Over the last decade ultrafast laser technology has made enormous progress, enabling a variety of new research fields in science and engineering. Examples include (1) the development of frequency combs which have revolutionized spectroscopy, (2) high harmonic generation which has provided coherent tabletop sources ranging from the IR down to the soft X-ray regime, (3) generation of intense coherent terahertz pulses for condensed matter spectroscopy, or (4) simply robust laser sources enabling new approaches in optical communication or material processing and characterization. These new technologies present both new opportunities and new perspectives for addressing some of the fundamental challenges which we face in science but also as a society.
Our newly established FastLab research facility and technology platform is motivated by the fact that many fundamental challenges in science can be addressed only through truly interdisciplinary research, i.e., through the collaboration of specialists in cutting-edge ultrafast laser science with experts in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine or engineering. While the existing NCCR MUST fosters such collaborations, they essentially still operate on the level of individual professorships and research projects. To tackle the ever-increasing demand and complexity posed by applications of novel laser developments a technology research facility is needed that allows researchers to go beyond what a single group can afford or manage in terms of resources, know-how or complexity.
Furthermore, the FastLab will support access to novel laser technologies for non-laser expert groups to address their scientific questions and will allow the University of Bern to pursue an internationally competitive, sustainable and cost-efficient development of cutting-edge laser technology to help to address fundamental questions and to promote new areas of science and technology. Moreover, the FastLab helps young researchers at the University of Bern (e.g., ERC grantees or SNSF Eccellenza professors) in their academic career by providing access to expensive equipment and instrumentation that would otherwise be out of reach. It also provides an important contribution to the training and education of students, which will represent the next generation of experts, whether for industry or academia.
Funding: University of Bern and Swiss National Science Foundation through the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) MUST
For further Information please contact Dr. Hans Martin Frey.