Weekly Memo

Aug. 19, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     What could be more tantalizing than glowing, nanoscale diamonds, suspended by lasers? That's what a team led by Nick Vamivakas, assistant professor of optics, has pulled off, as described in a paper last week in Optics Letters. Their experiment demonstrates that it is possible to levitate diamonds as small as 100 nanometers (approximately one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair) in free space, by using a technique known as laser trapping. This is fascinating work, with some interesting applications that you can read about here.   

     Congratulations to:
     1) Henry Kautz, chair of Computer Science, who has just learned that "Inferring High-level Behavior from Low-level Sensors," a paper that he co-authored in 2003 and that was presented at the Ubicomp conference that year, will be recognized with Ubicomp's 10-year-impact award this September. It leads all other papers presented at the 2003 conference in citations and second citations. An awards committee notes that the paper "is an excellent example of how one can learn very useful context information from simple GPS traces, and it formed the basis for today's thriving smart cities/smart transportation work." Considering that the accept rate for the annual conference is about 15 percent, getting the 10-year impact award is quite an achievement!

    2) Matthew Bergkoetter, a graduate student working in Prof. Jim Fienup's group; James Corsetti, a graduate student working in Prof. Duncan Moore's group, and undergraduate student Jonathan Papa, all of The Institute of Optics, who won three of the four prizes for the 2013 Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Competition, sponsored by the Synopsys Corporation. They each received $1,000. That's quite a showing! Prof. Julie Bentley played a role in this as well. Two of the projects were part of her lens design class, and she helped the third student "a bit" with the other winning project. Optics alum Robert Hilbert, by the way, was former president and CEO of Optics Research Associates, which later became the Optical Solutions Group at Synopsys. He received B.S. ('62) and M.S. ('64) degrees in optics from The Institute, was a SPIE Fellow, and held seven U.S. patents in the field of optics.

      3) Xiyuan Lu, a PhD student working with Qiang Lin, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and of Optics, for receiving a travel award from the Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems Division of the National Science Foundation (ECCS/NSF) to present his research results in the IEEE Summer Topicals held in Hawaii last month. Xiyuan and his colleague Wei Jiang, also a PhD student working with Prof. Lin, were able to produce heralded single photons in a nanophotonic device, with the highest state purity that has ever been reported. The result was also accepted to be presented in the prestigious and competitive post-deadline session of CLEO/QELS 2013.

      As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean