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Ultrafast Science

The ability to generate and manipulate ultrashort pulses of laser light is a relatively recent achievement. At CAOUS we can generate intense laser pulses as short as 30 femtoseconds*, a timescale that is essentially beyond ordinary human experience; ultrafast. This is, however, the fundamental timescale for many atomic, electronic, and molecular processes. The Ultrafast group at Swinburne is made up of two main areas: Ultrafast Spectroscopy and High-order Harmonic Generation (HHG). Both of these use ultrafast pulses of laser radiation to induce linear and nonlinear effects in atoms, molecules and semiconductor nanostructures.

In Ultrafast Spectroscopy we use these pulses of light to study dynamic processes that are of interest and significance in physics, chemistry, and biology. Part of our work involves developing new experimental techniques to provide access to the dynamics and mechanisms of processes in complex systems otherwise unresolvable. We are currently studying semiconductor quantum dots and quantum wells, light harvesting complexes and molecules involved in photosynthesis, and other photoactive molecules. These materials are of particular interest for potential light emitting devices, photovoltaic devices, quantum information and for understanding the fundamental processes occurring. For more detail on these projects go to the Ultrafast spectroscopy page.

In High-order Harmonic Generation we are developing a system where we use the ultrashort pulses of laser light to generate coherent pulses of extreme ultraviolet (XUV) and soft X-ray radiation. This project is part of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science, and will eventually provide an X-ray source that will be used to image biologically important molecules.

The team

Academic Staff
Lap Van Dao
Jeff Davis
Peter Hannaford
Martin Lowe

Post Docs
Chris Hall
Ba Khuong Dinh

Evelyn Cannon (PhD)
Behrooz Fateh (PhD)
Naylyn Gaffney (PhD)
Vu Hoang Le (PhD)
Jonathan Tollerud (PhD)

Former students
Ba Khuong Dinh (PhD)
David McDonald (PhD)
Chris Hall (PhD)
Sven Teichman (PhD)
Tra My Do (PhD)
Xiaoming Wen (PhD)
Craig Lincoln (PhD)
Shannon Whitlock (Honours)
Chris Hall (Honours)
Patrissa Eckle
Twan van Lippen


*There are more femtoseconds in one second than there have been seconds in the past 30 million years