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New light for new science and technology

The new era of photonics began with the development of the laser in 1960, which has been hailed as one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century. This new light has led to tremendous advances in science and technology.

Visible light lasers have a wavelength of approximately 0.5 µm and an energy of 2.5eV. They are used for fine processing, digital communications and other fields that take advantage of their strengths in terms of directionality and focusability because lasers emit coherent light. Further, the applications of lasers are still evolving. For example, not only can they be used to heat and accelerate electrons up to 109eV or higher, but attosecond lasers are currently being developed that will allow us to observe the movements of individual electrons. Lasers can also be used to cool atoms down to 10-9eV, making ultra-precision measurement and manipulation of atoms possible.

In addition, the wavelengths of lasers are expanding. While attosecond lasers, which emit light in the soft X-ray spectrum, are being extended to ever shorter wavelengths, terahertz radiation at the edge of the radio spectrum, with longer wavelengths than visible light, are making it possible to image samples with transillumination. We are also gaining the ability to visualize ever smaller spaces with the visible spectrum, which in the past had severe limits.

Photon science continues to advance as seen in terms of energy, time, wavelength and space, with no limits in sight. The mission of the Center for Advanced Photnics is to expand the horizons in all these direction in order to create new science and technology.