Ultrafast quantum coherent control apparatus
Wilson, Jesse, 1981-
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In recent years, the availability of ultrafast laser sources has opened up a number of opportunities for exploring molecular dynamics that take place on femtosecond time scales. Coherent control experiments involve creating, manipulating, and measuring these ultrafast phenomena. Such controllable processes include second harmonic generation (SHG), creation of vibrational wavepackets, high-harmonic generation, photodissociation, and more.The foundation to all these experiments is an ultrafast pulse shaper and a high-dimensional search algorithm. Here we present the design and construction of a spectral phase-only pulse shaper, including details on alignment and calibration. We also demonstrate the functionality of the device by producing several pulse profiles that could be potentially useful in coherent control experiments. A covariance matrix analysis evolutionary strategy (CMAES) is also implemented, and demonstrated to optimize SHG in a nonlinear crystal. Finally, recognizing that phase-only shapers cannot produce the full range of temporal shapes available to a given input pulse, we show the design and construction of a pulse shaper which uses only a single linear phase mask to gain control over both spectral phase and amplitude by use of phase gratings.