May 17, 2007, Denis Gapontsev

Fiber Lasers

Over the last 10 years fiber lasers have migrated from milliWatts to tens of kilowatts of output optical power and became the most exciting technology on the laser market right now. Currently fiber laser and amplifier technology is one of the major players in the field of material processing, telecommunications and defense applications. Efficiency, beam quality, wavelength choice, compactness, maintenance free operation, etc. makes it a unique source of choice for the industry. A variety of new applications have been developed and implemented in the field over recent years and continue to grow very fast. At this presentation we will give a historical overview, current results, market situation as well as new applications and a potential markets overview.

 Denis Gapontsev

Denis Gapontsev, Ph.D., has served as IPG Photonics Corp's. Vice President of Research and Development since August 2000. From 2000 until 2005, he was also a member of the Board of Directors. From 1994 to 1996, Dr. Gapontsev worked as a scientist at NTO IRE-Polus. He worked at IP Fiber Devices from 1996 to 1998 and at IPG Laser GmbH from 1999 to 2000, where he researched fiber lasers and Raman fiber lasers and amplifiers. Dr. Gapontsev holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Physics from the Moscow Physics and Technology Institute and a Ph.D. from the University of London.

Read more: May 17, 2007, Denis Gapontsev

Apr. 19, 2007, Kenneth Brecher

Seeing the LITE

Hands-on, inquiry-based, constructivist activity offers students a powerful way to explore, uncover and ultimately gain a feel for the nature of science.  In order to make practicable a more genuine approach to learning the light and optics aspects of astronomy, we have undertaken the development of hands-on (and eyes-on) materials that can be used in introductory undergraduate astronomy courses. Over the past several years as part of Project LITE (Light Inquiry Through Experiments), we have developed a kit of optical materials that is integrated with a set of Java applets.  The combined kit and software allows students to do actual experiments concerning geometrical optics, fluorescence, phosphorescence, polarization and other topics by making use of the photons that are emitted by their computer screens.  We have also developed a suite of over 250 Flash and JAVA applets that allow students to directly explore many aspects of visual perception.  A major effort of the project concerns spectroscopy, since it is arguably the most important tool used by astronomers to disentangle the nature of the universe.  It is also one of the most challenging subjects to teach in undergraduate astronomy courses.  The spectroscopy component of Project LITE includes take-home laboratory materials and experiments that are integrated with web-based software.  We have also developed a novel quantitative handheld binocular spectrometer (patent just issued).  Our major spectroscopic software is called the Spectrum Explorer (SPEX).  It allows students to create, manipulate and explore all types of spectra including blackbody, power law, emission and absorption.  We are now extending the SPEX capabilities to help students gain easy access to the astronomical spectra included in the NVO databases. In this presentation, we will show some (but not all!!!) of the outcomes of the project. All of the Project LITE software posted to date can be found at  Project LITE is supported by Grant #DUE-0125992 from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education.

 Kenneth Brecher

Kenneth Brecher is Professor of astronomy and Physics and Director of the Science and Mathematics Education Center at Boston University.  He received his BS and PhD degrees, both in physics, from M.I.T., where he was also a faculty member from 1972 – 1979. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim, Kellogg and Osher Foundations. His main professional areas of research have been high-energy astrophysics, relativity and cosmology.  He has also contributed to the history of astronomy, archaeoastronomy and what he calls “archaeoastrophysics” - a widely ignored term referring to the use of ancient astronomical records applicable to modern astrophysical research. During the past 35 years, he has published over 200 papers and two books about astronomy and astrophysics. He has also developed a variety of curriculum materials, software and hands-on experimental experiences for undergraduates. He was recently awarded his first patent for the invention of a handheld binocular spectrometer. 


Read more: Apr. 19, 2007, Kenneth Brecher

Mar. 15, 2007, Alan Migdall, OSA Eastman Speaker

Handling Photons the Hard Way: One at a Time

While the vast majority of optical techniques, measurements, and technology create, use, and detect light in large quantities, there is growing interest in single-photon technology for a wide range of applications. These applications include, among others, high sensitivity chemical analysis, quantum information, and even high-speed communication with Mars. Along with this growth in interest is a fast growing toolbox of single-photon technology being developed, which in turn is bringing with it single-photon metrology needs. We present an overview of single photon technology and metrology efforts by our group and others.

Alan Migdall

 Alan Migdall received his PhD in physics from MIT and BS in mathematics and physics from U. of Maryland. He is a member of the Optical Technology Division at NIST, where he is involved in projects that use two-photon light sources and their entanglement for absolute metrology and quantum information applications. Traditionally these two-photon light sources have relied on parametric downconversion in bulk crystals, but efforts are moving toward using higher order nonlinearities made possible by new types of optical fibers. In the area of metrology, current work is underway to determine the ultimate uncertainty limits of the two-photon measurement method for both photon counting detector efficiency and spectral source radiance measurements. In quantum information, efforts include the development and characterization of improved single photon sources and high photon number entanglement, as well as the encouragement of related single-photon component technology. Previous work included the laser cooling of atoms, which resulted in the first trapping of a neutral atom. As a means of encouraging single photon technology, Migdall has organized a number of workshops, symposiums, and special issues on the topic.

Read more: Mar. 15, 2007, Alan Migdall, OSA Eastman Speaker

Feb. 15, 2007, David Biss

Adaptive Optics In Medical Research Imaging

Medical research of disease progression often relies upon mouse models, which involves sacrificing animals at different stages of the disease to be able to study effects over time. This requires statistical studies of disease with large numbers of animals and only provides periodic snapshots of the disease. In vivo retinal imaging, by contrast, is a powerful tool that allows one to follow a single animal over time, but aberrations in the mouse eye limit the best possible resolution that can be obtained.

Adaptive optics has been successful in correcting phase aberrations introduced by the atmosphere in astronomical imaging. This technique recently has been extended to ophthalmic imaging in humans. In this talk I will briefly discuss the motivation for in vivo imaging and I will present the current technique our lab uses for imaging the mouse retina. Finally, I will explain difficulties that arise when applying adaptive optics to mouse retinal imaging and how we implement adaptive optics into our imaging system.

David Biss

David Biss received his Ph.D. in optics from the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics in 2005. His thesis, "Focal Field Interactions from Cylindrical Vector Beams," dealt with the interaction of small particles and edges with focused inhomogeneously polarized beams. After graduation David left Rochester, NY and moved to Boston to pursue a position as a post-doctoral researcher at the Schepens Eye Research Institute. He is currently working with the Advanced Microscopy Program at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, to develop an adaptive optics system for in vivo imaging of the mouse retina.

Read more: Feb. 15, 2007, David Biss

Jan. 18, 2007, Dr. Dowling

LEDs: From Indicators to General Illumination

It seems LEDs are everywhere these days, generating as much hype as they do light. There is no doubt that LEDs are a quickly improving semiconductor-based technology that is being used in an increasing number of applications. Today LEDs offer a cost-effective, energy-efficient, low-maintenance method of generating light and providing effects with sophisticated control. Color Kinetics is the pioneer in integrated, LED-based lighting systems for wide-ranging applications and offers a ringside seat into this active and growing industry. The talk will cover LED technology, features, products, and the many applications of LEDs to lighting.

Dr. Dowling

As Vice President of Innovation, Dr. Dowling oversees many programs and initiatives designed to keep Color Kinetics at the forefront of LED lighting. He joined the company in early 1999 as Director of Engineering, and continues to be integral to the research and development fueling many of Color Kinetics. successful products, technologies and market applications. He is an inventor and co-inventor on numerous Color Kinetics patents, and also leads the company.s government programs.

Beyond his work at Color Kinetics, Dr. Dowling actively engages with many industry organizations to advance adoption of LED lighting, including the creation of much-needed industry standards. He currently serves as Chairman of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Solid-State Lighting Section, and as Chairman of the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance (NGLIA). He was instrumental in the formation of the Solid-State sub-committee within the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Testing Procedures Committee (TPC). Dr. Dowling is also active within the education community, teaching lighting at the New England Institute of Art and lecturing at many lighting and design programs. He is a well-known industry advocate with numerous published articles and speaking engagements to his credit. Prior to Color Kinetics, Dr. Dowling was Chief Robotics Engineer for PRI Automation, the leader in advanced factory automation systems and software for the semiconductor industry. He has over 15 years of experience in advanced robotics engineering at the Field Robotics Center of Carnegie Mellon University, where, as a scientist, he led a number of projects including a Lunar Rover demo, robots for Space Shuttle Inspection and Shuttle ground operations at NASA.s Kennedy Space Center, and the Mars Rover Project. Dr. Dowling has also consulted for many companies, including Shell Oil and Apple Computer, and was a founding principal of a medical robotics company.

Dr. Dowling received his undergraduate degree in Mathematics and masters and Ph.D. degrees in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Read more: Jan. 18, 2007, Dr. Dowling

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