At the optical table (breadboard) where much of my experimental work from 2015 through 2018 was performed.

I am currently (August 2019) a Senior Mong postdoctoral fellow, working in the group of Peter McMahon in Cornell's Applied Physics department. Previously I was a visiting postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University in Hideo Mabuchi's group, and at the National Institute of Informatics. From August 2013 through September 2018, I was a PhD student Frank Wise's group in Applied Physics at Cornell University.

Some items of interest:

  1. A complete list of my academic publications can be viewed here, via Google Scholar.
  2. The research group of Peter McMahon website
  3. The research group of Hideo Mabuchi website
  4. Several videos, including recorded talks on my research, can be found on my youtube channel. Two which are for (very) educated laypeople are this one, on self-organization of light in spacetime, and this one, a now very out-dated overview of research on multimode nonlinear fiber optics (still a good introduction).
  5. The research group of Frank Wise website
  6. I can be contacted through email: LGW32[at]cornell.edu

About my research and a bit about myself

The rainbow of radiation emitted by multimode optical solitons as they undergo oscillations in spacetime, dispersed using a diffraction grating onto a piece of white paper. These are described this paper, after initially being reported as a curious mystery in this one.

Research topic: nonlinear optics in multimode fibers

During my PhD, my research focused on nonlinear optics in multimode fibers and high peak power ultrashort-pulsed fiber lasers. More evocatively and intuitively, albeit slightly less rigorously, nonlinear optics in multimode fibers could be described as nonlinear optics in interdimensional spacetime, since the physics are essentially 4-dimensional light propagation (3 space + 1 time) where two of the spatial dimensions are constrained by the fiber. This is also practically a great place to do physics, since we can utilize many developed technologies related to telecommunications (the optical fibers themselves, for example, typically cost ~1 USD per meter).

MATLAB code that uses GPUs to accelerate the simulation of multimode pulse propagation can be found here.

A recorded presentation on this topic is this one on multimode fiber lasers

Several relevant publications:

  • L.G. Wright, Z.M. Ziegler, P.M. Lushnikov, Z. Zhu, M.A. Eftekhar, D.N. Christodoulides, and F.W. Wise (2018) “Multimode Nonlinear Fiber Optics: Massively Parallel Numerical Solver, Tutorial and Outlook,” IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 24 (3), 1-16.
  • L.G. Wright, Z. Liu, D.A. Nolan, M.-J. Li, D.N. Christodoulides, and F.W. Wise (2016) “Self-organized instability in graded-index multimode fibres,” Nature Photonics 10, 771–776.
  • L.G. Wright, S. Wabnitz, D.N. Christodoulides, and F.W. Wise (2015) “Ultrabroadband Dispersive Radiation by Spatiotemporal Oscillation of Multimode Waves,” Physical Review Letters 115 (22), 223902.
  • L.G. Wright, D.N. Christodoulides, and F.W. Wise (2015) “Controllable spatiotemporal nonlinear effects in multimode fibres,” Nature Photonics 9 (5), 306-310.
  • L.G. Wright, W.H. Renninger, D.N. Christodoulides, and F.W. Wise (2015) “Spatiotemporal dynamics of multimode optical solitons,” Optics Express 23 (3), 3492-3506.
  • L.G. Wright, D.N. Christodoulides, and F.W. Wise (2017) “Spatiotemporal mode-locking in multimode fiber lasers,” Science 358 (6359), 94-97.

The evolution of a pulse's temporal profile, spectrum and spatial profile within a high power multimode mode-locked laser (simulated using a simplified, relatively speaking, spatiotemporal generalized nonlinear Schrödinger equation). Adapted from this paper, which has more details.

Research topic: high power ultrashort-pulsed fiber lasers

The development of high power ultrafast fiber lasers meanwhile boils down to trying to make the shortest laser pulses (about 100 millionths of a billionths of a second, or 100 fs) with the highest power (>1 million watts), and at useful wavelengths, all by exploiting new laser physics in long pieces of glass (i.e., the optical fibers), typically containing dissolved rare-earth ions like Yb or Er. Despite their fantastic features, these lasers can be made quite small, quite cheap and quite tough (relative to other kinds of lasers). Increasingly, people like to use them for three-dimensional microscopy of biological samples and precision micromanufacturing.

The combination of the extremely high optical peak power, and the extremely tiny size of the fiber core, however, means that the light interacts with the medium nonlinearly: its huge electric fields change the medium's optical properties which in turn affects the light's propagation. This makes the design of ultrafast fiber lasers an intricate art and science of nonlinear optical waves, known as solitons, similaritons, and so on. The ultrafast fiber laser thus exemplifies the symbiotic superposition of applied physics: new nonlinear optical physics translating immediately into better fiber lasers, and with new fiber lasers serving as convenient little laboratories for studying fundamental physics of nonlinear waves and dynamics.

Recorded presentations on gain-switched-diode-based high-power femtosecond pulses, and Mamyshev oscillators.

Several relevant publications on this topic:

  • L.G. Wright, D.N. Christodoulides, and F.W. Wise (2017) “Spatiotemporal mode-locking in multimode fiber lasers,” Science 358 (6359), 94-97.
  • W. Fu, L.G. Wright, and F.W. Wise (2017) “High-power femtosecond pulses without a modelocked laser,” Optica 4 (7), 831-834.
  • Z. Liu, Z. Ziegler, L.G. Wright, and F.W. Wise (2017) “Megawatt peak power from a Mamyshev oscillator,” Optica 4 (6), 649-654.
  • Y. Tang, L.G. Wright, K. Charan, T. Wang, C. Xu, and F.W. Wise (2016) “Generation of intense 100 fs solitons tunable from 2 to 4.3 μm in fluoride fiber,” Optica 3 (9), 948-951.

Earlier research

Previously, I was an undergraduate student at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in the Engineering Physics program. During that time, I worked with James Fraser (on automated laser materials processing using coherent optical imaging), Simon Hesp (on asphalt binder chemistry), and Kevin Resch (on single-photon nonlinear optics). Before that I was an 'underundergraduate' in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada. During this time I contributed to a couple anthology books on popular science, "1001 Inventions That Changed the World", and "Defining Moments in Science", and of course classically Canadian activities like playing outdoor ice hockey and visiting Moose Jaw.

Several relevant publications on these topics:

  • P.J.L. Webster, L.G. Wright, Y. Ji, C.M. Galbraith, A.W. Kinross, C. Van Vlack, and J.M. Fraser (2014) “Automatic laser welding and milling with in situ inline coherent imaging,” Optics Letters 39 (21), 6217-6220.
  • P.J.L. Webster, L.G. Wright, K.D. Mortimer, B.Y.C. Leung, J.X.Z. Yu and J.M. Fraser (2011) “Automatic real-time guidance of laser machining with inline coherent imaging,” Journal of Laser Applications 23, 022001.
  • J. Lavoie, J.M. Donohue, L.G. Wright, A. Fedrizzi, and K.J. Resch (2013) “Spectral compression of single photons,” Nature Photonics 7 (5), 363-366.
  • L.G. Wright, A. Kanabar, E. Moult, S. Rubab and S.A.M Hesp (2011) “Chemical Aging of Asphalt Cements from a Northern Ontario Pavement Trial,” International Journal of Pavement Research and Technology 4, 259-268