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Year of Light and Centenary of Relativity

“55 Years on: Towards a Dominion of Coherent Light over Matter”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ömer İlday
Bilkent University

Date: April 22, 2015 (Wednesday)
Time: 15:40
Place: Physics Department Seminar Room SA 240

ABSTRACT- On May 16, 1960, Theodore H. Maiman operated the first functioning laser. Since then the field of lasers has expanded to have enormous impact in broad areas of science, technology, and industry. One of the first applications was to modify matter, which has blossomed since then. Laser can be thought of as a very precise torch, offering rapid delivery of thermal energy into a precise location. However, laser light can also induce transitions in the atoms of its target, opening up many additional possibilities.

Today laser technology is ubiquitous and well known to the lay person, who would associate its with its futuristic portrayal as a weapons system and more realistically, would appreciate its medical applications. Indeed, in addition to constituting a multi-billion dollar industrial and medical market, laser-material processing now goes much beyond machining of parts. Particularly with the use of ultrashort-pulsed lasers, high-precision modification of matter is extending both deep into the sub-micron, with striking demonstrations such as nanosurgery inside of biological cell, as well as the third dimension via ultrahigh-precision 3D printing.

After reviewing the exciting developments in laser physics, laser technology, and applications, I will talk about our recent work, where we have explicitly exploiting nonlinear and nonlocal interactions of laser and matter to create self-organized nanostructures on various surfaces as well as diverse 3D microstructures within the bulk. In fact, we are just beginning to understand the full potential of the laser and its nonlinear interactions with matter: I will conclude by showing parts of an ongoing study, where we use a laser to guide self-assembly, as a small step on route to a Star Trek-style 3D material synthesizer of complex materials with pre-programmed structure.