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Advanced Laboratory in Laser Physics
For Student Groups

Atom and quantum physics, wave physics and energy conversion in a system relevant to everyday life are the aspects of the advanced laboratory in laser physics. In numerous experiments the participants work on high school-relevant topics and applications, and gain insights into current research.

Book Advanced Laboratory in Laser Physics

Age
16 to 21 years
Duration
3 to 4 days
Maximum number of participants
12

Experiments

  • Wave properties of light (diffraction and interference)
  • Absorption, emission, fluorescence (energy levels and photons)
  • Measuring the radiant flux with photodetector and oscilloscope (quantization of energy flux)
  • Setup and characterization of Pr:YLF lasers (fluorescence spectrum, mean lifetime of the electrons in the excited state, wavelength, coherence, spiking)
  • Energy conversion in lasers (atomic and macroscopic efficiency)
  • Laser applications (interferometry, measuring the speed of light, wavelength selection, second harmonic generation)

In the first part of the course, the participants use classical light sources for experiments on the wave properties of light (diffraction and interference) and on quantized energy absorption and release of different substances during absorption, emission and fluorescence. Measuring the radiant flux of different light sources and determining the mean lifetime of electrons in the excited state they experience that energy can be stored in a substance for a certain time, which is a prerequisite for light amplification by stimulated emission.

For the laser experiments the participants use praseodymium doped YLiF4 (Pr:YLF) as active laser medium. Pr:YLF exhibits an absorption maximum at 444 nm and an emission maximum at 640 nm, thus both, the pump light and the laser light are visible allowing a reliable setup and adjustment of the laser system. The participants discuss the results of the extensive characterization of the lasers in the wave view (wavelength, coherence length) and in the particle view (fluorescence spectrum, mean lifetime). The experimentally determined efficiency of energy conversion in the laser is assessed considering atomic and macroscopic processes.

After the successful characterization, the participants use “their” lasers in applications (measuring the speed of light in air, measuring the dependence of the speed of light from the air pressure), and perform advanced experiments like wavelength selection or second harmonic generation. Finally, they discuss the relevance and the potential of laser physics for technical innovations and get insights into current research with lasers during a lab visit in the physics faculty of Göttingen University.

For questions regarding the course content, please contact the team of the physics department.

Keywords

Structure of atoms: charged particles, electronic shell, nucleus; Light as electromagnetic wave; Waves and quanta