Our current projects are:

  • HISOL – A new regime of millijoule-scale optical soliton dynamics.
  • HP-OPCPA – The next generation OPCPA technology.

These are long-term strategic projects. For an idea about the specific things we do in the lab day to day, then please see General Ultrafast Optics Research and here.


The focus of HISOL is to use a new regime of millijoule-scale optical soliton dynamics to reach a number of ambitious aims:

  • Create a unique source of high energy (>50 µJ) tunable few-femtosecond pulses across the vacuum and deep ultraviolet (100 nm to 300 nm, 4 eV to 12 eV).
  • Generate high energy optical attosecond pulses (shorter than 1 femtosecond in the visible and ultraviolet region).
  • Generate single-cycle pulses in the mid-IR.
  • Use these soliton dynamics to drive and control extreme ultraviolet and soft-X-ray spectra generated through high-harmonic emission in the 1 nm to 100 nm region.
  • Use these sources for ultrafast pump-probe spectroscopy (DUV/VUV pump, XUV probe) and nonlinear optics of molecules and other systems, both as demonstrations in our laboratory and through collaborations with leading groups in molecular science.

For more information please contact John Travers.

HISOL is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ERC starting grant agreement No 679649).

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Optical parametric chirped pulse amplifiers (OPCPA) are quickly becoming the basis for the next generation of high-harmonic and attosecond experiments. Their key advantage being that they can be used to create high repetition rate (> 100 kHz) ultrafast (< 10 fs) pump sources with sufficient energy (> 10 µJ) to drive strong-field physics. However fundamental thermal issues caused by absorption in the nonlinear crystals limit the average powers attainable to less then 20 W. We are developing a completely different technology to scale average OPCPA powers to > 100 W, while simultaneously increasing the gain bandwidth.

For more information please contact John Travers.

General Ultrafast Optics Research


Please see here for an idea of what we practically do day to day in the lab.

We are continuously developing new ultrafast science and technology.

  • Fundamental dynamical studies of ultrafast material response to laser pulses.
  • Imagining and testing new ideas in ultrafast nonlinear optics, such as
    • New frequency conversion, pulse compression and mode-locking techniques.
    • Investigating novel soliton dynamics, such as their interaction with plasma, Raman-active molecules and strong-field effects.
    • Studying new regimes of ultrafast Raman interaction and four-wave mixing in gases.
  • Developing new strategies for CEP stabilization.
  • Work on high power fiber amplifier systems to pump OPCPAs.
  • Designing pulse and spectral characterization devices spanning the soft-Xray to Mid-IR range.

Simulation and Numerics

We develop and optimize a leading nonlinear propagation code.

  • Full carrier-resolved spatio-temporal modelling of ultrafast laser pulse dynamics.
  • Leading models of material polarization.
  • Full vector polarization.

It is currently mostly C++, but we are slowly moving to Julia.