Publications

For papers published before 2016 this is list is currently incomplete. Please see John’s Google Scholar profile for a more complete list.

We demonstrate high-energy resonant dispersive-wave emission in the deep ultraviolet (218 to 375 nm) from optical solitons in short (15 to 34cm) hollow capillary fibres. This down-scaling in length compared to previous results in capillaries is achieved by using small core diameters (100 and 150 μm) and pumping with 6.3 fs pulses at 800 nm. We generate pulses with energies of 4 to 6 μJ across the deep ultraviolet in a 100 μm capillary and up to 11 μJ in a 150 μm capillary. From comparisons to simulations we estimate the ultraviolet pulse to be 2 to 2.5 fs in duration. We also numerically study the influence of pump duration on the bandwidth of the dispersive wave.

Optical soliton dynamics can cause the extreme alteration of the temporal and spectral shape of a propagating light pulse. They occur at up to kilowatt peak powers in glass-core optical fibres and the gigawatt level in gas-filled microstructured hollow-core fibres. Here we demonstrate optical soliton dynamics in large-core hollow capillary fibres. This enables scaling of soliton effects by several orders of magnitude to the multi-mJ energy and terawatt peak power level. We experimentally demonstrate two key soliton effects. First, we observe self-compression to sub-cycle pulses and infer the creation of sub-femtosecond field waveforms—a route to high-power optical attosecond pulse generation. Second, we efficiently generate continuously tunable high-energy (1–16 μJ) pulses in the vacuum and deep ultraviolet (110 nm to 400 nm) through resonant dispersive-wave emission. These results promise to be the foundation of a new generation of table-top light sources for ultrafast strong-field physics and advanced spectroscopy.

Dispersive wave emission (DWE) in gas-filled hollow-core dielectric waveguides is a promising source of tuneable coherent and broadband radiation, but so far the generation of few-femtosecond pulses using this technique has not been demonstrated. Using in-vacuum frequency-resolved optical gating, we directly characterize tuneable 3 fs pulses in the deep ultraviolet generated via DWE. Through numerical simulations, we identify that the use of a pressure gradient in the waveguide is critical for the generation of short pulses.

We demonstrate, for the first time, the application of rare-gas-filled hollow-core photonic crystal fibers (HC-PCFs) as tunable ultraviolet light sources in femtosecond pump–probe spectroscopy. A critical requirement here is excellent output stability over extended periods of data acquisition, and we show this can be readily achieved. The time-resolved photoelectron imaging technique reveals nonadiabatic dynamical processes operating on three distinct time scales in the styrene molecule following excitation over the 242–258 nm region. These include ultrafast (<100 fs) internal conversion between the S2(ππ) and S1(ππ) electronic states and subsequent intramolecular vibrational energy redistribution within S1(ππ*). Compact, cost-effective, and highly efficient benchtop HC-PCF sources have huge potential to open up many exciting new avenues for ultrafast spectroscopy in the ultraviolet and vacuum ultraviolet spectral regions. We anticipate that our initial validation of this approach will generate important impetus in this area.

We present the results of an experimental and numerical investigation into temporally nonlocal coherent interactions between ultrashort pulses, mediated by Raman coherence, in a gas-filled kagome-style hollow-core photonic-crystal fiber. A pump pulse first sets up the Raman coherence, creating a refractive index spatiotemporal grating in the gas that travels at the group velocity of the pump pulse. Varying the arrival time of a second, probe, pulse allows a high degree of control over its evolution as it propagates along the fiber through the grating. Of particular interest are soliton-driven effects such as self-compression and dispersive wave (DW) emission. In the experiments reported, a DW is emitted at ~300 nm and exhibits a wiggling effect, with its central frequency oscillating periodically with pump-probe delay. The results demonstrate that a strong Raman coherence, created in a broadband guiding gas-filled kagome photonic-crystal fiber, can be used to control the nonlinear dynamics of ultrashort probe pulses, even in difficult-to-access spectral regions such as the deep and vacuum ultraviolet.

This article offers an extensive survey of results obtained using hybrid photonic-crystal fibers (PCFs) which constitute one of the most active research fields in contemporary fiber optics. The ability to integrate novel and functional materials in solid- and hollow-core PCFs through various postprocessing methods has enabled new directions toward understanding fundamental linear and nonlinear phenomena as well as novel application aspects, within the fields of optoelectronics, material and laser science, remote sensing, and spectroscopy. Here the recent progress in the field of hybrid PCFs is reviewed from scientific and technological perspectives, focusing on how different fluids, solids, and gases can significantly extend the functionality of PCFs. The first part of this review discusses the efforts to develop tunable linear and nonlinear fiber-optic devices using PCFs infiltrated with various liquids, glasses, semiconductors, and metals. The second part concentrates on recent and state-of-the-art advances in the field of gas-filled hollow-core PCFs. Extreme ultrafast gas-based nonlinear optics toward light generation in the extreme wavelength regions of vacuum ultraviolet, pulse propagation, and compression dynamics in both atomic and molecular gases, and novel soliton-plasma interactions are reviewed. A discussion of future prospects and directions is also included.

Although ultraviolet (UV) light is important in many areas of science and technology, there are very few if any lasers capable of delivering wavelength-tunable ultrashort UV pulses at high repetition rates. Here we report the generation of deep UV laser pulses at megahertz repetition rates and microjoule energies by means of dispersive wave (DW) emission from self-compressed solitons in gas-filled single-ring hollow-core photonic crystal fiber (SR-PCF). Pulses from an ytterbium fiber laser (∼300  fs) are first compressed to <25  fs in a SR-PCF-based nonlinear compression stage and subsequently used to pump a second SR-PCF stage for broadband DW generation in the deep UV. The UV wavelength is tunable by selecting the gas species and the pressure. Through rigorous optimization of the system, in particular employing a large-core fiber filled with light noble gases, we achieve 1 μJ pulse energies in the deep UV, which is more than 10 times higher, at average powers more than four orders of magnitude greater (reaching 1 W) than previously demonstrated, with only 20 μJ pulses from the pump laser.

We identify a novel regime of soliton-plasma interactions in which high-intensity ultrashort pulses of intermediate soliton order undergo coherent plasma-induced fission. Experimental results obtained in gas-filled hollow-core photonic crystal fiber are supported by rigorous numerical simulations. In the anomalous dispersion regime, the cumulative blueshift of higher-order input solitons with ionizing intensities results in pulse splitting before the ultimate self-compression point, leading to the generation of robust pulse pairs with PHz bandwidths. The novel dynamics closes the gap between plasma-induced adiabatic soliton compression and modulational instability.

We report the generation of high harmonics in a gas jet pumped by pulses self-compressed in a He-filled hollow-core photonic crystal fiber through the soliton effect. The gas jet is placed directly at the fiber output. As the energy increases, the ionization-induced soliton blueshift is transferred to the high harmonics, leading to emission bands that are continuously tunable from 17 to 45 eV.

We report generation of an ultrafast supercontinuum extending into the mid- infrared in gas-filled single-ring hollow-core photonic crystal fiber (SR-PCF) pumped by 1.7 µm light from an optical parametric amplifier. The simple fiber structure offers shallow dispersion and flat transmission in the near and mid-infrared, enabling the generation of broadband spectra extending from 270 nm to 3.1 µm, with a total energy of a few µJ. In addition, we demonstrate the emission of ultraviolet dispersive waves whose frequency can be tuned simply by adjusting the pump wavelength. SR-PCF thus constitutes an effective means of compressing and delivering tunable ultrafast pulses in the near and mid-infrared spectral regions.

Gas-filled hollow-core photonic crystal fibre is being used to generate ever wider supercontinuum spectra, in particular via dispersive wave emission in the deep and vacuum ultraviolet, with a multitude of applications. Dispersive waves are the result of nonlinear transfer of energy from a self-compressed soliton, a process that relies crucially on phase-matching. It was recently predicted that, in the strong-field regime, the additional transient anomalous dispersion introduced by gas ionization would allow phase-matched dispersive wave generation in the mid-infrared—something that is forbidden in the absence of free electrons. Here we report the experimental observation of such mid-infrared dispersive waves, embedded in a 4.7-octave-wide supercontinuum that uniquely reaches simultaneously to the vacuum ultraviolet, with up to 1.7 W of total average power.

A cross-correlation frequency-resolved optical gating (FROG) concept, potentially suitable for characterizing few or sub-cycle pulses in a single shot, is described in which a counter-propagating transient grating is used as both the gate and the dispersive element in a FROG spectrometer. An all-reflective setup, which can operate over the whole transmission range of the nonlinear medium, within the sensitivity range of the matrix sensor, is also proposed, and proof-of-principle experiments for the ultraviolet and visible-to-near-infrared spectral ranges are reported.

A multi-shot transient-grating cross-correlation frequency-resolved optical gating (FROG) is implemented for the characterization of nanojoule-scale, few-femtosecond, deep-ultraviolet pulses. In theory, the system can characterize pulses with a bandwidth extending from below 200 nm to above 1.5 μm. It is experimentally shown that a 200 THz (50 nm) wide dispersive wave centered at 275 nm, generated in a gas-filled HC-PCF, has a temporal duration of 4 fs. The numerical simulations agree well with the experiment. The results confirm that dispersive wave emission in a gas-filled HC-PCF can be used as a novel source of ultrashort UV pulses in a range of applications, for example, ultrafast UV pump-probe spectroscopy.