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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P001394/1
Title: Ti:Sapphire Regenerative Amplified Laser System for ultrafast, high-field terahertz photonics
Principal Investigator: Dean, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Linfield, Professor EH Cunningham, Professor J Hogg, Professor D
Davies, Professor AG
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2016 Ends: 31 July 2021 Value (£): 451,951
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Structure Condensed Matter Physics
Lasers & Optics Optical Phenomena
Quantum Optics & Information
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Electronics
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
04 May 2016 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Panel May 16 (2) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The terahertz (THz) region of the electromagnetic spectrum spans the frequency range between microwaves and the mid-infrared. Over the past decade, THz frequency radiation has attracted much interest for the development of new imaging and spectroscopy technologies, owing to its ability to discriminate samples chemically, to identify changes in crystalline structure, and to penetrate dry materials enabling sub-surface or concealed sample investigation. In particular, techniques such as THz time-domain spectroscopy (TDS) have enabling access to numerous low-energy excitations including molecular rotations, vibrations of crystal lattices, precession of spins and excitations of electron-hole pairs.

Nevertheless, there is growing interest in the rich physics that can be investigated when intense THz transients are used to resonantly control and manipulate the electronic, spin, and ionic properties of matter, rather than to merely monitor it. These emerging non-linear techniques go far beyond the weak light-matter interactions of absorption and emission, as embodied by linear THz spectroscopy, and are becoming powerful tools enabling the study of a wide range of non-equilibrium systems, nonlinear phenomena and quantum systems. Yet, these avenues have only recently begun to be explored within the THz spectral range, despite the wealth of materials that possess fundamental transitions at these frequencies and their potential for applications in quantum technology, photonics and signal processing.

To unlock these opportunities requires the generation of high-field (~kV/cm-MV/cm), ultrafast THz pulses for both narrowband and broadband excitation, which must be controlled, manipulated and detected with femtosecond precision. Ultrafast regenerative amplified laser (URAL) systems represent the only viable bench-top technology capable of delivering ultra-stable optical laser pulses on timescales <100 fs and with pulse energies >mJ, which are required for the generation of these ultrafast, intense THz pulses.

Through this funding we will establish a dedicated URAL-based THz facility that will open-up wide-scale and lasting access to these emerging fields of non-linear THz science and coherent control of matter. The coherent manipulation of quantum states will be explored in a range of exemplar systems including active THz quantum cascade laser devices, shallow-impurity-in-semiconductors, rare earth ion-in-solid materials, and self-assembled InGaAs quantum rods. Although these measurements are of fundamental interest in their own right, the investigation of such systems promises to underpin a number of applications ranging from solid-state implementations of spin-based qubits for quantum information systems to the development of single photon sources, optical fibre amplifiers, room-temperature vertical-cavity surface-emitting THz lasers, and long-sought mode-locked lasers exploiting the phenomenon of self-induced transparency. But this is not all. We will also exploit this technology to explore the control of chemical reaction pathways, including those associated with the initiation of explosive reactions.

This underpinning technology for the generation of ultrafast, intense THz pulses will not only support a range future research directions within the University of Leeds, but will enable us to establish for the UK an international facility for non-linear THz science and coherent control of matter that will impact over many research fields across the physical, chemical and biological sciences.

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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk