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Nonlinear optics is nowadays one of the most active fields of research in Physics and Engineering. Since the discovery of the laser in the sixties, which allowed the early studies on the response of materials on high power electromagnetic fields. Nonlinear Optics has developed nowadays to a wide extent, involving fundamental research in the study of light-matter interaction and applicative research in the cutting edge domains of future technologies, such as photonics, optical communications systems, optical storage and interconnect, biomedical imaging and art diagnostics.

LAFER is a laboratory devoted to developing a series of research activities in the field of Liquid crystal Nonlinear Optics and especially on the study of the complex spatiotemporal dynamics and defects dynamics that arise in spatially extended systems when a significant degree of interconnection is established between different parts of the optical wavefront.

Lafer has founded in mid-2012 thanks to the project between the French and Chilean government ANR-39 CONICYT, and financial support from FONDECYT, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matematicas and the Department of Physics at the University of Chile. This adventure has been developed through the scientific support of international partners Stefania Residori and Umberto Bortolozzo (INLN, Nice, France) and Eric Louvergneaux (Lille, France). At present, the laboratory has been economically supported by the FONDECYT and  Millennium Institute for Research in Optics (MIRO).

LAFER is located in the basement of the DFI building, with a surface of 20 m2. It has a 1x2 m2 optical table with actuators to reduce vibration, a V2 green laser (Verdi 2, CW, 532 nm, monomode), two probe red laser (Thorlabs 24 mW, CW, 630, monomode), Cobolt Modulated Laser Diode 445nm 80 mW, 6 CCD cameras with motorized capabilities, 3 Spatial Light Modulator (Holoeye, 400x720 pix, Transmission), two amplifier bipolar (Tabor electronic), three microscope with mounted CCD camera, analyzers, thermal control (Mod. TST350E c/4 conectores Elect) and filters oriented to the use of liquid crystals (Olympus BX51, Leica DM2700P), 4 power stations to control and analyze data, and optical devices, mounts, splitters, polarizers and lenses (up to 150k USD in optics with a wide range of properties) to create new experimental setups (including a nonlinear optical valve with nonlinear feedback including a fiber bundle).

Currently, in this laboratory, four setup are implemented: a liquid crystal light valve with optical feedback, a dye-doped liquid crystal cells under intense rays of light, cells with carved electrodes and nematic liquid crystal cells to study the vortices dynamics.

Keywords: Optical pattern formation, phase singularities, phase transition, front propagation, defects dynamics, light induces phenomena, photo-isomerization, and rare events in optical liquid crystals.

 

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