Laser beams are very good at going in straight lines, but not good at going round corners. Lasers are also striking because they have a very well defined, saturated colour, but there are very few colours commonly available.
Using demonstrations, we will look into some of the challenges and solutions for persuading lasers to change colour, and persuading light to go round corners.
A combination of physical insight and recent advances in technology enables us to develop systems which contribute to the biggest questions – Are fundamental constants constant? Are we alone?, the most prosaic questions – Can we put a big laser in the corner of the factory and carry the beam in our hand?, and the most fun – Does it look good? Can we put it in a space telescope?
William Wadsworth is a Professor of Photonics in the Department of Physics at the University of Bath. He has been at the University since 1999, first as a postdoctoral researcher, then a Royal Society University Research Fellow and joining the academic staff in 2008.
His research is driven by applications, looking to provide new capabilities for lasers and optical systems. This has included development of new lasers addressing needs for particular colours of light, the supercontinuum laser source using purpose designed optical fibres to deliver white light from a laser, optical fibres for delivery of laser power or routing of optical signals at extreme power or extreme wavelengths, and working with scientific and industrial end users to develop experiments and products making use of the new capabilities.