Ya Cheng

Ya Cheng
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Ya Cheng

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Physics - Optics (41)
Physics - Atomic Physics (7)
Physics - Plasma Physics (3)
Physics - Instrumentation and Detectors (3)
High Energy Physics - Experiment (2)
Physics - Materials Science (2)
Physics - Mesoscopic Systems and Quantum Hall Effect (1)

Publications Authored By Ya Cheng

Femtosecond laser micromachining provides high precision and less thermal diffusion in surface structuring as a result of the ultrashort temporal duration and ultrahigh peak intensity of the femtosecond laser pulses. To increase the throughput of surface patterning, the focal spot size can be expanded with loose focusing, which, however, could lead to nonlinear self-focusing of the pulses when the pulses propagate in air. We solve the problem by use of spatiotemporally focused femtosecond laser pulses for ablation of metal surfaces, which gives rise to improved surface quality as compared with that obtained with the conventional focusing scheme. Read More

We report on an investigation of simultaneous generation of several narrow-bandwidth laser-like coherent emissions from nitrogen molecular ions ( ) produced in intense mid-infrared laser fields. With systematic examinations on the dependences of coherent emissions on gas pressure as well as several laser parameters including laser intensity, polarization and wavelength of the pump laser pulses, we reveal that the multiple coherent emission lines generated in originate from a series of nonlinear processes beginning with four-wave mixing, followed with stimulated Raman scattering. Our analyses further show that the observed nonlinear processes are greatly enhanced at the resonant wavelengths, giving rise to high conversion efficiencies from the infrared pump laser pulses to the coherent emission lines near the transition wavelengths between the different vibrational energy levels of ground X and that of the excited B states. Read More

The electronic structure and optical absorption spectrum of V^{0} and V^{-} center in MgO are investigated using first-principles calculations based on density functional theory. It is demonstrated that the configuration with distortion is energetically favorable in PBE0 functional. The six O atoms around Mg vacancy are non-equivalent due to the distortion. Read More

We demonstrate integrating a high quality factor lithium niobate microdisk resonator with a free-standing membrane waveguide. Our technique is based on femtosecond laser direct writing which produces the pre-structure, followed by focused ion beam milling which reduces the surface roughness of sidewall of the fabricated structure to nanometer scale. Efficient light coupling between the integrated waveguide and microdisk was achieved, and the quality factor of the microresonator was measured as high as 1. Read More

We demonstrate electro-optic tuning of an on-chip lithium niobate microresonator with integrated in-plane microelectrodes. First two metallic microelectrodes on the substrate were formed via femtosecond laser process. Then a high-Q lithium niobate microresonator located between the microelectrodes was fabricated by femtosecond laser direct writing accompanied by focused ion beam milling. Read More

Writing optical waveguides with femtosecond laser pulses provides the capability of forming three-dimensional photonic circuits for manipulating light fields in both linear and nonlinear manners. To fully explore this potential, large depths of the buried waveguides in transparent substrates are often desirable to facilitate achieving vertical integration of waveguides in a multi-layer configuration, which, however, is hampered by rapidly degraded axial resolution caused by optical aberration. Here, we show that with the correction of the spherical aberration, polarization-independent waveguides can be inscribed in a nonlinear optical crystal lithium niobate (LN) at depths up to 1. Read More

We report on fabrication of three dimensional (3D) microstructures in glass with isotropic spatial resolutions. To achieve high throughput fabrication, we expand the focal spot size with a low-numerical-aperture lens, which naturally results in a degraded axial resolution. We solve the problem with simultaneous spatial temporal focusing which leads to an isotropic laser-affected volume with a spatial resolution of ~100 micron. Read More

Generation of free-space laser-like emissions of high spatiotemporal coherence and narrow bandwidth in atmosphere opens promising opportunities for remote spectroscopic sensing. Here, we report on generation of such laser-like emissions, which results from the combined contributions of perturbative and non-perturbative nonlinear optical effects in nitrogen molecules exposed to intense mid-infrared laser fields. We systematically investigate the dependence of the generated free-space laser spectrum on wavelength and power of the driver laser. Read More

We report on fabrication of depressed cladding optical waveguides buried in lithium niobate crystal with shaped femtosecond laser pulses. Depressed cladding waveguides of variable mode-field sizes are fabricated by forming the four sides of the cladding using a slit-beam shaping technique. We show that the waveguides fabricated by our technique allows single-mode propagation of the light polarized in both vertical and horizontal directions. Read More

Reactor neutrino experiments build large-scale detector systems to detect neutrinos. In liquid scintillator, a neutral bound state of a positron and an electron, named positronium, can be formed. The spin triplet state is called ortho-positronium (o-Ps). Read More

We report on fabrication of tubular optical waveguides buried in ZBLAN glass based on transverse femtosecond laser direct writing. Irradiation in ZBLAN with focused femtosecond laser pulses leads to decrease of refractive index in the modified region. Tubular optical waveguides of variable mode areas are fabricated by forming the four sides of the cladding with slit-shaped femtosecond laser pulses, ensuring single mode waveguiding with a mode field dimension as small as ~ 4 {\mu}m. Read More

Introducing an isolated intermediate band (IB) into a wide band gap semiconductor can potentially improve the optical absorption of the material beyond the Shockley-Queisser limitation for solar cells. Here, we present a systematic study of the thermodynamic stability, electronic structures, and optical properties of transition metals (M = Ti, V, and Fe) doped CuAlSe2 for potential IB thin film solar cells, by adopting the first-principles calculation based on the hybrid functional method. We found from chemical potential analysis that for all dopants considered, the stable doped phase only exits when the Al atom is substituted. Read More

We experimentally investigate generation of molecular nitrogen-ion lasers with two femtosecond laser pulses at different wavelengths. The first pulse serves as the pump which ionizes the nitrogen molecules and excites the molecular ions to excited electronic states. The second pulse serves as the probe which leads to stimulated emission from the excited molecular ions. Read More

We report on experimental observations of formation and evolution of transient plasma produced in fused silica glass with spatiotemporally focused (STF) femtosecond laser pulses using a pump-probe shadow imaging technique. Surprisingly, the observation shows that the track of the plasma is significantly curved, which is attributed to an asymmetric density distribution of the transient plasma produced in the focal volume caused by the pulse front tilt of the STF laser field. Read More

We experimentally investigate the generation of above-threshold harmonics completely from argon atoms on an excited state using mid-infrared femtosecond laser pulses. The highly nonlinear dependences of the observed signal on the pulse energy and polarization of the driver laser pulses indicate its non-perturbative characteristic. Read More

We demonstrate fabrication of a microtoroid resonator of a high-quality (high-Q) factor using femtosecond laser three-dimensional (3D) micromachining. A fiber taper is reliably assembled to the microtoroid using CO2 laser welding. Specifically, we achieve a high Q-factor of 2. Read More

Nonlinear optical processes in whispering gallery mode (WGM) microresonators have attracted much attention. Owing to the strong confinement of light in a small volume, a WGM microresonator can dramatically boost the strength of light field, thereby promoting the nonlinear interaction between the light and the resonator material. However, realization of efficient nonlinear parametric process in microresonators is a challenging issue. Read More

We carry out a combined theoretical and experimental investigation on the population distributions in the ground and excited states of tunnel ionized N2 molecules at various driver wavelengths in the near- and mid-infrared range. Our results reveal that efficient couplings (i.e. Read More

We present direct experimental observation of the morphological evolution during the formation of nanogratings with sub-100-nm periods with the increasing number of pulses. Theoretical simulation shows that the constructive interference of the scattering light from original nanoplanes will create an intensity maximum located between the two adjacent nanoplanes, resulting in shortening of the nanograting period by half. The proposed mechanism enables explaining the formation of nanogratings with periods beyond that predicted by the nanoplasmonic model. Read More

We report on an experimental comparison on critical intensities of nonlinear self-focusing in air with conventional focusing and spatiotemporal focusing schemes. Our results show that the conventional focusing with the focal lens completely filled with the incident beam allows for the strongest axial intensity confinement against the self-focusing effect. This is because that in the high-numerical-aperture condition, the focal spot will have a compact size which results in a high focal intensity. Read More

We experimentally investigate generation of backward 357 nm N2 laser in a gas mixture of N2/Ar using 800-nm femtosecond laser pulses, and examine the involved gain dynamics based on pump-probe measurements. Our findings show that a minimum lifetime of population inversion in the excited N2 molecules is required for generating intense backward nitrogen lasers, which is ~0.8 ns under our experimental conditions. Read More

Aging experiments of a novel type of large area MCP-PMT made by JUNO collaboration were conducted.In these aging experiments, the multi-photoelectron spectrum and single photoelectron spectrum were measured daily,as well as the MCP resistance of the second PMT before and after the experiment. Two PMTs were aged successivelyfor cross check. Read More

We report on fabrication of a microtoroid resonator of high-quality (high-Q) factor integrated with an on-chip microheater. Both the microresonator and microheater are fabricated using femtosecond laser three-dimensional (3D) micromachining. The microheater, which is located about 200 micron away from the microresonator, has a footprint size of 200 micron by 400 micron. Read More

Irradiation of intense ultrafast laser pulses in glasses can lead to formation of nanogratings whose periods are significantly smaller than the incident irradiation wavelength. The mechanism of the exotic phenomenon is still under debate. Here, we access the snapshots of morphologies in the laser affected regions in a porous glass which reveal the evolution of the formation of nanogratings with increasing number of laser pulses. Read More

An investigation of the multi-hundred MeV electron beam yield (charge) form helium, nitrogen, neon and argon gas jet plasmas in a laser-plasma wakefield acceleration experiment was carried out. The charge measurement has been made via imaging the electron beam intensity profile on a fluorescent screen into a 14-bit charge coupled device (CCD) which was cross-calibrated with nondestructive electronics-based method. Within given laser and plasma parameters, we found that laser-driven low Z- gas jet targets generate high-quality and well-collimated electron beams with reasonable yields at the level of 10-100 pC. Read More

We report a laser wakefield acceleration of electron beams up to 130 MeV from laser-driven 4-mm long nitrogen gas jet. By using a moderate laser intensity (3.5*10^18 W. Read More

We report on an experimental measurement of the pulse front tilt (PFT) of spatiotemporally focused femtosecond laser pulses in the focal plane in both air and bulk transparent materials, which is achieved by examination of the interference pattern between the spatiotemporally focused pulse and a conventional focused reference pulse as a function of time delay between the two pulses. Our simulation results agree well with the experimental observations. Read More

We report on fabrication of high Q lithium niobate (LN) whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) microresonators suspended on silica pedestals by femtosecond laser microfabrication. The micrometer-scale (diameter ~82 {\mu}m) LN resonator possesses a Q factor of 2.5x10^5 around 1550 nm wavelength range. Read More

We experimentally demonstrate ultrafast dynamic of generation of a strong 337-nm nitrogen laser by injecting an external seed pulse into a femtosecond laser filament pumped by a circularly polarized laser pulse. In the pump-probe scheme, it is revealed that the population inversion between the excited and ground states of N2 for the free-space 337-nm laser is firstly built up on the timescale of several picoseconds, followed by a relatively slow decay on the timescale of tens of picoseconds, depending on the nitrogen gas pressure. By measuring the intensities of 337-nm signal from nitrogen gas mixed with different concentrations of oxygen gas, it is also found that oxygen molecules have a significant quenching effect on the nitrogen laser signal. Read More

We report on experimental realization of impulsive rotational Raman scattering from neutral nitrogen molecules in a femtosecond laser filament using an intense self-induced white-light seeding "air laser" generated during the filamentation of an 800 nm Ti: Sapphire laser in nitrogen gas. The impulsive rotational Raman fingerprint signals are observed with a maximum conversion efficiency of ~0.8%. Read More

Molecular rotational spectroscopy based on strong-field-ionization-induced nitrogen laser is employed to investigate the time evolution of the rotational wave packet composed by a coherent superposition of quantum rotational states created in a field-free molecular alignment. We show that this technique uniquely allows real-time observation of the ultrafast dynamics of the individual rotational states in the rotational wavepacket. Our analysis also shows that there exist two channels of generation of the nitrogen laser, shedding new light on the population inversion mechanism behind the air laser generated by intense femtosecond laser pulses. Read More

We report on fabrication of on-chip calcium fluoride (CaF2) microdisk resonators using water-assisted femtosecond laser micromachining. Focused ion beam (FIB) milling is used to create ultra-smooth sidewalls. The quality (Q)-factors of the fabricated microresonators are measured to be 4. Read More

We demonstrate unexpectedly strong second harmonic generation (SHG) in Argon gas by use of spatiotemporally focused (SF) femtosecond laser pulses. The resulting SHG by the SF scheme at a 75 cm distance shows a significantly enhanced efficiency than that achieved with conventional focusing scheme, which offers a new promising possibility for standoff applications. Our theoretical calculations reasonably reproduce the experimental observations, which indicate that the observed SHG mainly originates from the gradient of nonuniform plasma dynamically controlled by the SF laser field. Read More

Recently, Yao et al. demonstrated the creation of coherent emissions in nitrogen gas with two-color (800 nm + 400 nm) ultrafast laser pulses [New J. Phys. Read More

Femtosecond laser filament generates strong terahertz (THz) pulse in air. In this paper, THz pulse waveform generated by femtosecond laser filament has been experimentally investigated as a function of the length of the filament. Superluminal propagation of THz pulse has been uncovered, indicating that the filament creates a THz waveguide in air. Read More

Terahertz (THz) imaging provides cutting edge technique in biology, medical sciences and non-destructive evaluation. However, due to the long wavelength of the THz wave, the obtained resolution of THz imaging is normally a few hundred microns and is much lower than that of the traditional optical imaging. We introduce a sub-wavelength resolution THz imaging technique which uses the THz radiation generated by a femtosecond laser filament in air as the probe. Read More

We report, for what we believe to be the first time, on the generation of remote self-seeding laser amplification by using only one 800 nm Ti:Sapphire femtosecond laser pulse. The laser pulse (~ 40 fs) is first used to generate a filament either in pure nitrogen or in ambient air in which population inversion between ground and excited states of nitrogen molecular ions is realized. Self-induced white light inside the filament is then serving as the seed to be amplified. Read More

We investigate the multi-electron dynamics in high-order harmonic generation (HHG) from N2 molecules. Clear spectral minima are observed in the cutoff region at all three mid-infrared wavelengths (i.e. Read More

We report on generation of a rotational wavepacket in the ground vibronic state (v = 0) of excited electronic B2{\Sigma}u+ state of N2+ in a femtosecond laser induced plasma spark. Decoding of the rotational wavepacket is achieved with the frequency-resolved seed-amplified air laser spectrum resulting from the population inversion between the B2{\Sigma}u+-X2{\Sigma}g+ states of N2+ in the plasma. We also observe that the rotational wave-packet leads to modulation of the amplified seed signals in the time domain using a pump-probe scheme, which can be well reproduced by theoretical calculation. Read More

We report on fabrication of whispering-gallery-mode microlasers in a Nd:glass chip by femtosecond laser three-dimensional (3D) micromachining. Main fabrication procedures include the fabrication of freestanding microdisks supported by thin pillars by femtosecond laser ablation of the glass substrate immersed in water, followed by CO2 laser annealing for surface smoothing. Lasing is observed at a pump threshold as low as ~69 {\mu}W at room temperature with a continuous-wave laser diode operating at 780nm. Read More

Study on ionization process of molecules in an intense infrared laser field is of paramount interest in strong-field physics and constitutes the foundation of imaging of molecular valence orbitals and attosecond science. We show measurement of alignment-dependent ionization probabilities of the lower-lying orbitals of the molecules by experimentally detecting alignment-dependence of fluorescence emission from tunnel ionized carbon dioxide molecules. The experimental measurements are compared with the theoretical calculations of strong field approximation (SFA) and molecular ADK models. Read More

We report on controllable production of nanostructures embedded in a porous glass substrate by femtosecond laser direct writing. We show that a hollow nano-void with a lateral size of ~40 nm and an axial size of ~1500 nm can be achieved by manipulating the peak intensity and polarization of the writing laser beam. Our finding enables direct construction of 3D nanofluidics inside glass. Read More

We experimentally demonstrate generation of strong narrow-bandwidth emissions with excellent coherent properties at ~391 nm and ~428 nm from molecular ions of nitrogen inside a femtosecond filament in air by an orthogonally polarized two-color driver field (i. e., 800 nm laser pulse and its second harmonic). Read More

We report on the investigation on harmonic-seeded remote laser emissions at 391 nm wavelength from strong-field ionized nitrogen molecules in three different gas mixtures, i.e., N2-Ar, N2-Xe and N2-Ne. Read More

We report on the fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) high-Q whispering gallery microcavities on a fused silica chip by femtosecond laser microfabriction, enabled by the 3D nature of femtosecond laser direct writing. The processing mainly consists of formation of freestanding microdisks by femtosecond laser direct writing and subsequent wet chemical etching. CO2 laser annealing is followed to smooth the microcavity surface. Read More

We report on the comparative experimental investigation on third and fifth harmonic generation (THG and FHG) in atomic and molecular gases driven by mid-infrared ultrafast laser pulses at a wavelength of ~1500 nm. We observe that the conversion efficiencies of both the THG and FHG processes saturate at similar peak intensities close to ~1.5\times1014 W/cm2 for argon, nitrogen, and air, whose ionization potentials are close to each other. Read More

Nowadays, via controlling surface plasmons (SPs) on elaborate man-made structures, plasmonics aiming at manipulating light beyond the diffraction limit has aroused great interest. Here, nevertheless, we demonstrate in short-pulse laser ablation ultrafast active plasmonic structures spontaneously generate in virtue of plasmonic effects rather than human ingenuity. First, the splitting of laser-induced subwavelength gratings that is experimentally evidenced on ZnO, Si, and GaAs, is confirmed to originate in the conversion of SP modes from the resonant to the nonresonant mode and further to the inphase or antiphase asymmetric mode. Read More

We report on the generation of intense extreme ultraviolet (EUV) supercontinuum with photon energies spanning from 35 eV to 50 eV (i. e., supporting an isolated attosecond pulse with a duration of ~271 as) by loosely focusing 35 fs, 11 mJ pulses from a femtosecond laser amplifier into a 10-mm long gas cell filled with krypton gas. Read More