AAOSA/OSUM Seminar: Using Relativistic Intensity Laser Pulses to Generate Huge Magnetic Fields and a Magnetic Reconnection Geometry

Prof. Louise Willingale 
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Light refreshment will be provided

Thursday December 6, 2018
4:10 pm – 5:10 pm

Room 340 West Hall, 1085 S University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI

Abstract: 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 (σcold = B2/(μ0nemec2) > 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 σcold > 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.

AAOSA/OSUM Seminar: “Between Sky and Screen”

Roland GrafAssociate Professor
Stamps School of Art & Design

Tuesday November 14, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Location of Seminar: Room 1123 Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building (LBME), 1101 Beal Ave., Ann Arbor, MI


Using the ground as an interface or daylight as a medium, Roland Graf develops experimental interfaces that inspire new modes of thinking about space, technology, and human interaction. Graf will present examples of his creative research that results in patents, exhibitions or award-winning urban interventions such as the interactive sidewalk Bump (Prix Ars Electronica Distinction 2001) that tangibly connects two distant public spaces in real time or the solar-powered street video game Solar Pink Pong (Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival 2016). Graf creates much of his work through the artist collective Assocreation and in collaboration with scientists and engineers at the University of Michigan, where he holds a position as an Associate Professor at the Stamps School
of Art & Design.


AAOSA Seminar: “The Birth and Amazing Life of Nonlinear Optics”

Tuesday December 6, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.


Prof. Herbert  G. Winful
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering,
University of Michigan

Location of Seminar: 1123 Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building (LBME), 1101 BEAL AVE, Ann Arbor, MI

The birth of the field of nonlinear optics occurred in Randall Laboratory at the University of Michigan in 1961 when Franken, Hill, Peters, and Weinreich observed for the first time the generation of optical harmonics.  By illuminating a crystal of quartz with an intense infrared beam at 694.3 nm from a ruby laser they were able to generate the second harmonic at 347.15 nm.  This discovery was rapidly followed by the observation of numerous other effects such as optical rectification, frequency mixing, third harmonic generation, self-focusing, and parametric oscillation, all within the space of about four years.  In this talk we review the birth, growth, and modern day applications of nonlinear optics.  We will also take the opportunity to plug the OSA Conference on Nonlinear Optics, July 17-21, 2017, in Hawaii:

Herbert Winful earned a BS in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 and a PhD from the University of Southern California in 1981. From 1980 to 1986 he was a Principal Member of Technical Staff at GTE Laboratories in Waltham, MA. He joined the EECS department at the University of Michigan as an associate professor in 1987, became a full professor in 1992, and was named a Thurnau Professor in 1993. He has made fundamental contributions to nonlinear fiber optics, nonlinear optics in periodic structures, the nonlinear dynamics of laser arrays, the propagation of single-cycle pulses, and the physics of tunneling. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. His many awards include the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship, the Amoco/University Teaching Award, the State of Michigan Teaching Award, the College of Engineering Teaching Excellence and Service Excellence Awards, the EECS Professor of the Year Award (twice), the EECS Outstanding Achievement Award, the Presidential Young Investigator Award, and the Tau Beta Pi Distinguished Professor award.
(Link for more information)

AAOSA Seminar: “Fiber frequency combs for the real world”

Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm


Dr. Martin Fermann, IMRA America, Inc

Location of Seminar: 1123 Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building (LBME), 1101 BEAL AVE, Ann Arbor, MI


We introduce IMRA’s current R&D activities in microwave photonics and mid IR technology. Ultra-low phase noise microwaves can be generated via frequency division of fiber frequency combs. Based on advanced signal processing modalities, fully turn-key systems can be demonstrated. Such sources have great potential in revolutionizing current precision microwave technology as used in sensing and ranging applications. On the mid-IR side, highly coherent sources with record high average powers in the wavelength range from 3 – 11 mm can be obtained using difference frequency generation in OPGaP, based on compact high power Yb, Er and Tm fiber lasers, offering an attractive alternative to quantum cascade lasers for spectroscopy applications.


Dr. Martin Fermann is the Vice President of Research and Advanced Development at IMRA America, Inc. located in Ann Abor, MI. He joined IMRA in 1992, after completing four years of postdoc and research associate positions at the Technical University of Vienna and Bellcore. In 2001, he accepted a position as CTO at Boston Laser and rejoined IMRA in 2002. He received his Ph. D. from Southampton University, UK in 1988. He is trained as an experimental Optical Physicist.

He has authored over 150 technical papers and around 150 US patents and applications. Many of his patents have been licensed by a third party. He has served on various committees at technical conferences, and in particular, as General Chair for the Conference on Advanced Solid State Lasers. He has made contributions to the field of ultra-fast optics, precision spectroscopy and metrology, microwave photonics, and fiber and solid-state lasers. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America.

AAOSA Seminar: “IYL: Celebrating Thousand Years od Arab Optics, Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 @7pm

AAOSA Monthly Seminar Series:

International Year of Light: Celebrating Thousand Years od Arab Optics by Prof. Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan, University of Waterloo, visiting scholar at UM

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015, 7:00pm

Room 1123 LBME Building
North Campus
University of Michigan

Download abstract in PDF format: Meeting Abstract

AAOSA Seminar: “The Science of Optics; The History of Art”, Monday March 16, 2015 @ 6:30pm

AAOSA Monthly Seminar Series:


portrait_FalcoCM_150x200pxThe Science of Optics; The History of Art

by Charles M Falco, Ph.D.

College of Optical Sciences and Department of Physics, University of Arizona, Tucson

Date: Monday March 16, 2015 @ 6:30pm

Location: The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), 525 S State Street, Ann Arbor

*Doors open 6pm. Talk starts at 6:30pm*

*Join us for an informal post-event reception at HopCat, 311 Maynard St, Ann Arbor, from 8pm*


Recently, renowned artist David Hockney observed that certain drawings and paintings from as early as the Renaissance seemed almost “photographic” in detail. Following an extensive visual investigation of western art of the past 1000 years, he made the revolutionary claim that artists even of the prominence of van Eyck and Bellini must have used optical aids.  However, many art historians insisted there was no supporting evidence for such a remarkable assertion.  In this talk I show a wealth of optical evidence for his claim that Hockney and I subsequently discovered during an unusual, and remarkably productive, collaboration between an artist and a scientist. I also discuss the imaging properties of the “mirror lens” (concave mirror), and some of the implications this work has for the history of science as well as the history of art (and the modern fields of machine vision and computerized image analysis).  These discoveries convincingly demonstrate optical instruments were in use — by artists, not scientists — nearly 200 years earlier than commonly thought possible, and account for the remarkable transformation in the reality of portraits that occurred early in the 15th century. (For more information see http://fp.optics.arizona.edu/ssd/art-optics/index.html)



Professor Charles Falco has joint appointments in Optical Sciences and Physics at the University of Arizona where he holds the UA Chair of Condensed Matter Physics. He is a Fellow of four professional societies (the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America, and the Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)), has published more than 250 scientific manuscripts, co-edited two books, has seven U.S. patents, and given over 400 invited talks at conferences, research institutions, and cultural organizations in 32 countries.  However, in addition to his scientific research, he was co-curator of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum’s “The Art of the Motorcycle” which, with over 2 million visitors in New York, Chicago, Bilbao, and the Guggenheim Las Vegas, was by far the most successful exhibition of industrial design ever assembled.  More recently, he and the world-renowned artist David Hockney found artists of such repute as van Eyck, Bellini and Caravaggio used optical projections in creating portions of their work.  Three international conferences have been organized around these discoveries, and recognition for them includes the 2008 Ziegfield Lecture Award from the National Art Education Association.


AAOSA Seminar: “Connected Vehicle Research and the Development of the Mobility Transformation Center” – Tuesday Feb 24, 2015 @7pm

AAOSA Monthly Seminar Series:


Connected Vehicle Research and the Development of the Mobility Transformation Center

by James R Sayer, Ph.D.

Date: Tuesday Feb 24, 2015 @ 7pm

Location: 1123 Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building (LBME) – University of Michigan, 1101 Beal Ave., Ann Arbor, MI

*Please note the main door of LBME will be locked at 7pm!*


The presentation will cover the recent advances in connected vehicle technology, and how vehicle connectivity is being leveraged to improve autonomous vehicle development.  Included will be an overview of the connected vehicle efforts in Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan, as well as the Mobility Transformation Center – including the development of M City.


Dr. Jim Sayer is a Research Scientist, and Head of the Human Factors Group, at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.   He has conducted over $55 million in basic and translational research in the areas of advanced vehicle safety systems, naturalistic driving behavior, driver distraction, driver vision, and pedestrian conspicuity since 1993.

He is an internationally recognized leader in the conduct and evaluation of field operational tests of motor vehicle safety systems and the study of naturalistic driving behavior.  Dr. Sayer recently served as the Principle Investigator for the U.S. DOT’s Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment program, is the Deployment Director of the Michigan Mobility Transformation Center, and is an Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

AAOSA Seminar: “Arborlight: from Concept to Market” – Tuesday, October 28th @ 7pm

ArborLightAAOSA Monthly Seminar Series:
Efficient Daylight Emulation System
The story from concept to market
by Prof. Max Shtein, Mike Forbis and Rob Ellis

Date: Oct. 28th at 7pm 

Location: 1123 Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building (LBME) – University of Michigan, 1101 Beal Ave., Ann Arbor, MI

Join us at 6:30pm in the LBME atrium for networking and refreshments!

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