When intense ultrashort laser pulses interact with matter, new physics are observed. The properties of the medium are changed and the interacting light may change colour, from THz to soft X-rays. These effects are heightened if we are able to shape to the laser pulses into "bullets" of light. Our research revolves around the generation and control of these light bullets so as to reach extreme and novel light-matter interaction regimes. This allows to study “extreme” physics without the need to resort to “extreme” lasers.
An exciting application is the study of black-hole physics and quantum electrodynamics in curved space-time geometries. Properly controlled and intense laser pulses will create the analogue of an event horizon that may thus be studied in the laboratory. Other areas of related research are strong-field physics and the generation of table-top X-ray sources and attosecond laser pulses, novel laser sources and, in general, light-matter interaction in extreme conditions.
Hawking radiation from ultrashort laser pulse filaments, Physical Review Letters, vol. 105, p. 203901 (2010)
Quantum radiation from superluminal refractive index perturbations, Physical Review Letters, vol. 104, p. 140403 (2010)
Space-time geometries and light trapping in travelling refractive index perturbations, New Journal of Physics, vol. 12, p. 095021 (2010)
Spatio-temporal Amplitude and Phase Retrieval of Bessel-X pulses using a Hartmann-Shack sensor, Optics Express, vol. 17, p. 9804 (2009)
Finite energy accelerating Bessel pulses, Optics Express, vol. 16, p. 19807 (2008)
Stimulated Raman X-waves in ultrashort optical pulse filamentation, Optics Letters, vol. 32, p. 184 (2007)
Spatio-temporal reshaping and X-Wave dynamics in optical filaments, Optics Express, vol. 15, p. 13077 (2007)
Conical emission, pulse splitting and X-wave parametric amplification in the nonlinear dynamics of ultrashort laser pulses, Physical Review Letters, vol. 96, p. 193901 (2006)
Daniele Faccio was born in London, 1973. Ho obtained a Degree in Physics from the University of Milano, Italy in 1998, an MPhil from the Optolectronics Research Centre (ORC), Southampton in 2001 and a PhD in Physics from the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France in 2007. He has worked for a number of years in the optical telecommunications industry (Pirelli Labs and Corning 2001-2004) and has worked as a visiting scientist/professor at a number of Universities over the past years (MIT, Boston – 2003, FORTH Laser Institute, Crete -2008, 2010) and was Adjunct Professor at the University of Insubria, Como, Italy from 2004 to 2010. He joined Heriot-Watt University in November 2010 and is currently leading the Extreme Light group.