Weekly Memo

Sept. 15, 2014

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

    Lots of congratulations are again in order!

    Chuang Ren, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has received a $394,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the quest to develop inertial confinement fusion as a practical energy source.  Ren’s project will focus on using Particle-in-Cell and fluid simulations to study instabilities that occur during the interactions between the laser and plasma that forms around the target, with particular emphasis on instabilities associated with an experimental approach called shock ignition. This is a good example of the close working relationship between the Laboratory for Laser Energetics and the Hajim School. You can read more about the ties that bind LLE and the Hajim School in our fall Full Spectrum newsletter.
     The newsletter also features changes in the Industrial Associates program at The Institute of Optics, the great success of the Ovitz team of current and former Optics students in their quest to market a hand-held device to test vision, the eight new faculty members joining the Hajim School this academic year, and a profile of Jack Carmola, our Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient.

     Nick Vamivakas, Assistant Professor of Quantum Optics and Quantum Physics (senior author),  graduate students Kenneth Goodfellow (lead author) and Ryan Beams of Optics, and  Chitraleema Chakraborty of Materials Science, published a paper describing a new combination of materials that can efficiently guide electricity and light along the same tiny wire. This could be a step towards building computer chips capable of transporting digital information at the speed of light. Read more here. Their work, done in collaboration with researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is published in Optica and is featured at the U.S. Department of Energy website.

      Optics PhD student Justin T. Schultz, a research assistant in Prof. Nicholas Bigelow's Cooling and Trapping Group, along with another research assistant from the group, Azure Hansen of Physics, presented at the International Conference on Atomic Physics in Washington, D.C. last month. This is a significant conference with very elite participants, including several Nobel Laureates.   The poster they presented ("An analog of polarization in atom optics: a Raman waveplate to measure the Gouy phase in matter waves") won "Best Student Poster" from Europhysics Letters and was one of only six awardees. Justin and Azure were supported by  travel grants from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland and NIST.

    Three other members of the Hajim School family with ties to The Institute of Optics were honored recently by Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster/New York Photonics

     Stephen Jacobs
, Professor of Optics and of Chemical Engineering, and a Senior Scientist at Laboratory for Laser Energetics, received the 2014 Education Award. He was recognized for inspiring students to embrace optics, photonics and imaging sciences and guiding them in career development. Jacobs developed the Optics Suitcase educational initiative, which introduces middle school-age students to a range of concepts within the study of light.

       Jay Eastman ’70 (PhD ’74 Optics), founder and CEO of Optel Inc. and an advisor and administrator for our Industrial Associates program, received the 2014 Leadership Award for working with fellow members of the RRPC and the community to advance the region’s optics, photonics and imaging industry.

      Michael Pavia ’87 Optics, co-founder and President of Sydor Instruments, LLC,  received the 2014 Entrepreneur Award for demonstrating creativity, innovative spirit and drive in creating an industry-leading company in the optics, photonics and imaging field. Michael is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship with the Simon School and a member of our Hajim School Visiting Committee.

     Michael, by the way, was also just awarded the Visionary Leadership Award from Digital Rochester as part of its Greater Rochester Excellence and Achievement in Technology Awards program last week. The Ovitz team, mentioned above, won the Optics, Photonics and Imaging Technology Award.

     The start of a new school year can be especially trying for incoming freshmen, and even for returning students. Remember, you're not alone! Please take advantage of the many tutoring and counseling services available to you, including a wonderful group of peer advisers who can help students declare majors, connect with faculty, review research opportunities and explore options for study abroad and for independent and interdisciplinary study. They are: Reuben Morrison, Jenny Park, Nuley Seo and Stephen Sloan of BME; Erik Laurin and Julia Morris of ChemE; Emy Lin, Adam Scrivener and Luisa Neves of Computer Science; Racquel (Ivy) Awuor and Joshua Moss of ECE; Alex Grau, Koji Muto and Thanh Huynh of MechE; and Nick Cirucci and James Maslek of Optics. Thanks to all of these students for serving as mentors. Click here to read more about them and how to contact them.

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean