The University of Southampton

Planar Waveguide & Slab Lasers

The Planar Waveguide and Slab Lasers group is led by Professor Jacob Mackenzie and investigates the advantages of the planar geometry for novel laser sources. 

Current work capitalises on the excellent thermal management properties that the planar waveguide/slab geometry offers and compatibility with high-power diode-laser pump sources. Coupled with crystalline gain media exciting opportunities are possible for realising laser sources not achievable via standard routes, thus enabling difficult or weak laser transitions. 

While constantly emerging applications continue to be a foundation for new developments, our current emphasis is placed on increasing the range of accessible wavelengths and demonstrating power-scalable solutions in both pulsed and CW regimes.

Group webpage


Deep UV Cryogenic lasers

Supervisor: Dr Jacob Mackenzie
Co-supervisor: Prof W A Clarkson

The goal of this research is to demonstrate a novel approach for power scaling neodymium solid-state lasers combining enhanced spectroscopic and reduced thermal loading characteristics via cryogenic-cooling of the gain media. These key characteristics dramatically improve the efficiency of the system and the potential for subsequent frequency conversion into the visible and DUV wavelength regime. Exploiting this laser architecture, new operating regimes at wavelengths around 900nm will be explored, with the potential for three orders-of-magnitude better performance than conventional diode-pumped neodymium-doped room-temperature solid-state lasers.

Cryogenically-cooled lasers will be a platform-architecture of the future, and which is currently being developed in large-scale-facilities institutes for pulses of 10’s-100’s of Joules at high average powers. One such project is being run at the Central Laser Facility (Rutherford Appleton Laboratories), with whom we have a collaboration and promise of a placement during the project. The main ambition of our research programme is to develop small-scale “turn-key” state-of-the-art solid-state lasers in the visible and UV wavelength bands with continuous-wave and high-energy pulsed modes of operation, leading to new laser parameters targeting precision manufacturing of highly valuable items.

Lasers making Lasers

Supervisor: Dr Jacob Mackenzie
Co-Supervisor: Prof R Eason

Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) is an exciting route for manufacturing high optical-quality, fully crystalline waveguides and thick-film structures. This novel method can be used to fabricate advanced active materials for optical gain engines in laser or amplifier systems. PLD is an established technique for the deposition of a range of materials, and in which we are the world leaders for growing single crystal structures for active photonic applications. 

This project, Lasers Making Lasers, is specifically aimed at developing new composite crystals and devices for compact and high average power (>100W) laser and amplifier systems. It involves growth, characterisation and end application of these PLD-grown films, and would suit someone who is very hands-on experimentally. There is also a significant opportunity to do modelling associated with waveguide theory, lasing and amplifier performance, whilst all the while working alongside experienced postdoctoral fellows on an EPSRC manufacturing grant.

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