Controlling and manipulating high-intensity laser pulses is crucial for many applications in various areas of basic physics and applications, such as inertial fusion. Traditionally, this control is achieved by using crystals with intrinsic optical properties that can be tuned and controlled to modify the a light pulse. Such properties include the focus, polarization, direction, polarization or length of the pulse. These conventional systems fail when exposed to intense pulses. Plasma photonics uses lasers to shape optical elements in a plasma medium (rather than a solid), thereby allowing an entirely new class of optical elements that in turn may enable a wide range of new science.
Physics, UC Berkeley