Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Ultrafast optics: fundamentals and applications

Overall Course Objectives

To understand the fundamental physics and technology of ultrafast lasers and gain an appreciation of how they are enabling cutting-edge basic science and having a disruptive impact on specific industrial applications with high commercial potential. Specifically, the course considers how ultrafast pulses are generated, how they propagate, how we can measure them, their interaction with matter, and how they can be used to interrogate materials to reveal dynamic processes that evolve on natural time-scales equivalent to the motion of constituent electrons.

Learning Objectives

  • Recall the operation of a continuous-wave laser and describe representations of ultra-short laser pulses and their key properties using mathematical classifications;
  • Explain the principal of active mode-locking using a simplified framework to analyze the contribution of key components to the overall laser dynamics;
  • Show how the interaction of ultra-short laser pulses with a purely dispersive medium can affect the pulse shape;
  • Apply a mathematical model to evaluate the properties of ultra-short laser pulses generated by a passively mode-locked laser;
  • Sketch designs and explain the operation limits of instruments that can measure ultra-short laser pulses;
  • Create a blueprint for an ultrafast laser system and argue how your choices meet the requirements of specific applications;
  • Describe the importance of carrier-envelope phase stability of sources of single- and sub-cycle light pulses and optical frequency combs;
  • Design a methodology for the generation of low-frequency mid-IR or THz radiation based on principles of nonlinear optical down-conversion (either perturbative or non-perturbative) and explain the interaction dynamics using a theoretical framework;
  • Analyze laboratory generated spectroscopic data to extract physical properties of matter.

Course Content

The course comprises of three blocks: fundamentals, practical systems, and applications. The
blocks cover the following topics:
• Primers: review of laser essentials and overview of ultra-short light pulses;
• Generation and modelling of ultrafast laser pulses;
• Dispersion of ultra-short pulses and pulse compression techniques
• Measurement techniques for ultrafast pulses: correlation methods and full electric field
• Evolution of chirped pulse amplification
• Parametric amplification and frequency conversion
• Carrier envelope phase stability, few-cycle pulses and optical frequency combs;
• Modern ultrafast laser systems
• Ultrafast mid-infrared and THz sources;
• Hot topics in ultrafast science, including ultrafast THz spectroscopy

Recommended prerequisites

34034/34052, Bachelor’s degree in science or technical subjects. It is not advisable to follow the course without basic knowledge of lasers and non-linear optics, as this can result in considerable extra work compared to the standard. It is recommended that course 34034 has been passed. The course 34052 is useful background knowledge. Basic knowledge of the programming language Python is recommended.

Teaching Method

Lectures, demonstrations, in-class exercises and quizzes, and student presentations.

Limited number of seats

Minimum: 5, Maximum: 40.

Please be aware that this course has a minimum requirement for the number of participants needed, in order for it to be held. If these requirements are not met, then the course will not be held. Furthermore, there is a limited number of seats available. If there are too many applicants, a pool will be created for the remainder of the qualified applicants, and they will be selected at random. You will be informed 8 days before the start of the course, whether you have been allocated a spot.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 34060
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Tues 13-17

7.500,00 DKK

Please note that this course has participants limitation. Read more