January 2010 Newsletter

In this issue:

Editor’s Note

Amy SpiveyWelcome to the newly-revived Division of Laser Science Newsletter! This issue contains information about the recent division elections, upcoming meetings, and opportunities for nominating colleagues for APS Fellowship and getting involved in LaserFest. In addition, you will find details about the October 2009 FiO/LS conference, including the minutes of the Executive Committee meeting. Feel free to contact me with suggestions for improvements or items for inclusion in the next issue, which should come out in July.


Amy VanEngen Spivey, editor

From the Division Chair

Warren S. WarrenLet me begin by welcoming Amy VanEngen Spivey on board as our Newsletter Editor. I hope you will look this edition over with care, as it provides useful information about a range of issues that are important to laser scientists in general and DLS members in particular.

It is my privilege to chair the division in 2010, the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of the laser. Planning for the anniversary year (under the guise of LaserFest) has been active for well over a year now, led by the founding partners (APS, OSA, SPIE and IEEE Photonics) and coordinated by the LaserFest Technical Advisory Committee (LFTAC). Many of us are members of more than one of these societies, but coordination between them is a groundbreaking achievement-as many of you know, differences in structure and emphasis between these groups have usually made it difficult for the laser community to speak with a single voice. But the overriding messages of LaserFest - conveying the excitement of modern laser research to the general public, explaining the economic importance of basic science, and providing tools to improve science education - provide a great unifying theme. The DLS leadership has been heavily involved in the planning process. I sit on LFTAC, Nick Bigelow has met with numerous science reporters, and the Executive Committee continues to provide advice new directions and projects. I would encourage all of you to look at the LaserFest website and provide me with any feedback-positive or negative.

Later in this newsletter, you will see a summary of recent Executive Committee discussions. Perhaps the most important long-term issue revolves around the two meetings DLS sponsors (CLEO/QELS in the spring, Laser Science in the fall). In particular, the technical show at CLEO/QELS has changed significantly in character over the last decade. At one time, this was the major meeting for manufacturers to introduce new products, and as a consequence it was very profitable (which also provided additional funding for DLS and the other sponsors). That role has been eclipsed by other meetings, both in the US and worldwide, and there are ongoing, serious discussions about what role this meeting should play in the broad laser community.

Finally, as some of you have surely noticed, APS is becoming more involved in the societal discussion about global warming evidence. On November 8, 2008, the APS council discussed possible revisions to its 2007 statement, which reads as follows:
“Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes. The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now. Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.”

A motion sponsored by one APS Council member and well over one hundred members and fellows (including several NAS and NAE members) suggested a vastly less assertive version, which you can read at http://www.openletter-globalwarming.info/Site/open_letter.html. That council member sent out a reasonably worded email to many of us simply pointing out this discussion was occurring, and then was publicly reprimanded by the 2009 APS president in an email to the whole membership for doing this.

Laser science is integral to atmospheric and global warming measurements, and as an elected APS officer I cannot let this reprimand pass. It would be hard to find a scientific issue today with greater societal implications -- or one where more stupid people scream loudly on both sides. I have strong opinions about the relative merits of these positions, but even stronger opinions about the value of open scientific discussion. The motion will be further considered by the APS Council this year. If an elected APS councilor effectively cannot address the APS membership to make them aware of the discussion, how can we call ourselves a scientific society?

I urge the signers of that petition to modify the link I have listed above to include cogent, science-based arguments that support their position. In my opinion, it is “put up or shut up” time.

Warren S. Warren
Chair, APS Division of Laser Science

Fall 2009 Division of Laser Science Election Results

In the most recent DLS election, Maria Allegrini and Paul Berman were elected to the Executive Committee as at-large members. They will serve through the close of the 2012 Laser Science meeting. Carlos Stroud has been elected Vice-Chair of the Division. He will serve for one year in that office and then move up to the Chair-Elect position. Many thanks go to all of the candidates who agreed to be nominated, and to the members who participated in the election.

Including the newly elected officers, the current members of the Executive Committee of the Division of Laser Science are as follows:

Division of Laser Science Executive Committee

Chair Warren S. Warren (Duke University)
Chair-elect Steven Cundiff (JILA, NIST and University of Colorado)
Vice Chair Carlos Stroud (University of Rochester)
Past Chair Nicholas Bigelow (University of Rochester)
Secretary / Treasurer Anne Kelley (University of California – Merced)
Councillor Steven Rolston (University of Maryland - College Park)
Member-at-Large Dana Anderson (University of Colorado – Boulder)
Antoinette Taylor (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
Michael Downer (University of Texas – Austin)
Robert Jones (University of Virginia)
Maria Allegrini (University of Pisa)
Paul Berman (University of Michigan - Ann Arbor)
Newsletter editor
Amy VanEngen Spivey (University of Puget Sound)

Highlights from the Frontiers in Optics 2009 / Laser Science XXV meeting October 11-15, San Jose, California, USA

(Courtesy the Optical Society)

Featuring leaders of optics and photonics, including two Nobel Laureates, FiO/LS 2009 drew together industry luminaries from around the globe. Sessions on 3-D display, supercomputing and imaging at the nanoscale were the talk of the conference, and advances in these areas generated buzz throughout the event. Green energy was also a central theme, with discussions of how to make integrated photonic circuits more environmentally friendly and the popular solar car races demonstrating solar-powered miniature cars for a captive audience. Attended by more than 1,500 of the field’s leaders and with more than 40 companies participating in the exhibition, and more than 1,000 presentations, FiO/LS 2009 provided the latest technical advances, networking opportunities and so much more.

fiols09_4 fiols09_3
fiols09_1 fiols09_2
Photos provided courtesy the Optical Society

The plenary session on Monday, October 12, featured two excellent speakers – Dr. Andrea Ghez from UCLA and Dr. Janos Kirz from the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Professor Gehz’s talk was entitled “Unveiling a Supermassive Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy”, and Dr. Kirz spoke about x-ray microscopy. More information and video of their presentations.

Additionally, as an example of the type of research news coming out of the conference, here are the links to news releases covering some of the interesting research at FiO/LS:

Upcoming events and meetings

  • LaserFest

    LaserFest is a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser, which was first demonstrated in 1960. The American Physical Society, the Optical Society, SPIE and the IEEE Photonics Society are collaborating to sponsor events around the world that will showcase how the laser works, the history of the laser and its impact on society, and the laser's potential for the future. You can get involved by participating or hosting your own event. Find out more at www.laserfest.org.

  • CLEO/QELS 2010: Laser Science to Photonic Applications

    Dates: May 16 – 21, 2010
    Location: San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California

    The Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) is being held this year with the Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference (QELS). The meeting is co-sponsored by the APS Division of Laser Science, IEEE Photonics Society, and the Optical Society. It features plenary sessions, invited talks, contributed papers, and short courses in many areas of optics and laser science as well as a large technical exhibit. More details can be found at www.cleoconference.org. This year’s meeting also includes a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser: the LaserFest Symposium on Sunday, May 16. Come join us in San Jose!

    Abstract submission deadline: December 2, 2009
    Post-deadline paper submission deadline: April 1, 2010
    Advance registration deadline: April 5, 2010
    Housing reservation deadline: April 14, 2010

  • Frontiers in Optics 2010 and Laser Science XXVI (FiO/LS)

    Dates: October 24 – 28, 2010
    Location: Rochester, New York, USA
    Abstract submission deadline: May 25, 2010

Student Travel Grant Program for CLEO/QELS 2010 (deadline: April 1)

(from Anne Kelley, Secretary / Treasurer of DLS)

We are now accepting applications for Student Travel Grants to assist with travel costs to CLEO/QELS in San Jose, CA, May 16 - 21, 2010. The deadline for receipt of complete applications is April 1, 2010.

Through this program, DLS will provide partial funding (up to $500) for a limited number of graduate students to attend and participate in CLEO/QELS. To be eligible, an applicant must be a full-time graduate student, a member of the Division of Laser Science, and the author or co-author on an oral or poster paper presented in a QELS session or a CLEO/QELS joint session. To make these funds as widely available as possible, some priority will be given to requests for a lower level of support and to distribution of these grants to students from different institutions.

Applicants should submit an application and a recommendation form from a faculty advisor. (See the links here for submission instructions). Applicants are required to email their acceptance letter or attach it to the application upon receiving the official notice. Only one award will be given per research group. Checks will be issued at the meeting. Hotel accommodations will be covered at up to half the conference rate for a double room.

Submit your requests to:

Anne Myers Kelley
DLS Secretary/Treasurer
School of Natural Sciences
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343

Distinguished Traveling Lecturer Program (next deadline: May 30)

The Distinguished Traveling Lecturer (DTL) Program is sponsored by the DLS, and its goal is to bring distinguished scientists to speak at colleges and departments that might not otherwise have the resources to invite them. The program covers the speaker’s honorarium and travel expenses, while the host institution is responsible for the speaker’s local expenses. Application deadlines occur on May 30 and November 30 each year. The 2009-2010 distinguished lecturers are:

Laurie Butler (University of Chicago)
Hui Cao (Yale University)
Eric Cornell (University of Colorado and NIST)
Fleming Crim (University of Wisconsin)
Jim Kafka (Spectra-Physics / Newport)
Chris Monroe (University of Maryland)
Luis Orozco (University of Maryland)
Carlos Stroud (University of Rochester)
Ron Walsworth (Harvard University)
Linda Young (Argonne National Laboratory)

Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (deadline: July 1)

Congratulations to the 2010 recipients of the Arthur Schawlow Prize: Henry Kapteyn and Margaret Murnane, both of JILA and the University of Colorado at Boulder! The Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science is sponsored by the Division of Laser Science. It recognizes outstanding contributions to basic research which uses lasers to advance our knowledge of the fundamental physical properties of materials and their interaction with light.

To nominate a colleague for the 2011 prize, please refer to the nomination guidelines. The next deadline for nominations is July 1, 2010.

Nominate a colleague for Fellowship in the APS (deadline: April 1)

(from Anne Kelley, Secretary / Treasurer of DLS)

I would like to encourage you to nominate deserving DLS members for Fellowship in the APS. Fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one's professional peers. The next deadline for nominations is April 1, 2010.

Information on the nominating process can be found on the Fellowships portion of the APS web page. If you are not sure whether a potential nominee is already a Fellow or whether they are a DLS member, you can check the APS member directory on the APS web site by selecting “Member Directory” under the “Membership” tab. Alternatively, you can find a membership list for each APS unit, with Fellows noted as such. This list is slightly out of date but still useful.

New 2009 APS Fellows elected through the Division of Laser Science (DLS)

Congratulations to the following members of the Division of Laser Science who were named Fellows of the American Physical Society in 2009! These people were nominated through the Division of Laser Science.

Doyeol Ahn, University of Seoul
Citation: For major contributions to the theory of quantum-well lasers and development of quantum information communication research.

Janos Bergou, CUNY-Hunter College
Citation: For outstanding work in quantum optics and quantum information, in particular work on the theory of correlated emission lasers, the effect of pump statistics on the nature of the electromagnetic field produced in lasers and micromasers, and on quantum state discrimination.

Kenji Ohmori, National Institute of Natural Science
Citation: For his pioneering development of spatiotemporal wave-packet engineering in which the ultrafast wave-packet interference in a molecule is visualized and controlled with precisions on the picometer spatial and attosecond temporal scales.

Ci-Ling Pan, National Tsing Hua University
Citation: For pioneering studies of the physics and technology of ion-planted semiconductor and liquid-crystal devices for ultrafast and THz applications, and for significant contributions toward developing tunable and ultrafast laser systems for applications in communications, sensing, spectroscopy and materials diagnostics and processing.

Joseph W. Perry, Georgia Institute of Technology
Citation: For seminal contributions to the understanding, development and application of organic nonlinear optical materials.

Konstantin L. Vodopyanov, Stanford University
Citation: For development of a new class of broadly-tunable infrared and terahertz sources based on nonlinear-optical conversion in bulk, micro- and nano- structured media, and their application to spectroscopic studies including demonstration of electromagnetically-induced transparency in quantum wells.

Additional DLS members named APS Fellows in 2009

Congratulations to the following members of the Division of Laser Science who were named Fellows of the American Physical Society in 2009! These people were nominated through other APS divisions.

Eric Borquet, Temple University
Citation: For his seminal contributions to our understanding of optical, molecular and electronic phenomena at buried interfaces, complex interfaces, and nanosystems; and for the development of novel experimental tools and methodologies, particularly the development of fluorescent labeling of surface species.
Nominated by: Chemical Physics (DCP)

David K. Bradley, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Citation: For the development and use of high speed optical and x-ray instrumentation to discover new phenomena in high energy density plasmas.
Nominated by: Plasma Physics (DPP)

Thomas R. Gentile, NIST
Citation: For his extensive contributions to diverse precision measurements, particularly in the development of neutron spin filters using polarized 3He and in the application of polarized 3He to precision measurements in neutron science.
Nominated by: Precision Measurement and Fundamental Constants (GPMFC)

Richard F. Haglund, Vanderbilt University
Citation: For theh innovative creation of new materials and the exploration of their properties employing sophisticated optical probes.
Nominated by: Materials Physics (DMP)

Gregory E. Hall, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Citation: For innovative applications of high resolution molecular spectroscopy to photodissociation dynamics, energy transfer and bimolecular reactions.
Nominated by: Chemical Physics (DCP)

Alexander M. Kuzmich, Georgia Institute of Technology
Citation: For experimental work with atomic ensembles that have advanced our understanding of atom-atom and atom-light entanglement, demonstating the feasibility of quantum repeaters.
Nominated by: Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics (DAMOP)

David S. Perry, University of Akron
Citation: For outstanding contributions to understanding the dynamics of molecular vibrations, especially the important roles large-amplitude motions play in intramolecular vibrational redistribution (IVR) of flexible molecules.
Nominated by: Chemical Physics (DCP)

Minutes of the October 2009 DLS Executive Committee meeting

(from Anne Kelley, Secretary/Treasurer of DLS)

Held in the Santa Cruz Room, Hotel St. Claire, San Jose, CA, on October 13, 2009

Members present: Nick Bigelow, chair; Steve Cundiff, vice-chair; Warren Warren, chair-elect; Anne Kelley, secretary-treasurer; Roseanne Sension, member-at-large; Toni Taylor, member-at-large.

Guests: Hal Metcalf (Symposium on Undergraduate Research chair); Mike Raymer (CLEO Steering).

Nick Bigelow called the meeting to order at 9:10 am.

Minutes: The minutes from the June 1 meeting in Baltimore were approved.

IONS meeting: Brooke Hester (University of Maryland) reported on the first IONS North America meeting, sponsored by the student chapter of the OSA in the Washington, DC area. About 75 students from 15 countries participated. The program included Congressional visits, lab tours, student talks, student posters, and two plenary presentations. APS-DLS contributed $300 to fund the “best talk” award, which went to Thomas O’Sullivan from Stanford. Future meetings will be in September 2010 at the University of Arizona, and at CREOL in Florida the following year. Brooke will send DLS an e-mail list of attendees and a photo of the best talk award presentation for the Newsletter.

Elections: Underway, close October 26. The next vice-chair and two Executive Committee members to be chosen. The election is running late because nominees were received late from the nominating committee.

Deadlines and shared calendar: Steve suggested using Google Calendar to share information on dates and deadlines. Important dates and actions from the DLS “user manual” could be uploaded onto a shared calendar. Anne will look into this.

Fellows: We should be sure worthy DLS members get nominated. Anne will e-mail the membership encouraging them to nominate colleagues.

NSBP/NSHP best paper award: This year DLS made two awards, selected by Wendell Hill at the February meeting. Recipients get a cash award of $200 plus expenses to attend the Laser Science meeting. If they don’t attend the meeting, they get only a certificate. Brandon Zimmerman from Rochester (attending LS meeting) and Juan Pino from JILA (not attending) are this year’s winners. Nick will assist Wendell in choosing next year’s recipients but we need a more systematic approach. It was suggested that Fellows in the local area be recruited to help Wendell with the selections and be reimbursed local travel and registration fees.

LaserFest: OSA, APS, and SPIE are the three founding partners of LaserFest (scientific societies that contribute at least $100,000 cash or in-kind). There are also a number of "partner" organizations (22 at present and still recruiting) that do a variety of activities. Warren is a member of the technical advisory committee. A section on the LaserFest web site entitled “Women in Laser Science” has been changed to “Faces in Laser Science” but still 6 out of 7 are women; Warren would like suggestions of additional names who should span a wide range of career stages, research fields, and nationalities, including students and postdocs. A video for broad distribution is in preparation, narrated by Ira Flatow of NPR. Becky Thompson-Flagg (head of public outreach, APS) and Barbara Hutchison (LaserFest project manager, OSA) gave a presentation on LaserFest describing a wide range of outreach activities, particularly to schools. Free demonstration kits have been sent to 13,000 classrooms. A number of $10,000 grants have been awarded for outreach activities.

Distinguished Traveling Lecturer series and related: "Branding" the DTL series as a LaserFest activity was discussed. There was general agreement on doing this as long as we don't change the nature of the program. There was also discussion of other requests that have come or may come for speakers or interviewees who are experts on lasers. It was agreed that we would provide Becky with a list of people who agree to have their names put on the LaserFest web site for this purpose.

International Year of Light: John Dudley, from the European equivalent of APS-DLS (EPS), is proposing an "International Year of Light" for 2014 or 2015. 2009 is International Year of Astronomy, 2010 is Chemistry, etc. These assignments are made by the UN General Assembly after endorsement by IUPAC and UNESCO. It requires an organizational structure including endorsement from all major players in international optics. John is seeking DLS endorsement and a DLS member to serve on advisory committee. The EC voted unanimously to endorse the IYL. This endorsement should go directly to Kate Kirby, who should select someone for a multi-year commitment on the advisory committee.

Undergrad Research Symposium: Hal reported that the symposium went well. Students have the opportunity to present work, meet peers, and do networking. Hotel arrangements (Wyndham) worked very well. Scientific caliber of presentations mixed but mostly very good. Good traffic at poster session including a couple of plenary lecturers. Donations were obtained from about 5 organizations totaling $5-$6 K plus an NSF grant for $5K. The total cost is about $25K and many of the students’ institutions pay airfare; DLS cost expected to be well under the approved $8K ceiling. The EC voted unanimously to provide up to $8K for next year's Undergraduate Research Symposium.

New Laser Scientists conference: This is held every 2 years for starting faculty in laser science. Last year's organizer was Mike Chapman; Steve agreed to organize for next year. Held with LiO/LS, piggybacked onto end of this meeting. ~20 attendees last yr. The EC voted unanimously to provide $5K for next year's meeting. It was noted that attendees should be required (or at least strongly encouraged) to join DLS if not yet members.

Financial report: Anne reported that expenditures this year are about constant but income is way down, mainly due to almost vanishing income from CLEO/QELS and reduced investment income. DLS will likely lose money this year. Membership is about constant.

Newsletter: Amy Spivey, the new editor, will publish twice a year. There was discussion of listing awards won by DLS members through organizations other than DLS. It was decided that this should not be done because of the difficulty in being comprehensive, except for APS Fellows who are DLS members but are elected through other divisions.

Laser Science 2010 in Rochester: Todd Krauss (Rochester, chemistry) and Jim Schaffer (U Oklahoma, chemical physics) are co-chairs. There was discussion of the large changes in programming and symposium topics from one year to the next. It would be desirable for there to be more continuity. Chairs should be appointed as far in advance as possible and Warren will attempt to do so for 2011. It would be good if the following year’s chairs were symposium organizers the previous year. We need to build lists of symposium topics that will largely carry over to next year.
[In an e-mail vote held on Oct. 16, the Executive Committee voted to allocate $12,000 to the 2010 Laser Science co-chairs to offset expenses for invited speakers. This item was inadvertently left off the agenda of the Oct. 13 meeting.]

CLEO/QELS rebranding: The CLEO/QELS meeting has been making a smaller profit in recent years and is in danger of going into the red; this year (2009) it was barely profitable. DLS is a co-sponsor (with OSA and IEEE) of the QELS part, and in the past it has constituted a major source of income for the Division. Last spring a consulting firm (Revenue Capture) was hired to explore changes that might be made to make the conference more profitable. The recommendations included various actions to make the meeting more attractive to exhibitors and better competition to conferences like Photonics West, as the exhibit is the profitable part of the combined meeting. These included "rebranding" the conference to eliminate the confusing array of names (QELS, Phast, etc.); QELS was to be retained as a subheading. The OSA staff were enthusiastic about implementing the recommended changes and a group of representatives of the co-sponsors including Nick, Anne, and Joe Serene from APS agreed to some of the recommendations, but after getting somewhat reluctant buy-in from JCQE and the CLEO Steering chair (Alan Willner), the proposal met strong opposition from some of the CLEO program chairs. As a result, only minimal changes are being implemented for 2010, but these issues will resurface.

The EC endorsed holding a "town hall meeting" at the next CLEO/QELS to solicit input from the broad community of attendees. Longer-term appointments of DLS representatives to these co-sponsor meetings were also suggested to allow us to establish expertise on the issues. It was agreed that Nick and Anne will each serve 2-year terms as DLS representatives on the future of CLEO/QELS, at which time the issue should be revisited.

Laser Science meeting statistics: Chad Stark (OSA meetings) reported on the current meeting. Laser Science has 99 invited and 51 contributed talks; contributed talks are way down, and invited way up, from 2008 in Rochester. All registrants are asked to indicate their primary meeting (FiO, LS, or others); LS has 132 registered, 9% of meeting total. There was considerable discussion that this does not accurately reflect interest in the LS programming and that numbers of contributed papers and/or attendance at sessions are better measures. The FiO program chairs for 2010 (Rochester) are Colin McKinstrie and Donna Strickland. FiO/LS will be back in San Jose for 2011 in the same two hotels. Future meeting locations are Rochester in 2012 and Orlando in 2013.

The meeting was adjourned about 3:50 pm.