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A Study of the Behavior of Light and Matter Using Computer Simulations and Experimental Techniques

Bret Gergely, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This thesis comprises four individual chapters, each showcasing unique research and findings. The first chapter details the simulation of an experiment that was performed by Shahriar S. Afshar. He claimed in 2007 that his modified version of the double-slit experiment violated complementarity. A priniciple developed by Niels Bohr. The experiment is simulated using the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics and agreement is found with the wave-particle duality relation given by Englert, Greenberg and Yasin (EGY). It is concluded that the use of Afshar’s experiment to provide a testbed for quantum mechanical interpretations is limited. The second chapter presents an experimental realization of an electron dispersion compensator (EDC), a device proposed in 2012. Through a combination of experimental validation and simulation using SIMION software, the EDC is shown to effectively compress the temporal dispersion of low-energy electrons. This device could be used as a tool in the field of ultrafast electron spectroscopy and may improve studies of dynamic atomic and molecular processes. The third chapter presents a technique for generating initial conditions for short laser pulses that can be used to effectively simulate laser-plasma interactions. This approach involves utilizing both Runge-Kutta and finite difference methods to solve Maxwell’s equations with the specified initial conditions. Numerical methods employed and their potential effects on the simulation results are discussed. In addition, numerical corrections are derived and used to refine the initial conditions. Ultimately, the diagnostic analysis verifies consistency with theoretical expectations for Gaussian beams, including higher-order Laguerre-Gauss modes. Finally, the last chapter contains theoretical work that was motivated by an experiment performed at the Extreme Light Laboratory at the University of Nebraska. Simulations and analysis are performed to show that the most likely explanation for the experimental result was Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS).

Subject Area

Physics|Quantum physics|Astronomy

Recommended Citation

Gergely, Bret, "A Study of the Behavior of Light and Matter Using Computer Simulations and Experimental Techniques" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30815571.