We have experimentally demonstrated the feasibility of direct compression, or stretching and recompression of laser pulses in a very wide temporal time scale spanning 10's fs to ∼1 ps time with sub-mm thick cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC) cells. The mechanisms at work here are the strong dispersion at the photonic band-edges and nonlinear phase modulation associated with the non-resonant ultrafast molecular electronic optical nonlinearity. The observed pulse compression limit, spectral characteristics and intensity dependence of the compression are in good agreement with theoretical expectations and simulations based on a coupled-mode propagation model. Owing to the large degree of freedom to engineer the wavelength locations of CLC photonic bandgap and bandedges, these self-action all-optical processes can be realized with ultrafast lasers pulses in a very wide spectral region from the visible to near infrared, with potential applications in compact ultrafast photonic modulation devices/platforms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics