[Under construction]2015 AFOSR MURIFundamental Strong-Field Interactions with Ultrafast, Mid-Infrared LasersPO: Dr. Riq Parra, Ultrashort Pulse Laser-Matter InteractionsPI: Dr. Louis DiMauro, The Ohio State UniversityWebsite: TBD
For nearly a half century, investigations of a strong field laser-matter interaction have resulted in new fundamental discoveries and have fueled numerous applications. Historically, the advancement of strong field (SF) physics depended upon a symbiotic relationship between laser engineering and scientific discovery – new lasers enable science & applications while new discovery further drives innovative optical engineering. Although highly successful, present day laser technology has restricted the majority of SF studies to a narrow spectral window of visible & near infrared (NIR) wavelengths. This is now recognized as a consequential limitation, because over the last decade it has become clear that all SF phenomena benefit when they are driven at longer mid-infrared (MIR) wavelengths. At the present time we stand at a crossroad for discovery, where the road toward novel MIR technology can again transform SF physics, both our understanding of it and its applications. In fact, as presented in this proposal, increasing the wavelength is a faster, more robust path towards new physics than even increasing the intensity. The MURI MIR team will seize this opportunity with a broad in-depth research program aimed at advancing experiments, theory and technology for MIR SF interaction studies. In addition, our program is consciously constructed to directly connect these studies to DoD relevant applications in remote sensing, directed energy, tabletop coherent short wavelength light sources, compact particle accelerators and MIR laser technology.
Our team encompasses five linked thrust areas. Four of these thrusts focus on SF MIR science in fundamental ionization, filamentation in air, generation of coherent harmonic radiation and MIR driven ion & electron laser-plasma accelerators. The continuity of topics is anchored by foundational studies in simple systems and evolves across thrust areas to greater complexity. Recognizing lessons from the past, the fifth thrust is devoted to the development of novel MIR laser technology to advance our science thrust. The MURI MIR team is an alliance between 6 co-PIs in 5 US universities and 6 co-PIs at Imperial College in the UK. The team also forms key collaborative alliances with world leading laboratories. Overall there is balance in experiment & theory, complementary expertise, capabilities and educational value on both sides of the Atlantic. The team members are recognized leaders in MIR physics and as such bring competency & state-of-the-art MIR facilities to the program. The team’s ultimate objective is to translate SF physics from the well-studied NIR into the unexplored realm of the MIR by exploiting basic SF scaling laws as a roadmap for discovering new fundamental and applied interactions.