Laser Engineering

Course Description

This course introduces the fundamentals of lasers, laser performance, and applications. Topics include the physics of laser operation, laser cavities, laser types and applications, performance metrics, polarization optics in lasers, and laser amplifiers.

Please note: The course descriptions and instructors listed below are NOT final, it is possible that circumstances beyond our control could necessitate alterations.

2024: Offered remotely from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.


June 10, Monday

Introduction to lasers, types, and performance metrics, Katelynn Bauer (Rochester)/Leon Waxer (LLNL)

The fundamental components of a laser are introduced alongside the main properties of a laser: spontaneous and stimulated emission, spatial and temporal coherence, and monochromaticity. This introduction will be followed by a survey of different laser classes (gas, solid, fiber, etc.) and the various metrics used to quantify laser performance

June 11, Tuesday

Gain, loss, and how it all works, Leon Waxer (LLNL)

Fundamentals of laser gain media, models of laser system performance, and continuous-wave and pulsed laser operation

June 12, Wednesday

Laser cavities, Katelynn Bauer (Rochester)

An introduction to the properties of laser cavities, including the discussion of spatial and temporal modes and Gaussian beam propagation. ABCD matrices will be used to propagate a Gaussian mode. Also, the specifications of a cavity will be defined for various applications, such as output pulse length, wavelength, etc.

June 13, Thursday

Polarization, Katelynn Bauer (Rochester)

A brief overview of polarization and Jones matrices. Discussion will be focused on polarization optics often used in laser systems such as waveplates, beam splitters, Pockels cells, Faraday rotators, coated optics and gratings.

June 14, Friday

Laser amplifiers and chirped pulse amplification, Leon Waxer (LLNL)

An introduction to high-energy laser systems, laser amplifiers and amplification of ultrafast laser pulses.