Section 1: Ultrafast Optics Introduction

Ultrafast optics is the study of pulses of light on the order of a femtosecond i.e. very short. You could also call it “Ultrashort Optics”, but using “ultrafast” instead allows us to encapsulate the truly short time scales that we can observe different “fast” phenomena, such as those that occur in biological interactions. One of the best ways to get a sense of just how short is a femtosecond, is to compare one femtosecond to the age of the universe. One femtosecond is to one second as one day is to the age of the universe…let that sink in. The fact that we can even have these short of pulses in the laboratory is mind-boggling, the progression of science truly is incredible. Now then, to kick things off, the first topic we will cover is chirped pulse amplification, which basically started the field of ultrafast optics.

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