May 18, 2016 - V. Michael Bove, Asmamaw (Oz) Wassie, and Anshuman Das

Click to sign up Location: Bartos Theater, MIT Wiesner Building E-15, 20 Ames St, Cambridge, MA
Dinner Reservation Deadline: Monday, May 16, 2016 @ 6pm

Special Meeting at the MIT Media Lab

This meeting features the work of three authors and is hosted at the Massachusetts Institue of Technology's Media Lab.  Topics include brain circuits, polymer optics, and augmented reality.

Read more: May 18, 2016 - V. Michael Bove, Asmamaw (Oz) Wassie, and Anshuman Das

April 21, 2016 - Siddharth Ramachandran

Click to Signup Location: MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 3 Forbes Road, Lexington, MA 02420
Dinner Reservation Deadline: April 18, 2016 @ 6pm

Light that Twists inside fibers

In the last decade, some of the most extensively studied complex light beams are optical vortices, which possess phase or polarization singularities. These beams are interesting because they resemble the emission patterns of single molecule dipoles, or because they potentially represent an infinite set of eigenstates that can be constructed with light. Their use has been demonstrated in, or proposed for, several applications such as higher-dimensional quantum encryption, information capacity scaling, single-molecule spectroscopy and nano-scale imaging.  

A recently developed fiber that has a ring-shaped core has enabled their stable generation and propagation in optical fibers for distances of up to kilometres. Since fibers are well known for their ability to offer nonlinear and dispersive tailoring of light, this additionally opens the door to studying and exploiting nonlinear phenomena with such beams. This talk will discuss recent results and intriguing possibilities enabled by fiber propagation of beams that have long been considered interesting, but hitherto unstable in nature.


Read more: April 21, 2016 - Siddharth Ramachandran

March 17, 2016 - Peter So

Click to Signup Location: Rebecca's Cafe, 275 Grove St., Auburndale, MA 02466
Dinner Reservation Deadline: Monday March 14 @ 6pm

High Throughput, High Content Biophotonics Imaging


For the study of many complex biomedical systems, high throughput, high content imaging modalities are often required. In this presentation, I will present two active areas of biophotonics research in the MIT Laser Biomedical Research Center. First, I will discuss some recent advances in improving the throughput of multiphoton microscopy that is capable of in vivo deep tissue imaging. Specifically, I will focus on the problem of imaging how a single neurons integrate synaptic input signals from its 104 synapses in a living mouse brain. Second, I will describe recent work in developing novel interferometric phase microscopes describing how sub-nanometer scale motions in cells and tissues can be monitored at video rate. The applications of this powerful approach to quantify the mechanical properties of cells and tissues will be illustrated in a diverse set of studies where biomechanics play important regulatory role including sickle cell disease, cancer cell metastasis, liver bile canaliculi regulation, and mesenchymal stem cell identification.

Read more: March 17, 2016 - Peter So

January 21, 2016 - Chris Durell

Click to Signup Location: Rebecca's Cafe, 275 Grove St., Auburndale, MA 02466
Dinner Reservation Deadline: Monday, January 18, 2016 @ 6pm

Challenges in Measuring Climate Change:  Optics in Earth Observation & Remote Sensing


Climate change is a topic that brings up a lot of strong opinions and has center stage in media coverage.  What is the verdict from the science community?   The reality is that the community does have a good amount of data which indicates trends in our atmosphere that will change the way people live, but does not have the right data to conclusively prove the source of these changes.   Climate change science is really only just beginning to get the instruments in place to answer the question of source of climate change definitively.   While the US and global space agencies have many very good scientific assets in place in space, in the air, and on the ground, the climate is a truly massive, inter-related, complex and chaotic series of systems.   Everyone has heard the axiom of “A butterfly flaps its wings in one location and a tornado erupt somewhere else in the world”…the holds true in the quantitative sense for science’s understanding the small changes that precipitate large destructive global weather events.  Consequently, about (5) years ago NASA and other Earth Observation climatologists came to the daunting realization that to really get a data model that would hold any predictive power, they needed a massive amount of data, with a very low level of metrological uncertainty for a very long period of time.  The realization has set a task for the earth observation community around the world:  Get 25 Years of Data, with <2% Absolute Uncertainty, Globally.  The infrastructure employed at that time was closer to 3-5% absolute scale – at best.   On the ground, this is optical metrology at a national laboratory level of excellence.  From the air, it is a daunting challenge.  From space, this requires a whole new fleet of instruments, completely new techniques and massive coordination.


This talk will focus on the challenges that besets the Earth Observation science community in achieving this monumentally difficult and incredibly important task.  Discussion will center on creating of a next generation of satellites and remote sensing measurement equipment to meet these challenges, the techniques that are being developed to provide the validation and verification of the space and airborne measurements, the challenges of <2% uncertainty characterization of the equipment and the global coordination that is just beginning to develop to support the collection of the data.  Geopolitically, this also requires investment and cooperation that may, or may not, be achievable – the governmental engagement also affects the ability of the science community to even attempt some of these goals.  Standards groups are now just forming to determine the needed level of regulation, specifications and data integrity.  Data telemetry, data infrastructures and data techniques are also just beginning to create to deal with the huge amount of information that will need to be stored, normalized, sorted and processed.  The Challenge to Earth Observation is a brave new world of opportunity and challenge for optical measurement and remote sensing technology.

Read more: January 21, 2016 - Chris Durell

February 18, 2016 - John F. Ebersole

Click to Signup Location: MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 3 Forbes Road, Lexington, MA 02420
Dinner Reservation Deadline: Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 6pm

“I didn’t even know this was possible”

Building a Creativity Company to Achieve Solutions That Work

(Or, how do you win SBIR optics contracts anyway?)


The quote in the title of this presentation was exclaimed by the Director of Training at the Department of Energy in response to participation in an Augmented-Reality-based firefighter/first-responder training technology demonstration conducted by the author’s company.  This presentation will include lessons learned that have been successfully applied in a small-business environment, achieving breakthrough, disruptive technology invention, development, and manufacturing.  Tried and true ideas for obtaining new customers (and keeping the ones you already have), writing winning proposals, and hiring (and keeping) the right personnel will be discussed.  Specific recommendations will be shared on winning SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) contracts – from Phase I feasibility to Phase II prototype to Phase III commercialization and technology transfer.  


Read more: February 18, 2016 - John F. Ebersole

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