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ERC ADVANCED GRANT AWARDED TO ACP SCIENTIST JENS LIMPERT


On April 12, 2019 the European Research Council (ERC) has announced that one of the highly prestigious ERC Advanced Grants will be awarded to Prof. Jens Limpert, hosted by the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP), for his research proposal on "SALT - High-Flux Synchrotron Alternatives Driven by Powerful Long-Wavelength Fiber Lasers". ERC grants are awarded through open competition to projects headed by young and established top researchers who are working in Europe - the sole criterion for selection is scientific excellence. In particular, ERC Advanced Grants shall boost the independent careers of such excellent researchers by providing adequate support at the critical stage where they have consolidated an independent research team or program. Remarkably, Jens Limpert is the first German researcher to obtain both a Starting (2009), a Consolidator (2014) and an Advanced Grant (2014). The project SALT is funded with 2.5 million EUR for five years.

Jens Limpert and his team would like to expand the application possibilities of high-performance particle accelerators (synchrotrons) by operating frequency-converted fiber lasers in every common laser laboratory in order to simplify the experimental search for answers to innovative questions. Jens Limpert describes the challenge as follows: "High-power radiation sources such as synchrotrons are characterized by their very wide frequency range (from THz to X-rays), which stretches the fields of application to such an extent that revolutionary advances in science and technology have been made possible. However, the use of such synchrotrons is very expensive due to their dimensions and operating costs, so that access to these large-scale research facilities is severely restricted and their performance potential can thus never be fully exploited. On the other hand, the spectral range of direct laser emission is limited." This is to be solved by non-linear frequency conversion of a high-power ultrashort pulse solid-state laser. In addition, highly interesting wavelength dependencies of frequency conversion will be investigated and exploited to generate a hitherto unthinkable high photon flux in the important spectral ranges of the mid-infrared, THz and soft X-ray regions. This enables nothing less than a multitude of forward-looking discoveries and breakthroughs, such as novel approaches for the non-destructive investigation of complex materials or the detection of diseases in living organisms using state-of-the-art spectroscopy.

Furthermore, shifting the emission to longer wavelengths can release a hidden power scaling potential of fiber lasers by relaxing nonlinear and thermal constraints. If this could be achieved, it would mean a revolution in the power level of ultrashort pulse fiber lasers. "I am deeply convinced that Thulium-doped fiber lasers emitting at around 2 μm wavelength will outperform and replace the mature and record-holding Ytterbium-doped counterparts in the future," stated the former and new ERC grant holder.

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>> link to the official press release by the FSU Jena

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