Coherent Amplification of Ultrafast Molecular Dynamics in an Optical Oscillator
Optical oscillators present a powerful optimization mechanism. The inherent competition for the gain resources between possible modes of oscillation entails the prevalence of the most efficient single mode. We harness this 'ultrafast' coherent feedback to optimize an optical field in time, and show that when an optical oscillator based on a molecular gain medium is synchronously-pumped by ultrashort pulses, a temporally coherent multimode field can develop that optimally dumps a general, dynamically-evolving vibrational wave-packet, into a single vibrational target state. Measuring the emitted field opens a new window to visualization and control of fast molecular dynamics. The realization of such a coherent oscillator with hot alkali dimers appears within experimental reach.