FemtoSpec Laboratory

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Ultra-Fast Laser Spectroscopy

Ultrafast laser spectroscopy is increasingly becoming an indispensable tool for studying the properties of materials.  This project sponsored by an NSF-MRI grant  aims to develop an advanced femtosecond laser spectroscopy system which will be applicable to a broad range of multidisciplinary problems in the fields of condensed matter physics, chemistry, and biology.

Examples of topics to be focused on include quasiparticle dynamics in multifunctional materials, band gaps in carbon nanotubes, molecular events in biological energy conversion and photosensing, ultrafast response to light of heme proteins and the structure of biological polymers such as mucin using high sensitivity 2D-IR.  Many studies will be facilitated by the ability of the new instrument to probe the same sample over a broad range of wavelengths from the far-IR to UV and detect small changes in absorbance This capability should open a new window on ultrafast processes which up to now have been difficult to investigate.

The Ultra Fast Laser Optical Set-up

A Depiction of Electric and Magnetic Fields in a light wave

An ultrafast laser is designed to deliver laser with a very short pulse width.  Our laser can produce a pulse with roughly 7mJ of energy that lasts less than 35 femtoseconds.  This means that the average power delivered during each pulse is over a thousand times that of a nuclear power plant - of course this lasts for only a tiny fraction of a second.  This extremely high power and will allow us to probe systems in more detail and at shorter time scales.