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Single photons to multiple octaves: Engineering nonlinear optics in micro- and nano-structured media
The two main topics in the proposed work were few-photon nonlinear optics, and generation and amplification of ultrafast IR pulses. Both efforts took advantage of microstructured nonlinear media, e.g. quasi-phase matched (QPM) interactions in periodically-poled ferroelectrics and orientation-patterned semiconductors. Guided-wave interactions were used in some cases to further enhance the wave-mixing efficiency, especially for low-power devices. Because errors in fabrication of waveguides and quasi-phase matching gratings are unavoidable, understanding the effects of such errors became another important component of the work. Key mid-IR results include design rules for and experimental demonstration of optical parametric chirped pulse amplifiers (OPCPA) in apodized aperiodic QPM gratings for high repetition rate, high average power generation of carrier envelope phase stable mid-IR pulses, and waveguide-OPA-based sources of offset-free seed pulses. Results for quantum frequency conversion include picosecond time gated conversion of single photons as a key component in a quantum dot spin-photon entanglement experiment. Another important direction was elimination of inelastic scattering noise in visible-to-telecom band conversion via a two-step cascaded process.
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