Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UCF researchers record world record laser pulse

A University of Central Florida research team has created the world's shortest laser pulse and in the process may have given scientists a new tool to watch quantum mechanics in action – something that has been hidden from view until now.

UCF Professor Zenghu Chang from the Department of Physics and the College of Optics and Photonics, led the effort that generated a 67-attosecond pulse of extreme ultraviolet light. The results of his research are published online under Early Posting in the journal Optics Letters.

An attosecond is an incomprehensible quintillionith of a second. In other words it would take 15 million billion pulses of the size Chang's team achieved to equal one second. The accomplishment is even more remarkable because the team did it without the use of specialized equipment including a mile-long particle accelerator or a Superdome-sized synchrotron.

"Dr. Chang's success in making ever-shorter light pulses helps open a new door to a previously hidden world, where we can watch electrons move in atoms and molecules, and follow chemical reactions as they take place," said Michael Johnson, the dean of the UCF College of Sciences and a physicist. "It is astounding to imagine that we may now be able to watch quantum mechanics in process."

Quantum mechanics is the study of physics at the microscopic level, specifically looking at energy and matter on this miniscule scale.

There is much excitement about the accomplishment and the promise Chang's work holds for helping scientists understand how the world's smallest building blocks actually work. The technique could lead scientists to understand how energy can be harnessed to transport data, deliver targeted cancer therapies or diagnose disease. The finding marks the first significant breakthrough in the laser pulse field in four years.

In 2001, attosecond pulses were demonstrated for the first time. Since then scientists around the world have been trying to make ever-shorter pulse durations because of the door they could open to understanding the subatomic world. The previous record of an 80-attosecond pulse was set in 2008 at the Max Planck Institute in Garching, Germany. This is the first time an American-led team has set the record.

"The quest for generating shorter and shorter pulses of light has been ongoing since the invention of the laser more than five decades ago," said Bahaa Saleh, dean of CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics. "Dr. Chang's recent advance brings UCF to the forefront of this Olympic race and opens up new frontiers for seeing and recording ultrafast dynamic atomic phenomena."

Chang's team was able to accomplish the work at the Florida Atto Science &Technology (FAST) lab in UCF's Physical Sciences building.

Using the unprecedented power of laser light enables Chang and his peers to conduct their high-level research in much smaller spaces. Chang's group created a technique called Double Optical Grating that allows extreme ultraviolet light to be cut off in a manner that concentrates the maximum amount of energy in the shortest possible pulse of light. With the affinity for acronyms shared by many ultrafast laser physicists, Chang named the technique DOG. In addition to creating the light pulse, he created an even faster camera to measure it, which is the Phase Retrieval by Omega Oscillation Filtering (PROOF).


The Department of Defense's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative and the National Science Foundation helped fund the research.

Others who contributed to the team's discovery include: Kun Zhao, Qi Zhang, Michael Chini, Yi Wu, and Xiaowei Wang, all at UCF. UCF Stands For Opportunity --The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the second largest in the nation with more than 59,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information visit

Zenaida Kotala | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>