General Information

CUOS EntranceHow Fast is "Ultrafast"?
Just how short is a femtosecond?  Well, there are as many femtoseconds in eight minutes as there are seconds in the age of the universe!  With such an ultra-short snippet of time, we can "freeze" ultra-fast processes by using femtosecond lasers as a "strobe light".

Overview of Ultrafast Science
As its name indicates, CUOS gathers together scientists who research the ultimate in science & technology related to ultrafast lasers.  Ultrafast science is ultra-short, ultra-precise, ultra-broad, and ultra-intense.

Description of CUOS Activities
Activities at CUOS range from basic scientific research to technological applications that are developed through industrial collaborations.  As part of the University of Michigan and the National Science Foundation, CUOS integrates education with its ground-breaking research efforts, from K-12 outreach through undergraduate and graduate programs.

Why Optics & Lasers to Study Ultrafast Science?
Since the 1960s, lasers have evolved into formidable interdisciplinary tools.  Lasers that produce ultrashort pulses of light are a significant part of that evolution.  The ultimate duration of these pulses is limited only by the period of a single optical wave vibration, which is about 3 femtoseconds (for near-infrared light).  These ultrashort bursts can be used to initiate and subsequently to probe physical processes with razor-sharp timing and accuracy.  Just as Doc Edgerton was able to investigate the intricacies of a golfer's swing by exploiting microsecond-long strobe light pulses, scientists can now implement a similar technique to investigate phenomena at an atomic level over a million times faster through the use of laser pulses.

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