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Clifford Paterson Lecture

By Professor Wilson Sibbett CBE FRS

University of St Andrews

Some lasers can be operated to produce optical impulses that last for just a few billionths of a microsecond. In this extemely short timescale, we can watch simple molecules disintegrate into their constituent atoms and take snapshots of light travelling through biological tissue. Importantly, from a technology point of view, we can also use these ultrafast lasers to micro-machine hard materials such as titanium and tantalum for use as clinical implants or reshape softer corneal tissue for corrective surgery in the eye.

In this talk, Wilson Sibbett will introduce some of the underlying concepts that have enabled us to develop practical ultrafast lasers and a selection of applications that range from the fundamentals of chemical bonding to weapons decommissioning.