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Proceedings Paper

History of supercontinuum discovery: 50 years ago (Conference Presentation)
Author(s): Robert R. Alfano

Paper Abstract

Light is one of the most important and versatile phenomena in nature with salient properties . Like a courier, it can transfer information from one point to another, like an alchemist, it can alter matter by initiating and moderating key processes in chemistry, biology and condensed matter. And of course, without it one could not see. Light possess color , fastest speed , coherence , polarization and wave fronts . The Short pulses of light allow expose the riot of activity hidden in molecular world . A major discovery occur in 1969, made by Robert Alfano and Stanley L. Shapiro members of GTE Labs (now Verizon) together when they made a startling observation of a new kind of laser light that spanned a large part of the visible spectrum over 10,000 cm-1 under excitation of 532 nm green ps pulses. This light now is called Supercontinuum (SC), It was published in three seminal paper in same volume of Phys Rev Letters :PRL 24, 584, 592, and 1217, (1970). Today researchers produce SC light that spans an entire octave or more using optical fibers from uv to NIR . The visible spectrum is approximately an octave, and thus the SC realizes the dream of white laser light source. The basic technique that Shapiro and I used to produce the SC involved sending very high intensity picosecond pulses of green laser light through crystals and glasses. The mechanism to explain the observed white light was self phase modulation. The SC is now 50 years old.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 March 2020
Proc. SPIE 11234, Optical Biopsy XVIII: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis, 1123402 (26 March 2020); doi: 10.1117/12.2555906
Show Author Affiliations
Robert R. Alfano, The City College of New York (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11234:
Optical Biopsy XVIII: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis
Robert R. Alfano; Stavros G. Demos; Angela B. Seddon, Editor(s)

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