Welcome to the University of
Laser Matter Interactions group webpage.
The interaction of extremely intense laser pulses with solids, liquids and
gases has many technological applications and is rich in physics. Our
experiments involve elements of atomic physics, nonlinear optics, plasma
physics, condensed matter physics and quantum electronics.
There are two conditions generated in our laser-matter interaction
experiments that make many of the
applications possible, and motivate much of the physics interest. The
first is that intense lasers can locally heat up matter to about 100 times
the temperature of the sun. This means
that such heated material is a strong x-ray source. The second is that
high laser intensities, the optical properties of materials behave in
altogether new ways. For example, at laser intensities greater than about
W/cm2 (routinely generated in our lab), one must consider
relativistic corrections to the index of refraction! Such effects make
possible exotic laser-driven particle acceleration schemes, which have the
aim of shrinking existing multi-kilometer long particle accelerators to
the size of a table top.