Towards High-Power Lasers and Self-Tuning Optics


High-Power Mode-Locked Fiber Lasers


Over the past two decades, mode-locked fiber lasers have continued to show dramatic increases in performance and energy delivery. Indeed, a two orders of magnitude increase has been achieved only very recently which pushes the output power to a comparable level with the solid state lasers. This pace of development has positioned fiber laser technologies as the potentially dominant paradigm for high-power/energy applications especially in the applications with size, weight, price and mobility requirements. Our work has focused on delivering robust high-power performance by using multiple-transmission filters for circumventing multi-pulsing instabilities in laser cavities. We have further demonstrated that advantage can be taken of larger intracavity fluctuations in order to output optimal energy.


Machine-Learning & Equation-Free Control for Self-Tuning Lasers


Adaptive, robust, and self-tuning mode-locked lasers have eluded practical implementation for more than two decades. The ability to achieve these goals has the potential to revolutionize both the commercial and research sectors associated with ultra-fast science. We have recently demonstrated that the integration of data-driven machine learning strategies, including the use of sparse representation, with adaptive control are capable of producing an efficient and optimal self-tuning algorithm for mode- locked fiber lasers. This is a first step in automating lasers for achieving optimal performance.


Meta-Material Antennas & Beam Steering


Building upon self-tuning mode-locking strategies, we have recently demonstrated that machine learning methods with an extremum-seeking control protocol can self-tune a meta-material antenna to achieve high-fidelity beam steering and minimize side-lobe generation. This is critical for the emerging technologies of portable communications technologies associated with metamaterial technologies.


Stability and Bifurcations in Laser Cavities


New analytical methods are needed now as novel pulse evolutions in lasers promise to greatly enhance the performance of practical instruments. In general, a pulse undergoes large changes in its temporal shape, spectral shape, and phase or frequency as it traverses a laser cavity, which in turn pose severe challenges to mathematical models. Highly-chirped and/or self-similar pulse solutions can exist in the presence of strong dissipation, creating new classes of laser pulses that offer remarkable behavior and performance. Understanding the stability and bifurcation of such pulse structures is fundamental for learning the performance limits and practical limits of many modern, high-intensity optical systems.


Selected Recent Papers


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