From Nonlinear Optics to High-Intensity Laser Physics
Donna Strickland
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Light snacks & refreshments will be served at 3:30PM
The lecture will begin at 4PM
 

Abstract

The laser increased the intensity of light that can be generated by orders of magnitude and thus brought about nonlinear optical interactions with matter. Chirped pulse amplification, also known as CPA, changed the intensity level by a few more orders of magnitude and helped usher in a new type of laser-matter interaction that is referred to as high-intensity laser physics. In this talk, I will discuss the differences between nonlinear optics and high-intensity laser physics. The development of CPA and why short, intense laser pulses can cut transparent material will also be included. I will also discuss future applications.

Biography

Dr. Donna Strickland is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for co-inventing Chirped Pulse Amplification with Dr. Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time of the discovery. She earned her PhD in optics from the University of Rochester and her B. Eng. from McMaster University. Dr. Strickland was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997, she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award. She served as the president of the Optical Society (OSA) in 2013 and is an OSA Fellow and an SPIE Fellow.

Capturing Light on the Nanoscale
John B. Pendry
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Light snacks & refreshments will be served at 3:30PM
The lecture will begin at 4PM
 
Abstract
 

Convention has it that light cannot resolve objects much smaller than the wavelength, a ‘rule’ that was shown to be invalid some years ago [1]. Here we look inside the wavelength and study the properties of plasmonic structures with dimensions of just a few nanometres: a tenth or even a hundredth of the wavelength of visible light, where the ray picture of light fails utterly. We show how the new concept of transformation optics that manipulates electric and magnetic field lines rather than rays can provide an equally intuitive understanding of sub wavelength phenomena and at the same time be an exact description at the level of Maxwell’s equations. The new technology brings light into contact with the nanoworld.

[1] Negative Refraction Makes a Perfect Lens
Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 3966-9 (2000).
 
Biography
 

John Pendry is a condensed matter theorist and has worked at Imperial College since 1981. He has worked extensively on electronic and structural properties of surfaces developing the theory of low energy diffraction and of electronic surface states. More recently he turned his attention to photonic materials this interest led to his present research into the remarkable electromagnetic properties of materials where the normal response to electromagnetic fields is reversed, leading to negative values for the refractive index. In collaboration with scientists at Marconi he designed a series of metamaterials, completely novel materials with properties not found in nature. These designs were subsequently the basis for new concepts with radical consequences, such as the first material with a negative refractive index, the concept of a perfect lens, and a prototype cloaking device, which have both caught the imagination of the world’s media.

Quantum Information Processing and Raising Schrödinger’s Cat
David Wineland
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Light snacks & refreshments will be served at 3:30PM
The lecture will begin at 4PM
 

Abstract

Research on precise control of coherent quantum systems occurs in many laboratories throughout the world, for fundamental research, new measurement techniques, and more recently for the development of quantum computers. I will briefly describe experiments on these topics using trapped ions at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) but these just serve as examples of similar work being performed with many other atomic, molecular, optical (AMO) and condensed matter systems. This talk is, in part, the “story” of my involvement in these subjects which began when I entered graduate school.

Biography

David Wineland received a BA degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1965 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1970. He has been a member of the Time and Frequency Division of NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Boulder, Colorado since 1975, where he is a group leader and NIST Fellow. Starting with graduate school, a long-term goal of his work has been to increase the precision of atomic spectroscopy. This research has applications to making better atomic clocks and has led to experiments showing precise control of the energy levels and motion of atoms. Such control is now being applied to measurements whose precision is limited only by the constraints of quantum mechanics and to demonstrations of the basic building blocks of a quantum computer.

A New Type of Heat Engine, Using LEDs as Refrigerators
Eli Yablonovitch
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Light snacks & refreshments will be served at 3:30PM
The lecture will begin at 4PM
 

Abstract

Very efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs) actually become colder as they operate because the emitted light carries away entropy.  This surprising effect requires superb LED efficiency, which is achieved by using 2D photonic crystal structures to extract the luminescence.  2D photonic crystals have likewise been employed in photovoltaic cells to trap incident light.  We now know that the photovoltaic cell and the LED are reciprocals of one another. The maxim that “a great solar cell has to be a great LED” has led to solar cells with record efficiency.

What if the electrical output of a photovoltaic cell drives an LED, and the LED light in turn drives the photovoltaic cell?  You might fear that it would become a perpetual motion machine. Instead it becomes a heat engine in which a small amount electricity can efficiently provide refrigeration, or conversely a small temperature difference can generate electricity. Such an electro-luminescent heat engine, in which photons are the working fluid, can be more efficient than thermo-electrics, in which electrons are the working fluid.

Biography

Eli Yablonovitch is Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (E3S), a multi-University Center headquartered at Berkeley.  Yablonovitch introduced the idea that strained semiconductor lasers could have superior performance due to reduced valence band (hole) effective mass. With almost every human interaction with the internet, optical telecommunication occurs by strained semiconductor lasers.  In his photovoltaic research, Yablonovitch introduced the 4n2 (“Yablonovitch Limit”) light-trapping factor that is in worldwide use, for almost all commercial solar panels.  Based on his mantra that “a great solar cell also needs to be a great LED”, his startup company Alta Devices Inc. has, since 2011, held the world record for solar cell efficiency, now 28.8% at 1 sun.  He is regarded as a Father of the Photonic BandGap concept, and he coined the term "Photonic Crystal".  The geometrical structure of the first experimentally realized Photonic bandgap, is sometimes called “Yablonovite”.  His startup company Ethertronics Inc., has shipped over one billion cellphone antennas. He has been elected to the NAE, the NAS, and as Foreign Member, UK Royal Society.  Among his honors is the Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society, and the Isaac Newton Medal of the UK Institute of Physics.

Remote Detection via Quantum Coherence
Professor Marlan O. Scully
Baylor, Princeton, and Texas A&M Universities
Monday, October 19, 2015
4PM
1101 Biosciences Research Building, University of Maryland
 

Abstract

There is nothing so practical as a good theory. As a case in point, the compelling need for standoff detection of hazardous gases and vapor indicators of explosives has motivated the development of remotely pumped schemes that produce radiation in the backward direction.1,2 Moving from conceptualization to theoretical analysis and experimental verification, we demonstrate that high gain can be achieved in air. Backward air lasing provides possibilities for remote detection,3 as will be discussed.

Biography

Marlan Scully (Baylor, Princeton, and Texas A&M) has worked on a variety of problems in laser physics and quantum optics, including: the first quantum theory of the laser with Lamb, the laser phase transition analogy and its applications to the Bose condensate, experimental demonstrations of lasing without inversion, and ultraslow light in hot gases via quantum coherence.

His introduction of entanglement interferometry to quantum optics has shed light on the foundations of quantum mechanics, e.g., the quantum eraser. Recently he and his colleagues have applied quantum coherence to remote sensing of anthrax and probing through turbid mediums, such as skin and plant tissue.

Scully is currently a Distinguished University Professor at Texas A&M University and also holds positions at Princeton and Baylor Universities. He has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Society. He has recently been awarded the OSA Frederic Ives Medal / Quinn Prize, the DPG/OSA Herbert Walther Award, and the Commemorative Silver Medal of the Senate of the Czech Republic (by K. Chapin).

 

 

[1]  Dogariu, A, Michael, JB, Scully, MO, Miles, RB, High-Gain Backward Lasing in Air, Science, 331(6016), 442-445 (2011).
[2]  Svidzinsky, AA, Yuan, LQ, Scully, MO, Transient lasing without inversion, New Journal of Physics, vol. 15, art. no. 053044 (2013).
[3]  Yuan, L, et al., Coherent Raman Umklappscattering, Laser Physics Letters, 8(10), 736-741 (2011).

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