Willing waves as you wish:
technologies involving light and sound

Searching for new planets

Searching for new planets
1010 times faster than this!

1010 times faster than this!
Laser beam

Laser beam
100000 Hz ears

100000 Hz ears
Ripples on crystals

Ripples on crystals
Can you test its insides?

Can you test its insides?

* Click image to enlarge.

When you hear the word ‘wave’, most people think of surfing or an elaborate hair style. Arguably more important to human life are however light and sound waves that support our two primary senses.

Light and sound waves are being put to good use in our Graduate School.

Incredibly fast: you struggle with your eyes to see movement in 100 milliseconds; how about trying to distinguish 10-15 s! This is being done and we have on different occasions achieved the world’s shortest visible light pulses.

Just like an expensive camera that can freeze high speed motions, our 10-15 second camera can capture molecules in motion or whizzing electrons in atoms.

Incredibly high pitch: with your ears you can distinguish sounds up to 20000 cycles/second (Hz). Bats can hear up to 100000 Hz. We are using sound pulses up to 1000000000000 Hz! (1012 Hz) to look into tiny structures with micron or nanometer (10-6-10-9 m) dimensions. These micro- or nano-structures are used in everything from electronics to cellphones.

We also use these sound pulses to watch tiny ripples travelling on crystals, just like water waves travel over the sea, but a million times smaller.

Incredibly far: using light that has travelled across the cosmos we are searching for new extrasolar planets with long baseline interferometry. In this way we eliminate the light from the host star to home in on the planet itself.