Plenary Session

Ursula Keller

Physics Department, ETH Zurich and Director, National Center of Competence in Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology (NCCR MUST)

Theme:”Recent advances in SESAM-modelocked high-power thin disk lasers”



High-power lasers delivering multi-100-W average power have led to revolutions in areas such as high-speed micromachining and high-repetition-rate sources for attosecond science. Amongst the competing technologies for high power ultrafast sources, thin disk oscillators stand out as offering excellent beam quality and noise properties, multi-MHz repetition rates, and high power directly from a relatively compact laser oscillator cavity. Thus, bypassing the complexity of ultrafast amplifiers. However, until now this potential advantage has been offset by a significant issue: the best performance at the output of a thin-disk oscillator were only possible operating the laser in a vacuum environment. This is due to the high intracavity peak power in these oscillators, which causes a large amount of self-phase-modulation (SPM) picked up in the intracavity air. We will review the current status of this laser technology and the future outlook.


Ursula Keller has been a tenured professor of physics at ETH Zurich since 1993 (, and serves as a director of the Swiss research program NCCR MUST in ultrafast science since 2010 ( She received a “Diplom” at ETH Zurich in 1984, a Ph.D. at Stanford University USA in 1989, was a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs USA 1989 to 1993. She has been a co-founder and board member for Time-Bandwidth Products (acquired by JDSU in 2014) and for GigaTera (acquired by Time-Bandwidth in 2003). Her research interests are exploring and pushing the frontiers in ultrafast science and technology. Awards include the European Inventor Award for lifetime achievement (2018), IEEE Photonics Award (2018), OSA Charles H. Townes Award (2015), LIA Arthur L. Schawlow Award (2013), ERC advanced grant (2012 and 2018), EPS Senior Prize (2011), OSA Fraunhofer/Burley Prize (2008), Leibinger Innovation Prize (2004), and Zeiss Research Award (1998). She supervised and graduated 76 Ph.D. students, published 449 journal publications and has more than 22’000 citations and h-index of 77 (Web of Science, 25. Oct. 2018).

Ruxin Li

Director, Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Theme:”The 10PW and 100PW lasers: paving the way for exploring the next frontier of high field physics”



The development of ultra-high-peak-power ultrafast laser facilities worldwide has entered a new stage. There are several projects in either the preparatory phase or the implementation phase for delivering 10PW and even 100-200PW laser pulses. I will review this unprecedented advancement of high intensity ultrafast lasers and update the progress of 10PW Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF) which will be ready in the beginning of 2019 and then opened to users. The project of Station of Extreme Light (SEL) under the Shanghai Coherent Light Facility (SHINE) will be introduced. SHINE is a super conducting XFEL facility. As one of stations of SHINE, SEL will be equipped a 100PW laser system. SEL attempts to make use of the two kinds of most intense lasers, i.e. the 100PW optical laser and the TW level hard x-ray laser. The combination of the hard XFEL and the 100PW laser will initiate exploration of vacuum birefringence and other interesting science.


Ruxin Li received the Ph.D. degree in 1995 from Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He has been serving as the director of SIOM since 2009. He was the director of State Key Laboratory of High Field Laser Physics (2005-2015). He is the Vice President and a Fellow of Chinese Optical Society, a Fellow of the Optical Society of America. He is a member of International Committee on Ultra High Intensity Lasers. He was the Chair of Asian Intense Laser Network (2010.10-2014.11). His research interests include high intensity ultrafast laser, laser acceleration of electrons and ions, high order harmonic generation and filamentation nonlinear optics.

Mike Dunne

Director, LCLS
Associate Laboratory Director, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Professor of Photon Science, Stanford University

Theme:”‘A billion times brighter’: An overview of the revolution underway in X-ray science”


The past decade has seen the emergence of X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs) as a powerful new tool, able to produce atomic resolution ‘movies’ of how atomic, chemical and biological systems evolve on ultrafast timescales. This opens up revolutionary opportunities for the study of next-generation pharmaceuticals, energy technology, quantum materials, catalysis, and the physics of the stars and planets. XFEL facilities like the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) deliver femtosecond duration X-ray pulses with a peak brilliance over 9 orders of magnitude higher than synchrotron sources, with surprising degrees of flexibility for tailoring the source properties. This field is now entering another step-change, with billion-dollar investment to increase the repetition rate from ~100 Hz to 1 MHz – opening up wholly new opportunities for precision science. The high average power beams will be able to track rare and transient phenomena, or study heterogeneous systems with stochastic properties, isolated defects or buried interfaces. Access to LCLS is free and open to everyone, with over 1000 researchers from around the world selected purely on the scientific merit of the proposed experiments. This talk will cover recent progress and an provide an outlook on the major developments underway in this field.


Mike Dunne is Director of LCLS, the world’s first “hard x-ray free electron laser facility”. He is a Professor of Photon Science at Stanford University and an Associate Laboratory Director at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Mike has substantial experience in the design, construction and operation of a wide variety of photon science research facilities. Prior to joining SLAC, he was director for Laser Fusion Energy, working with the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He served as Director of the United Kingdom’s Central Laser Facility (CLF), where he was also the international project leader for the European laser fusion project HiPER, involving a consortium of 26 institutions across 10 countries. Mike spent 10 years at AWE Aldermaston leading their plasma science research group, after having received his PhD in plasma physics from Imperial College London.

Yoshihisa Yamamoto

Program Manager of ImPACT Program, Japan Science and Technology Agency

Theme:”Quantum Neural Network – Coherent Ising Machine, XY Machine and Recurrent Neural Network”



We will present the basic concept, operational principle and observed performance of a novel computing machine based on the network of degenerate optical parametric oscillators. The developed machine has 2048 spins with all-to-all connections and is now available as a cloud system via internet.

There are at least three quantum computing models proposed today: unitary quantum computation, adiabatic quantum computation and dissipative quantum computation. A gate model quantum computer implements the unitary quantum computation model and is expected to solve problems with hidden periodicity or specific structure efficiently, while a quantum neural network, including coherent Ising machine (CIM), implements the dissipative quantum computation model and is expected to solve combinatorial optimization problems. We will discuss these experimental machines and the performance comparison against modern digital computers and algorithms.


Yoshihisa Yamamoto is a Program Manager for Impulsive Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT Program) of Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. In this program, his group is developing a new type of optimization machine, Quantum Neural Network: QNN, using the quantum nature of light and solving combinatorial and continuous optimization problems. He received his B.S. degree from Tokyo Institute of Technology and his M.S. and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Tokyo in 1973, 1975 and 1978, respectively. He joined NTT Basic Research Laboratories in 1978. During his tenure at NTT, he worked on coherent communications and quantum optics. He became a Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University in 1992. During his tenure at Stanford, he worked on Bose-Einstein condensation of exciton-polaritons, optical manipulation of a quantum dot spin and OPO based coherent Ising machines. He also became a Professor at National Institute of Informatics in 2003. He is currently a Professor (emeritus) at Stanford University and National Institute of Informatics, and NTT R&D Fellow. He has received many distinctions for his work, including Nishina Memorial Prize (1992), Carl Zeiss Research Award (1992), IEEE/LEOS Quantum Electronics Award (2000), Medal with Purple Ribbon (2005), Shida Rinzaburo Award (2006), Hermann A. Haus Lecturer of MIT (2010), and Okawa Prize (2011). His research interests have been in quantum optics and quantum information processing.