The University of Southampton

New class of lasers to be developed by Southampton and St Andrews

Published: 22 March 2010

A new class of laser capable of producing more than a billion, high-power, ultrashort pulses of light per second with a footprint of just a few square centimetres is set to be developed through a collaborative research project between the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) and St Andrews University.

Funded by an £800K grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council the researchers will develop a new class of ultrafast laser based on planar waveguides to fill the gap between high repetition rate, low power semiconductor lasers and high power, low repetition rate bulk lasers.

The new laser will be compact and efficient with potential applications such as microscopy of biological cells where the high repetition rate will allow strong optical signals to be produced without damaging the specimens under study.

The research teams from the ORC and St Andrews, headed by Professor David Shepherd and Dr Tom Brown respectively, will work in conjunction with three external organisations who will help to guide the research to achieve impact in a number of application areas.

The new multi-million pound Mountbatten research facilities at Southampton will play a key part in the development of the new lasers, relying on the state-of-the-art etching and fabrication facilities.

Professor David Shepherd, ORC, comments: “I’m really excited to receive this funding from EPSRC as not only will it lead to a great new research direction with strong potential applications, but it will also enable a strong collaboration with researchers at St. Andrews that I hope will grow beyond this project.”

 Find out more about the Planar Waveguide and Slab Lasers group

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