Ultrafast Lasers In Materials Research

FSMRL PI David Cahill served as one of the Guest Editors for the August 2006 issue of the MRS Bulletin, as well as co-authoring the theme article entitled "Ultrafast Lasers in Materials Research."

With the availability of off-the-shelf commercial ultrafast lasers, a small revolution in materials research is underway, as it is now possible to use these tools without being an expert in the development of the tools themselves. Lasers with short-duration optical pulses-in the sub-picosecond (less than one-trillionth of a second) range-are finding a variety of applications, from basic research on fast processes in materials to new methods for microfabrication by direct writing. Each of the articles in this issue of MRS Bulletin will answer the question "How fast is ultrafast?" differently, and in many cases the answer is complicated by the existence of multiple processes, some of which are not well characterized. The selection of topics is intended to illustrate the breadth of this new area of ultrafast lasers in materials research and the applications that have already been generated.

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