optical frequency comb synthesis from mode-locked lasers
  • Frequency comb and its use to measure light frequency
  • Continuous wave laser stabilization using an optical frequency comb
  • New techniques in distance measurement
3) Study and use of ultra-fast lasers in the time domain
  • Techniques to measure the pulse duration
  • How to produce attosecond pulses
  • Use of femtosecond lasers and attosecond lasers to study vibrational and electronic degrees of freedom in molecules and solids
4) Latest news in research concerning or using ultra-fast lasers.
Teaching methods
Lectures, laboratories, practical project
Evaluation methods
The evaluation is made on the quality of a written report and oral examination based on experimental or theoretical projects and ex-cathedra lectures.
Agrawal, “Non-linear fiber optics”, Elsevier.
L. Gallmann, U. Keller, “Femtosecond and Attosecond Light Sources and
Techniques for Spectroscopy”, Handbook of high-resolution spectroscopy, Wiley online library, 2011.
P. Maddaloni, , P. De Natale, M. Bellini,. “ Laser-based measurements for time and frequency domain applications: a handbook”. CRC Press 2016.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Physical Engineering

Master [60] in Physics

Master [120] in Physics