Events & Photos

All-Fiber-Integrated Super-Continuum Sources with High Power in the Visible and Infrared Wavelengths from 0.47 to 12 𝜇m

Prof. Mohammed Islam

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Founder & CTO Omni Sciences, Inc.)

All-fiber integrated super-continuum (SC) sources are described based on a platform architecture that can operate in the visible, near-infrared, short-wave infrared, mid-wave infrared and long-wave infrared, with demonstrated SC wavelengths ranging from 0.47 to 12 microns. Modulation instability initiated SC generation leads to a simple SC source with no moving parts and that uses off-the-shelf components from the mature telecommunications and fiber optics industry. The resulting light sources are basically a cascade of fibers pumped by fiber-pigtailed laser diodes and some drive and control electronics; thus, the SC sources have the potential to be cost-effective, compact and reliable. Starting from fused silica fibers, the SC spectrum can be extended to shorter or longer wavelengths by cascading fibers with appropriate dispersion and/or transparency. As one example, we demonstrate a long-wave infrared SC source that generates a continuous spectrum from 1.57 to 12 microns using a fiber cascade comprising fused silica fiber followed by ZBLAN fluoride fiber followed by sulfide fiber and, finally, a high-numerical-aperture selenide fiber. The time-averaged output power is 417 mW at 33% duty cycle, and we observe a near-diffraction-limit, single spatial-mode beam across the entire spectral range. A prototype is described that is based on a three-layer architecture with a form factor of 16.7”x10”x5.7” and that plugs into a standard wall plug. This SC prototype has been used in a number of field tests as the active illuminator for stand-off FTIR system over distances of 5 to 25m, thus enabling identification of targets or samples based on their chemical signature.

Using Relativistic Intensity Laser Pulses to Generate Huge Magnetic Fields and a Magnetic Reconnection Geometry

Prof. Louise Willingale, Center for Ultrafast Optical Science

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Michigan

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics technique of chirped pulse amplification (CPA) can be used to produce light pulses that can be focused to intensities where the electric field oscillates electrons at relativistic velocities. The currents due to the relativistic electrons can generate huge, dynamic fields within a laboratory plasma. Plasma dynamics in astrophysical plasmas are strongly impacted by magnetic field topology. However, direct measurements of the outer space plasma conditions and fields are challenging, so laboratory studies of magnetic dynamics and reconnection provide an important platform for testing theories and characterizing different regimes. The extremely energetic class of astrophysical phenomena - including high-energy pulsar winds, gamma ray bursts, and jets from galactic nuclei - have plasma conditions where the energy density of the magnetic fields exceeds the rest mass energy density (σ_cold = B^2/(μ_0 n_e m_e c^2) > 1, the cold magnetization parameter). I will show experimental measurements, along with numerical modeling, of short-pulse, high-intensity laser-plasma interactions that produce extremely strong magnetic fields (>100 T) in a plasma such that σ_cold > 1. The generation and the dynamics of these magnetic fields under different target conditions was studied, and relativistic intensity laser-driven, magnetic reconnection experiments were performed. I’ll describe how X-ray imaging allows the observation of the fast electron dynamics. Evidence of magnetic reconnection was identified by the plasma’s X-ray emission patterns, changes to the electron spectrum, and by measuring the reconnection timescales.

The Genesis of Thorlabs in Ann Arbor

By Janis Valdmanis, General Manager, Ultrafast Optoelectronics, THORLABS

The Ann Arbor Chapter of OSA and OSUM hosted a social and networking event at Bar Louie in downtown Ann Arbor. We also celebrated the wonderful news that Profs. Gerard Mourou, Donna Strickland and Arthur Ashkin were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The ECE Department hosted an open house for undeclared freshman and invited the Optics Society to have a table for demonstrations. The goal of this event was to showcase the variety of fields of study available to students within ECE.

This event was created to bring students, alumni, faculty, and the community together to celebrate all that the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has to offer. Visitors were able to interact with a variety of student groups as well as participate in engineering related activities, games, and demonstrations. OSUM hosted a table with a number of demos illustrating properties and principles of light and light-related technologies. An article written about the event can be found from this link.

Optics Student-faculty Mixer - September 28, 2018

Every year at the beginning of the fall semester, OSUM hosts a welcome mixer to bring together new and current optics students and faculty. This year we moved the event to the Bob & Betty Beyster Building atrium and had 60 attendees!

CoE Orientation Tabling - August 29, 2018

As part of new graduate student orientation, OSUM hosted a table at both the College of Engineering (CoE) and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department student organization fairs to advertise the Society to new prospective members.

The Back to the Bricks Festival is a five-day festival centered around a two-day Rolling Car Cruise and Saturday car show in downtown Flint, MI. During the Saturday car show, the Michigan Light Project had a tent in an area dedicated to automotive related educational groups. Next to our tent was Baker College’s Automotive Program and FIRST robotics team. OSUM ran optics-related demonstrations and activities from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. We estimate that we interacted with 500 people with about 20% being over 50-years-old. We ran 6 different demonstrations focusing on topics which included diffraction, color, solar power, microscopy, piezoelectricity, polarization, and a “Make Your Own Hologram” activity. They were very well received by the festival-goers of all ages.

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) is a month-long festival that takes place in Ann Arbor every year in June. Everyday throughout the entire month, there are a variety of events open to the public in the downtown streets and lawns. The events include outdoor fitness classes, crafts, food tastings, and more. On each of the four Saturdays during the festival, there is a special highlighted activity for children in the “KidZone Tent”. OSUM, in partnership with the Ann Arbor chapter of OSA, was fortunate enough to get one of these prime-time spots in the KidZone tent for our optics outreach demonstrations and crafts. Our goal for this event was to make the community aware of the importance of light and optical technologies in our lives, for our futures, and for the development of society as part of the International Day of Light. We did this through many demonstrations and crafts that will help kids and adults learn about properties of light and how light is used in different technologies. Some of these demonstrations included: 3D holograms, make your own spectrometer, piezoelectric powered LEDs, miniature microscopes, and polarization. We estimate that we had over 200 children come by our tent and participate in at least one activity.