Expensive, delicate, and difficult to operate, femtosecond lasers have already won two Nobel Prizes and created multi-billion dollar industries. As these lasers break out of laboratories for use in real-world large-scale applications, the number of people using them increases. This book provides a fresh perspective on femtosecond lasers, discussing how they are soon to become a universal light source, spanning any timescale and generating any wavelength of light. Starting from the basics of light itself, this book presents in an everyday manner, with clear illustrations and without formulas, what makes this class of lasers so versatile and the future of many more applications. Many of the subjects covered in this book are described in plain words for the first time.
Prologue; Chapter One: Introduction; Chapter Two: Why Femto; Chapter Three: What is a Light Pulse; Chapter Four: A Pulse Goes Through a Transparent Medium; Chapter Five: Light Matter Interactions (Part One); Chapter Six: Light Matter Interactions (Part Two); Chapter Seven: About Femtosecond Pulse Generation; Chapter Eight: How to Measure Femtosecond Pulses (Part One); Chapter Nine: Shaping the Laser Pulses; Chapter Ten: How to Measure Femtosecond Pulses (Part Two); Chapter Eleven: Applications of Shaped Pulses to Biomedical Imaging; Chapter Twelve: Applications of Shaped Pulses to Standoff Detection of Explosives and Other Materials; Chapter Thirteen: Applications of Shaped Pulses to Surgery, and Material Cutting or Processing; Chapter Fourteen: Applications of Shaped Pulses to Communications; Chapter Fifteen: Applications of Shaped Pulses in Science; Chapter Sixteen: A Survey of New Directions Being Explored, and Potential New Applications; Chapter Seventeen: The Ultrafast Laser Scaling Revolution.