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    Become a femtosecond laser professional with femtoPro

    Lasers are ubiquitous in daily life, scientific research, and many applications. While the theoretical education in optics and photonics is well established at schools, universities and in industrial settings, it is challenging to teach efficiently the practical and correct handling of lasers and optical experiments. Due to high cost, typically only limited hardware resources and teaching personnel are available. In addition, laser radiation is dangerous demanding the implementation of strict eye-safety protocols.

    We have developed the virtual-reality (VR) femtosecond laser laboratory femtoPro. Therein, users wear VR goggles and interact with optical elements on a VR laser table (see main page for a short demonstration video). Thus it is possible to learn how to position and to align mirrors, lenses, iris apertures, and other mechanical or optoelectronic devices in an intuitive fashion. The effect of all optical elements on the laser beam is calculated and displayed in real-time allowing the training of procedures as in a real lab. Material dispersion and nonlinear optics phenomena are included, taking into account femtosecond pulse properties.

    Available for Oculus/Meta and Pico VR devices.


    femtoPro Feature

    Demo Version

    Full Version(1)

    Real-time simulation
    Gaussian beam profiles
    Immersive virtual-reality (VR) lab environment
    Visualization of full beams or scattering cross sections
    Linear optical elements (mirrors, lenses, iris apertures, beam splitters, etc.)
    Free placement of optical elements (position, height, angle)
    Fine-adjustment screws with realistic interactions
    CW or femtosecond lasers including material dispersion
    Detectors (spectrometer, power meter)
    Consideration of spatial and temporal overlap
    Consideration of interferometric effects
    Step-by-step tutorials on basic functionality of femtoPro
    Extensive tutorials for automated learning and education (2)
    Computer-controlled delay stages
    Sum-frequency and second-harmonic generation in nonlinear crystals
    Molecular absorption via response-function formalism
    Nonlinear response for transient absorption, 2D spectroscopy, etc. (3)
    Multiplayer mode for remote teaching and collaboration within one lab (3)

    (1) Available probably from July 2022
    (2) See exemplary list in next section "Tutorials"
    (3) Under development


    • Safe laser beam handling
    • Beam alignment on irises
    • Lenses and beam splitters
    • Kepler, Galilei and reflecting telescopes
    • Single- and double-mirror delay lines
    • Michelson and Mach–Zehnder interferometers
    • Spectral interferometry
    • Second-harmonic generation

    Selected application examples

    • Independent or supplementary Bachelor's or Master's practical course on optics and laser spectroscopy for students of natural and engineering sciences
    • Lecture-accompanying practical exercises
    • Consistent instruction in the function and alignment of optical setups for new members of scientific working groups
    • Practical courses for high-school students to learn optical phenomena such as the function of a lens or a telescope in a playful way
    • Training of technical staff in the laser and photonics industry as well as users in the handling and alignment of complex optical systems
    • Practical supplement to laser safety classes

    Current limitations (may change with further development)

    • No astigmatism (beams are treated as radially symmetric)
    • No polarization (electric fields are treated as scalars)
    • No diffraction (clipping of beams is treated in an effective geometric fashion retaining a Gaussian beam profile)