Reliable and versatile ultrashort pulse laser sources in the mid-infrared wavelength range can be considered ones of the ‘dream tools’ of contemporary photonics engineering, opening up a wide field of research, industrial and medical applications. Mid-infrared wavelength range corresponds to vibrational absorption bands of all bio-molecules and serve characteristic signatures of chemical bonds in a tissue sample. Therefore, mid-infrared light sources present a desirable technology for non-invasive assessment of the structure and biochemical content of tissues.
The standard approach to achieve ultrashort pulse generation in laser cavity involves insertion of saturable absorbers or artificial modulators, which are currently limited in the mid-infrared wavelength range. This does not allow development of sources with virtually on-demand performance. Our research targets development of novel ultrashort pulse lasers systems at 2-3 mm and beyond with tailored, and extreme, spectral and temporal properties by shaping the generation via internal nonlinear and dispersive parameters, and exploring all avenues of available optical fibre materials and geometries. Novel laser sources will enable investigation of the fundamental physics of nonlinear phenomena in mid-infrared wavelength range broadening or transferring generation to 8 mm and beyond to the wavelengths corresponding to fundamental vibration bands of target molecules.