Understanding ultrafast optics

How can you generate visible light out of the invisible? Can you amplify light by light itself? And how about measuring surface potentials with nonlinear optics? FBI gets answers at EPFL.

From the 10th to the 14th of July, five Early Stage Researchers in FBI from Austria, France, Germany and Slovakia had the opportunity to get answers to these fascinating questions of modern optics. Prof. Sylvie Roke from EPFL (Switzerland) offered her excellent introduction into nonlinear optics which sent the well visited auditorium to a journey covering light-matter interactions, crystal optics and nonlinear optical phenomena. This included second harmonic generation, phase matching conditions as well as optical damaging, to only name a few topics. The calculus intense theory was applied in short, supervised exercise sessions during the lecture. Therefore everybody was able to follow the course, even when the higher dimensional susceptibility tensors entered the room.

Towards the end more applied assignments as well as lab tour allowed the students to connect the theory with the experimental side and Prof. Roke presented her latest research concerning surface potential interrogation using second harmonic microscopy.

Finally the ESRs from Lausanne, together with their supervisors, organized a networking BBQ where all ESRs attending could meet researchers from EPFL working on biophotonics. In conclusion, this course gave many of us a new perspective to rapidly growing area of optics and we thank Prof. Roke and her assistants for their great work.