All talks start at 7.30pm in the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22 - 26 George Street, with refreshments from 7.00 pm
Abstract: Solitons are particle-like nonlinear wave-packets or pulses that, in ideal systems, maintain their shape upon propagation and interaction. They are an important concept in nonlinear physics and arise in the dynamics of water-waves, the atmosphere, matter-waves and in nonlinear optics. When intense laser pulses are guided through optical fibres, soliton interactions can be used to modify the shape of the electric field in time. I will explain how we can use these interactions to compress the laser pulse to durations consisting of a single cycle of the electromagnetic carrier wave—just a few femtoseconds (1 fs is 1 million trillionth of a second). I will also explain how we can convert the relatively monochromatic input laser pulse to an extremely broad spectrum pulse, spanning more than 3 octaves of the electromagnetic spectrum, known as a supercontinuum, but sometimes referred to as a sunlight-laser. Finally, I will describe how we can use soliton physics to build a table-top source of vacuum-ultraviolet light (100 nm to 200 nm), a region usually only accessible with buildingscale infrastructure, such as synchrotrons and free-electron lasers.