• Technical Conference:  04 – 09 May 2025
  • The CLEO Hub: 06 – 08 May 2025

SC149 - Foundations of Nonlinear Optics

Sunday, 05 May
13:30 - 17:30

Short Course Level: Beginner and Intermediate


Robert Fisher, R. A. Fisher Associates, USA

Short Course Description:

This course provides the basic concepts of nonlinear optics. Although some mathematical formulas are provided, the emphasis is on simple explanations. It is recognized that the beginning practitioner in nonlinear optics is overwhelmed by a constellation of complicated nonlinear optical effects, including second-harmonic generation, optical Kerr effect, self-focusing, self-phase modulation, self-steepening, fiber optic solitons, chirping, stimulated Raman and Brillouin scattering and photorefractive phenomena. It is our job in this course to demystify this daunting collection of seemingly unrelated effects by developing simple and clear explanations for how each works, and learning how each effect can be used for the modification, manipulation or conversion of light pulses. Examples will address the nonlinear optical effects that occur inside optical fibers and those that occur in liquids, bulk solids and gases. This course will incorporate the creation of cartoons to lock in the basic concepts.

Short Course Benefits:

This course will enable you to:

  • Explain and manipulate the Slowly-Varying Envelope Approximation (SVEA)
  • Recognize what nonlinear events come into play in different effects
  • Appreciate the intimate relationship between nonlinear events which at first appear quite different
  • Discuss how a variety of different nonlinear events arise and how they affect the propagation of light
  • Describe how wavematching, phase-matching and index matching are related
  • Summarize how self-phase modulation impresses “chirping” on pulses
  • Explain basic two-beam interactions in photorefractive materials
  • Develop an appreciation for the extremely broad variety of ways in which materials exhibit nonlinear behavior
Short Course Audience:

This preparatory course might embolden some who would otherwise avoid taking any of these more advanced courses. At this same conference, you can take SC149 and any of the more advanced Nonlinear Optics courses: SC396, SC361 and SC378.


Instructor Biography:

Robert A. Fisher is a private consultant with interests in nonlinear optics, carbon dioxide lasers, molecular spectroscopy, X-Ray lasers, optical phase conjugation and modern optics. He is a fellow of Optica and SPIE, as well as a senior member of the IEEE. He was a member of the Board of Directors of SPIE (2002-2004). He has authored more than 60 publications. Fisher is the editor of the book Optical Phase Conjugation. He is a past associate editor for the journals Applied Optics, and Optics Letters; and he has chaired six SPIE Conferences on Nonlinear Optics. He was a topical editor for Optics Letters, the chair of Optica's Excellence in Engineering Award Committee, on SPIE's Scholarship Committee and on the 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 CLEO Program Nonlinear Optics Subcommittees, which he chaired in 2006 and 2007. He was Program Co-Chair for CLEO 2010 and was General Co-Chair for CLEO 2012 (now renamed 2012 CLEO: Science and Innovations). He has served the legal community several times as an Expert Witness, including serving on the winning side in obtaining a USD 800,000 judgement for the victim of a false drunken driving arrest, serving the winning side in a class action lawsuit that settled for USD 1 Billion dollars and serving on the winning side of an Optical Phase Conjugation dispute. He served as co-Chair of the CLEO Course Committee 2015-2020. In the Fall of 2017, he was nominated by the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) as Mentor of the Year and became one of the top 5 finalists in that category.