U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Laser Principles and Devices course

Sponsoring University:

Colorado State University


Laser Principles and Devices


Jorge Rocca, Mario Marconi and Carmen Menoni, Colorado State University; Shukui Zhang, Jefferson Lab

Purpose and Audience
The purpose of this course is to introduce basic laser principles and to review key issues in the design and implementation of high power lasers, including solid state ultrashort pulse lasers, and  ultrashort wavelength lasers. The course is intended for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, who seek an introductory course relevant to understanding current laser technology of interest to accelerators.


Required: Electromagnetism, basic optics concepts. Useful but not required: atomic physics.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.

The course is oriented to acquire the basic concepts related to both the physics fundamentals and the engineering involved in the design of high power laser devices.  The course will start with the fundamental atomic physics and optics concepts underlying laser generation, amplification, and beam formation and propagation. It will evolve in describing the main aspects involved in the design of modern high power laser systems of interest to accelerators.

Instructional Method
The course will consist of 20 modules each one 2.5 hours.  The modules include 16 lectures, 2 laboratory visits illustrating basic laser concepts covered in the course, and 2 exams. In addition the course will include 4 homework problem sets.

Course Content
Concept of laser amplification in an inverted atomic media, gain, gain saturation, different laser media. Gaussian beams, optical resonators design and properties. High power laser optics  design and fabrication.  Flash-lamp pumped and diode pumped solid state lasers. Ultra-short laser pulse generation and amplification techniques, pulse compression, and ultrafast measurements. Ultrashort wavelength laser generation. Examples of applications of interest to accelerator technology and accelerator physics will be given.

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by the USPAS) "Laser Electronics", by Joseph Verdeyen, Prentice Hall, 1995. Notes will be provided by the instructors.

Additional but optional reading:
Anthony Siegman. “Lasers”, University Science Books
William Silfvast. “Laser Fundamentals”, Oxford University Press
Walter Koechner. “Solid State Laser Engineering”, Springer Verlag

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on performance as follows: Two exams, one at the end of each of the two weeks (30% of final grade each), and 4 homework assignments (40% of final grade).

Colorado State University course number: ENGR 697 Group Study: Laser Principles and Devices
Indiana University course number: Physics 571
Michigan State University course number: PHY 963
MIT course number: 8.790 "Accelerator Physics"