Slow light is light that travels at unusual, extreme group velocities—sometimes as slow as walking speed or slower. Light waves can be described by many velocities, but for a narrow-band pulse of light (a carrier frequency modulated by an envelope), the group velocity is the speed of the pulse envelope. The term slow light also encompasses other exotic group velocities due to similar techniques, including fast light, stopped light, and backwards light. The science of slow light has been established over the past several years, and research attention is now turning to potential applications of slow light.
One application of slow light is as an all-optical true-time delay. Two slow light methods in optical fibers, stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) and dispersive delay, are used to provide a controllable pulse delay in a prototype slow-light phased-array laser radar, called SLIDAR. These slow light methods compensate the group delay mismatch of pulses of 6 ns duration while the phased array is steered in two dimensions. A phase control system is described that maintains phase lock among three signal channels and a reference channel, each containing 2.2 km of optical fiber, while accommodating the demands of the slow light techniques. Residual phase error is kept below π /5 radians (1/10 wave) RMS.
Slow light can also enhance the spectral sensitivity of spectrometers and interferometers. A design for a slow-light-enhanced nanophotonic spectrometer is presented. One important use of spectrometers is to detect specific chemicals, and I describe an approach to multivariate optical computation, which can be used for automatic chemical spectrum recognition. This technique, which could one day be implemented with a slow-light-enhanced spectrometer as a single-chip chemical detection platform, is explored experimentally in the visible spectrum using a spatial light modulator.
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|Advisor:||Boyd, Robert W.|
|Commitee:||Berger, Andrew J., Howell, John C., Stroud, Carlos R.|
|School:||University of Rochester|
|Department:||Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||LIDAR, Multivariate optical computing, Optical phase control, Slow light, Spatial light modulator, Spectrum recognition|
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