Welcome to the Laboratory of Ultrafast Physics and Optics @ Heriot-Watt University (LUPO).
We use nonlinear optics to create new light sources with tailored, and extreme, spectral and temporal properties.
Examples include the generation of high energy single-cycle pulses in both the ultraviolet (especially the vacuum region), and the mid-infrared, new techniques for broadband white-light supercontinuum generation, the production of ultrafast electric field waveforms called optical attosecond pulses (pulses shorter than one million billionth of a second in the visible and ultraviolet), and the design and construction of high-energy few-cycle ultrafast fibre lasers.
Our work is a symbiotic mix of experimentation and numerical modelling. We make use of nature’s full landscape of materials, laser beam geometries and nonlinear effects, but our favourite system is hollow waveguides (such as photonic crystal fibres and capillaries) filled with gases, liquids, and plasmas.
We use these light sources for both fundamental science (such as the physics of nonlinear optics, ultrafast light-gas interactions, new ways of driving strong-field physics, advanced spectroscopy), and for applications in healthcare, advanced manufacturing and the semiconductor industry.
You can filter our full list of publications here.
LUPO is currently based in one large ultrafast optics laboratory, with a second laboratory for high average power and repetition rate experiments under construction.
We have a single 10 m long vibration isolated optical table.
Our primary laser source is a commercial ti:sapphire oscillator, regenerative amplifier and single-pass amplifier chain (Coherent Legend Elite Duo USX) producing 8.5 mJ, 26 fs, 800 nm pulses at 1 kHz repetition rate.
This can be fed into a TOPAS optical parametric amplifier (Light Conversion) producing 25 fs pulses with up to 1.4 mJ at idler wavelengths as long as 2500 nm.
Our experimental philosophy tends towards building our own devices and systems rather than buying commerical products. Some examples of instrumentation we have built include:
Our work is based at the Heriot-Watt campus just outside the wonderful city of Edinburgh, and close to the beautiful nature, horrible history and terrible weather of Scotland.
For an idea of the research directions we are heading in, please see our project pages.
We currently have two exciting PhD scholarships for research on the next generation of advanced table-top light sources. As a PhD student you’ll make use of nonlinear optics in gas-filled hollow-core fibres to create unique light sources for fundamental science, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and the semiconductor industry. Topics available include ultrafast light-gas interactions, broadband white-light supercontinuum generation, ultrafast high-power deep-ultraviolet sources, and the design and construction of high-energy few-cycle ultrafast fibre lasers. These projects span both fundamental physics through to device engineering, and can be tailored to your specific interests and abilities. Please contact us for more information.
We do not currently have any open post-doc positions, but this is very likely to change in the next few months. We are always interested to hear from candidates proposing fellowship applications based at the LUPO laboratories.
All positions require candidates to work extensively both as experimentalists in the lab, and on numerical codes to model our experiments.
Our experimental philosophy tends towards building our own devices and systems rather than buying commerical products. This ensures we have greater technical expertise and that our experiments do exactly what we want.
If you are interested, then please contact us, explaining why.
We are happy to provide consultancy services.
We offer the design and installation of gas-filled hollow fibre setups for pulse compression, spectral broadening and frequency conversion, including to the vacuum and deep ultraviolet. This includes systems based on our HISOL concept using stretched hollow capillary fibres, and also systems based on hollow-core microstructured fibres.
Modelling of light propagation in hollow fibres with our unique software. This work can include, for example: the design and optimization of a multitude of frequency conversion and supercontinuum generation schemes in optical fibres, including conventional photonic crystal fibre and gas-filled optical fibres; optimization of spectral flatness, noise instabilities, and polarization evolution in supercontinuum systems; parameter region optimization (i.e. reducing sensitivity to pump pulse and environmental conditions).
Design and construction of our specialised instruments, such as state of the art FROG and XFROG devices, including SHG, SFG and SD devices covering the UV to infrared.
Please contact us for more information.