August 2011 Newsletter

In this issue

Editor's Note

Amy SpiveyWelcome to the August 2011 edition of the American Physical Society’s Division of Laser Science (DLS) newsletter. This month’s newsletter contains several items of particular interest. The DLS chair’s letter provides a comprehensive update of recent division business. Let me also draw your attention to the call for donations to the Schawlow Prize endowment fund. This newsletter also contains an update from the CLEO 2011 conference and details about the upcoming Frontiers in Optics 2011 and Laser Science XXVII meeting, as well as a number of other items that should be of interest to DLS members.

For those who prefer to print out a hard copy of this newsletter rather than merely reading the hypertext version, here are some instructions for doing so: Take a look at the menu at the left. In the light blue box, there is a "Print" link next to a little printer icon. Clicking on that link should take you to a printable version of the newsletter. Once you are viewing the printable version, if you select File and Print in your browser's command menu, you should be able to print all pages of the newsletter.

Feel free to contact me with comments, questions, or items for inclusion in the next division newsletter, which is planned for January of 2012.


Amy VanEngen Spivey, editor

From the Division Chair

Steven CundiffThe CLEO/QELS conference has traditionally been an important gathering for our field. This spring saw the first time that the CLEO name was used for the entire conference and the QELS part, which is most pertinent to laser scientists, was known as “CLEO: QELS – Fundamental Science”. While this change in name seemed to diminish the role of QELS, it actually had the opposite effect and the fraction of submissions to the CLEO:QELS grew from the previous year. This increase is a strong indicator of the health of the laser science community.

The annual Laser Science meeting will be held this fall in San Jose in conjunction with the Frontiers in Optics meeting. Robert Boyd and Roseanne Sension have been working hard to assemble an outstanding program. More information about the meeting can be found below. The annual business meeting of the Division will be held at the Laser Science meeting at 6 pm on Tuesday, October 18th. Please stop by and say hello to the division officers!

Of course, the highlight of the Laser Science meeting will be the Division Banquet. Tony Siegman will give the after-dinner talk, which will surely be very entertaining!

The APS March Meeting is one of the largest gatherings of physicists in the world. While the Division of Laser Science (DLS) is officially one of the sponsors of the March Meeting, it has not been an active participant in the last few years. The current DLS leadership is hoping to revive the tradition of DLS organizing some sessions at the March Meeting. Since the March Meeting serves as the annual meeting for the APS Divisions of Condensed Matter Physics and Chemical Physics, the overlap of Laser Science with these disciplines is a natural topic. If you would like to get involved in organizing laser-related sessions at the March Meeting, please contact the DLS Chair-Elect, Carlos Stroud.

The DLS nominating committee is in the process of finalizing the list of nominees for the upcoming election of DLS leadership. Please watch your e-mail for the announcement of the election, which will be coming out shortly.

My time as Chair of the Division will come to an end at the end of the Laser Science meeting, so this will be my last Chair’s message. It has been an honor to serve as the DLS chair and a pleasure to work with the division leadership.

Steven T. Cundiff
Chair, APS Division of Laser Science

Call for donations to the Schawlow Prize fund

The Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science has been awarded annually 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.

Due to the weak return on investments over the last few years, the endowment for the Schawlow Prize has dropped below the level needed to be self-sustaining. To address this shortfall, members of the division are asked to consider making a donation to the Schawlow prize fund. To contribute, go to the APS website. At the right, there is a link entitled “Contribute Online”. If you follow it, you can check a box to select the Schawlow Prize endowment as the recipient of your contributions.

Challenge Matching Fund: To encourage donations, former prize winners as well as family members and associates of Arthur Schawlow have offered to match (dollar-for-dollar) contributions made before December 15, 2011. Currently, $11,000 has been pledged to this matching fund.

Highlights from the CLEO:2011 meeting

(courtesy the Optical Society)

This year, CLEO (the Conference on Lasers and Electro-optics) was held May 1-6 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. As in years past, CLEO:2011 provided a venue for the latest research and business developments coming out of the lasers and electro-optics field. Featured technical presentations covered developments from around the world in the areas of nonlinear optics, biophotonics, ultrafast lasers, quantum optics and more. CLEO is co-sponsored by the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society, the IEEE Photonics Society, and the Optical Society.

This year at CLEO, more than 1,700 presentations were spread across three program areas:
  • CLEO: QELS - Fundamental Science continued to be the premier venue for discussion of fundamental research in optical and laser physics-related areas.
  • CLEO: Science & Innovations covered applied research and innovations in lasers, optical materials, and photonic devices.
  • CLEO: Applications & Technology, a new program area, explored the intersection of academic research with product commercialization.
Each of the program areas featured exciting new results in a variety of research fields. For example, appearing in the CLEO: QELS - Fundamental Science category was a paper demonstrating a full 3-D invisibility cloak in visible light by a research team from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. The CLEO: Science & Innovations program included a paper from the Institute for Molecular Science in Japan demonstrating a ceramic micro-laser with two-beam output for multi-point ignition, which may one day lead to traditional spark plugs being replaced with a fuel-efficient laser-based system. Finally, the CLEO: Applications & Technology program included a presentation from Lawrence Livermore National Lab on several applications of MEGa-rays, including mobile MEGa-ray technology for bomb detection, nuclear waste assessment and drug tracking.

The CLEO plenary sessions reflected the full range of content in research and technology with presentations from four luminaries in the field. In the first plenary session, Don Keck (retired, Corning) gave an insightful historical perspective on the development of the first low-loss optical fiber, while Jim Fujimoto (MIT) provided a glimpse into the world of medical imaging with optical coherence tomography. The second plenary session featured keynote presentations from Moti Segev (Technion Institute of Technology, Israel), who discussed the Anderson localization of light, and Susumu Noda (Kyoto University, Japan), whose presentation focused on recent progress in photonic crystals.

Held from Tuesday through Thursday, CLEO: Expo showcased the latest in laser systems, optoelectronic components, imaging and sensing equipment, infrared detectors, test & measurement equipment and more from 300 participating companies. The new products and demos were complemented by show floor programming highlighting technology transfer and four hot topic areas as part of CLEO: Market Focus - biophotonics, energy, industrial lasers and defense/security.

CLEO:2012 will take place in San Jose, California, from May 6-11, 2012. See you there!

Upcoming meetings

Frontiers in Optics 2011 and Laser Science XXVII (FiO/LS) -

Dates: October 16 – 20, 2011
Location: Fairmont Hotel and Sainte Claire Hotel, San Jose, California, USA
Housing deadline: September 16, 2011
Pre-registration deadline: September 27, 2011
Post-deadline paper submission deadline: October 3, 2011

The FiO/LS 2011 conference covers many of the latest advances in optics and laser science. The meeting includes 5 days of intense, up-to-date programming with cutting-edge presentations on the latest advancements in optics and photonics. The conference also features a variety of special events offering the opportunity to network with pioneers and colleagues from around the globe.

The LS XXVII portion of FiO/LS serves as the annual meeting of the Division of Laser Science (DLS) of the APS and provides an important forum for presenting the latest work on laser applications and development. This year, a fantastic array of topics and speakers has been arranged for the LS XXVII program in areas ranging from Coherence and Control in Energy Transfer to Absolute Metrology Based on Quantum Information Science. A full list of symposium titles and the list of confirmed invited speakers can be found on the FiO/LS website.

In addition to the LS symposia there will be a joint FiO/LS plenary session featuring Professor Sir John Pendry and Professor Ferenc Krausz as plenary speakers, and Dr. Ivan Kaminow and Professor Jorge Rocca as award winners. Attendees can also visit more than 80 exhibitors in the exhibit hall or attend special events such as the OSA Welcome Reception, MWOSA Luncheon, Undergraduate Research Symposium, or a wide array of activities for students and young professionals.

This year, the LS banquet will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. at the Gordon Biersch Brewery in San Jose (just a few blocks from the conference hotels). The after-dinner speaker will be Tony Siegman, and his talk will be titled "Optics with Gain". Tickets are required for this event and can be purchased when you register for the conference.

More information about student travel grants, child care grants, and the Undergraduate Research Symposium at FiO/LS can be found below. See you in San Jose!

CLEO: 2012
(includes CLEO:QELS – Fundamental Science and other event elements)

Dates: May 6 – 11, 2012
Location: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California, USA
Abstract submission deadline: December 5, 2011
Postdeadline paper submission deadline: March 30, 2012

Student Travel Grants for FiO/LS 2011 meeting
Deadline: September 1, 2011

(from Anne Kelley, Secretary/Treasurer of DLS)

We are now accepting applications for Student Travel Grants to assist with travel costs to the Laser Science XXVII meeting in San Jose. Through this program, DLS will provide partial funding (up to $500) for a limited number of graduate students to attend and participate in FiO/LS. To be eligible, an applicant must be a full-time graduate student, a member of the Division of Laser Science, and the presenting author on an oral or poster paper. Normally the recommending faculty mentor must also be a member of DLS. Further information and application forms can be found on the DLS web site.

Child Care Grants for FiO/LS 2011 meeting
Deadline: September 1, 2011

(from Anne Kelley, Secretary/Treasurer of DLS)

We are now accepting applications for a pilot Child Care Grants program for the Laser Science XXVII meeting. Grants of up to $300 are available to assist DLS members who are bringing children to the meeting or who incur extra expenses in leaving them at home (e.g., extra daycare or babysitting services).Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and grant recipients will be notified prior to the conference. In the event that the number of requests for grants exceeds the funding available, preference will be given to applicants in the early stages of their careers.

Eligible costs include babysitters (onsite at the conference location or at home) and airfare/hotel for a caregiver to accompany the child to the conference location. Meals, toys, onsite transportation and tickets to museums or other attractions are not eligible for reimbursement. Grant recipients are solely responsible for their choice of child care provider, and APS-DLS does not endorse any child care providers. To receive funds, applicants must submit a reimbursement request along with original receipts no later than November 20, 2011.

The deadline for applications is September 1, 2011. Further information and application forms can be found on the DLS web site.

Symposium on Undergraduate Research at FiO/LS 2011

(From Harold Metcalf)

The eleventh annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research at the Frontiers in Optics / Laser Science meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, October 17, in the afternoon.This symposium is always one of the highlights of the meeting, and all meeting participants are invited to attend the posters and talks. It has grown from ten presentations in 2001 to more than thirty in recent years. Last year in Rochester, participants presented 45 talks and posters in three sessions. Presenters typically represent dozens of universities and research institutes in the U.S. and Europe. Programs, articles, and photos from past symposia are available here.

Symposium events begin with a poster session followed by the oral presentation sessions. Besides students and mentors, the audience usually includes quite a few regular conference attendees. The abstract deadline will be sometime toward the end of the summer, since undergraduate students usually do their projects in various summer programs.Those interested in having their names on the mailing list should write to Dr. Harold Metcalf. Please send names and e-mail addresses for both the student and the advisor.

Distinguished Traveling Lecturer Program (next deadline: November 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 current 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)

NSF Workshop on AMO Theory in August 2011

(from Anne Kelley, DLS Secretary-Treasurer)

Dear Colleagues,

A workshop entitled AMO Theory: Recent Developments and a Vision for the Future will be held at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA, on August 18-19, 2011, with the following objectives:

I. To bring together leading researchers in atomic, molecular, and optical physics to assess the state of theoretical research in the field and to formulate a vision for theoretical atomic, molecular, and optical physics (TAMOP) for the next decade.

II. To survey the current organizational and funding landscape in TAMOP, including the balance between individual investigators, groups of investigators, centers and institutes, and types of institutions, and to suggest general guidelines for the next decade.

This workshop will bring together leading scientists from the U.S. and elsewhere, funding agents, AMO-related center directors, and other interested representatives in a highly interactive format. Panel and open-floor discussions will follow a number of scientific overview talks. Funding agents will report on the current funding situation. Involvement of the Office of Science and Technology Policy is also anticipated. The end product of this workshop will be a report prepared by the four co-organizers.

Participation is open to all interested attendees from the AMO community (subject to space constraints). We especially encourage attendance by young investigators, including new faculty members and senior postdocs, to help us identify future directions in TAMOP. In addition, the majority of the workshop sessions will be broadcast via EVO, thereby also allowing for remote participation in the discussion.

For further information see the workshop website. An online discussion will be conducted on this site in the weeks leading up to the workshop, so that the community can formulate a set of "big scientific questions" for the field and can address the programmatic issues of Objective II. Your input to this discussion is essential to guide the process.

Registration and the discussion forum for the workshop will be open on June 20, 2011, on the web site.

Sincerely yours,

The Workshop Co-Organizers
Klaus Bartschat
Doerte Blume
Carlton Caves
Ivan Deutsch

Nominate a colleague for the 2012 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Award for Initiatives in Research
Deadline: September 15, 2011

The National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research is given to recognize innovative young scientists (preferably 35 years old or younger) and to encourage research likely to lead toward new capabilities for human benefit. The field of presentation rotates among the physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The 2012 award is scheduled for presentation in the area of materials science. Recipients must be citizens of the United States. Detailed instructions for submitting a nomination can be found on the NAS web site.

Minutes of the May 2011 DLS Executive Committee meeting

(from Anne Kelley, Secretary/Treasurer of DLS)

Minutes from DLS Executive Committee meeting at CLEO
Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD
May 2, 2011

Present: Steve Cundiff (Chair), Carlos Stroud (Chair-Elect), Henry Kapteyn (Vice-Chair), Warren Warren (Past Chair), Anne Kelley (Secretary-Treasurer), Nora Berrah (Member-At-Large), Paul Berman (Member-At-Large), Anthony Johnson (Councilor).

The meeting was called to order by Steve Cundiff at 9:04 am.

Steve introduced the new Executive Committee members present—Henry, Anthony, and Nora.

The minutes from the EC meeting at FiO/LS in October 2010 were approved.

Anne gave a Treasurer’s report. The total assets of the Division are holding approximately steady at about $400K over the past few years, but are no longer increasing due to the reduced revenue from CLEO and the lower investment income. In 2010 the Division spent $43,539. Membership is currently at 2.94% of APS total, a small increase over last year. We are still just below the 3% nominal threshold for Division status, but we are not the smallest Division.

Anne reported on the Student Travel Grants program. For CLEO 2011, ten grants of $500 each were made. Although students presenting at any part of meeting were eligible as long as they were DLS members, a majority of the recipients were presenting at CLEO:QELS. For this round, preference was given to students whose advisors were DLS members but it was not required. It was agreed to maintain the same general format for the 2011: students may present at either FiO or Laser Science, and preference will be given to applicants whose advisors are DLS members. It was agreed to approve a higher level of funding if we have enough deserving applicants. The committee voted to approve up to $7500 for Student Travel Grants at FiO/LS.

Anne summarized the new DLS Fellows, as well as Fellows who are DLS members but were nominated through other Divisions. Steve announced this year’s Fellowship committee: Carlos Stroud, Henry Kapteyn, Mike Raymer (1 yr term), Fred Raab (2 yr term), Nancy Levinger (2 yr term). EC members are encouraged to promote/nominate deserving members for Fellowship.

Steve announced progress on this year’s Nominating Committee: Duncan Steel and Laurie Butler have agreed, with the third member to be chosen by APS.

Laser Science 2011 (San Jose): Report sent by program chairs Roseanne Sension and Bob Boyd. The program looks good with ten symposia. Nominally the DLS chair appoints the program chairs for 2012, but Carlos will be DLS chair at that time so Steve and Carlos should do this together. Gordon Biersch was agreed to for the banquet location, as people were happy with it last time. Suggestions for after-dinner speakers should go to Steve.

Steve reported on the 2010 New Laser Scientists Conference. This is run as a satellite to LS, sole sponsor is DLS. It is open to new faculty in their 1st or 2nd year, including some who have accepted but not started faculty positions yet. They give talks and meet with program managers. Dan Stamper-Kurn was vice-chair this year and will run the next meeting. Comments from participants were generally positive, but one noted a need for child care and others found it too AMO- and/or Colorado-centered. It was proposed that a call be put out to all DLS members for nominations and self-nominations to improve the transparency of the invitation process.

Hal Metcalf reported on the 2010 Symposium on Undergrad Research, also held in conjunction with the Laser Science meeting. The total cost to DLS was only $5585, much less than the $8000 allocated. NSF provided $7000 in support and that is expected to be repeated this year. Several companies also provided support. Most travel was paid by advisors or universities. All agreed that this is an excellent program that greatly benefits the student participants.

Anthony Johnson reported from APS Council. Total APS membership is up to 48,263. An open-access all–electronic journal, Phys. Rev. X, is coming this fall. APS investments are doing remarkably well given the current economic climate. A new topical group on physics of climate is being formed with the goal of focusing on physics, not politics. An audit committee report gave APS a clean bill of health on its finances. Plans for physical plant expansion of APS Ridge operations are being delayed owing to concerns related to environmental impact. An APS public opinion poll finds that the mood of electorate is very pessimistic, with decreasing support for scientific research. APS is undertaking a strategic planning exercise for the first time and has hired Ross Simon, who performed a similar service recently for the American Chemical Society.

Wendell Hill reported for JCQE. There has been a change in the selection method for QELS program chairs. The previous chairs now select four people, from whom the committee selects the two chairs. Toni Taylor is now JQCE chair. Wendell’s term is ending, and names of possible successors should be sent to Steve. Nick Bigelow and Hailin Wang are the other continuing members.

Distinguished Traveling Lecturer program: Chair Rainer Grobe provided a written report. It was suggested that this program be advertised more widely to small schools in particular, perhaps via AAPT. It was also suggested that some people who have been on the committee for a long time be replaced, possibly including someone from a small college. Suggestions should be sent to Steve, who will transmit to Rainer. Also, lecturers who have been on the list for a while but have not received invitations to lecture might be replaced, perhaps by more bio-oriented people.

Schawlow prize financials: Due to decreasing investment income, DLS has been warned by APS that the Schawlow Prize is no longer on firm financial footing. Several remedies were suggested, the most palatable being that DLS pick up travel and certificate costs associated with the award. It was also agreed to put in the newsletter, and e-mail to DLS members, a request to DLS members to raise money to support the prize. Steve will contact the APS Development Office for help on how to do this. The APS web page has a list of prizes to which contributions may be designated, but the Schawlow Prize is not currently included. The committee voted to have DLS assume the travel and certificate costs associated with the Schawlow Prize for the next 3 years.

The committee met with Liz Rogan (OSA), Chad Stark (OSA), Rich Linke (IEEE), and Nick Bigelow on the phone. CLEO 2011 was discussed. Overall number of papers has been nearly constant from 2009-2011, with a larger share for QELS this year. Contributed papers are considerably down for CLEO, but up for QELS (compared with 2009 & 2010). Estimated 2011 attendance is about constant compared with ’09 and ’10. But number of full technical registrants is decreasing with increase in student attendance, and increase in student submissions.

The CLEO management contract with OSA for next 3 years was discussed. Kate Kirby will continue to be the contact person for negotiations with OSA. There is general agreement that the proposed new contract is a considerable improvement over the old one in that the management fee is now tied to revenues. There are still some issues of discomfort, but the general feeling is that the April 4 draft contract is going in the right direction and that Kate has done an excellent job of negotiating. The following resolution was passed by unanimous vote: We authorize Kate Kirby, APS Executive Officer, to act on behalf of the Division of Laser Science in negotiating the management contract for the CLEO conference through 2014, with the proposal dated April 4, 2011 as a starting point. The DLS leadership stands ready to provide the APS Executive Officer with advice and guidance as desired. The DLS leadership asks to be kept informed of progress and issues.

The CISA International Travel Grant award program run by APS was discussed. Nearly all other APS Divisions have made some financial contribution to this program, and it was agreed that DLS should too. Nora Berrah expressed willingness to serve as the DLS representative on the program selection committee. The committee voted to contribute $1000 per year to this program for two years, then reevaluate our position.

The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics had written to us suggesting that we consider providing some support for child care for parents with young children attending conferences. There was some discussion of what forms such support might take and what is realistic for DLS to do. It was proposed to run a small pilot project for the upcoming Laser Science 2011 meeting modeled on the Student Travel Grant program. DLS members attending the meeting could submit requests for reimbursement of costs which might include paying a child care provider, travel costs to the meeting for another adult to assist with care, or travel costs for the child. The maximum grant would be $500. The committee voted to commit $1000 for a one-time trial child care grant program at LS 2011. Steve will communicate to OSA that we are doing this. Anne will write a trial call for requests and circulate to the committee for comment prior to sending it out to DLS members.

The National Academy is preparing a followup to its “Harnessing Light” report on opportunities in laser and photonics related fields, informally dubbed “Harnessing Light II”. Funding has fallen short of needs and DLS is being approached about funding it. This report is not coming from board on Physics & Astronomy but from the Materials & Manufacturing board and there is some question about whether its emphasis will be well aligned with that of DLS. There is also a question of whether having a society like DLS fund such a study will produce an appearance of bias that will limit the impact of its recommendations. The funding shortfall is more than $100,000 so a small contribution from DLS is unlikely to have much effect. The sense of the committee is that the risks of funding this undertaking outweigh the potential benefits. Members also wanted to know the makeup of the committee that will write the report. Steve will draft a response summarizing our concerns and stating that we will be happy to help with dissemination of the final report.

New business: DLS is listed as a sponsor of the March meeting and has the right to organize sessions, but in recent years we have not done so. This was discussed and it was agreed that it would be a good idea for DLS to have some presence at the March meeting. Nominally this task is supposed to fall to the chair-elect. Steve will find out what we need to do to organize sessions at the 2012 March meeting and then discuss with Carlos.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:52 pm.

Disclaimer- The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Division of Laser Science Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.