August 2012 Newsletter

In this issue

Editor's Note

Amy SpiveyWelcome to the August 2012 edition of the American Physical Society's Division of Laser Science (DLS) newsletter. This month's newsletter contains several items of particular interest. There is a summary and wrap-up of CLEO:2012 and detailed information about the Frontiers in Optics / Laser Science meeting coming up in Rochester, NY, in October. Several other meetings of interest to the laser science community are also listed. Information about travel grants and childcare grants available from DLS to members attending FiO/LS can be found in this newsletter, as well as the minutes of the last DLS Executive Committee meeting, held at CLEO in May.

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 2013.

Amy VanEngen Spivey, editor

From the Division Chair

Carlos StroudMy year of service as Chair of the Division is passing rapidly.  While DLS is healthy and, I think, serving its members well, I am daunted by the opportunities and challenges that we face. Lasers are ubiquitous in modern science and technology, and new important applications are being developed with great regularity. Thus, the number of potential members of the Division is large and growing. In spite of this, we are one of the smaller divisions of APS. Clearly there is a much larger community which we could serve. Many of these laser users are members of other divisions of APS and of other professional societies in various areas of medicine and engineering. I think that our current umbrella of programs would serve these scientists and engineers well, giving them the chance to learn new applications of lasers in other areas that might address some of their own current problems. We simply need to reach out to these people and make sure that they know the benefits of being a member of DLS. We are doing that in several ways. We are organizing a focused symposium at the APS March meeting each year to bring DLS to the attention of the condensed matter community which makes up the bulk of the attendees. We have made up a new flier which will be distributed to all attendees of our October FiO/LS meeting. This flier sets out the benefits of being a member of DLS, and the relatively small price of availing oneself of these benefits. We are also distributing the flier at the International OSA Network of Students (IONS) conference in New York City just preceding FiO/LS and providing some student travel support to the IONS conference. 

Reaching out to students and to society in general is another way to increase our membership and the general visibility of the Division. An important outreach activity is starting this month with the release of the National Academy of Science’s report Harnessing Light II, which outlines the foreseen opportunities and funding needs for lasers and optics in the coming decade. Henry Kapteyn and Wayne Knox have generously agreed to represent DLS in publicizing this report and bringing it to the attention of our representatives on Capitol Hill. In these turbulent times for science funding, it is important that we have a well-thought-out plan to guide the critical decisions that are about to be made.

Perhaps the most rewarding DLS activity that I have experienced is serving as a Distinguished Traveling Lecturer in Laser Science for the past 10 years or so. It really is a program that seems to have a remarkable impact. Each of the lecturers makes one or two visits per year to undergraduate colleges that do not have regular research colloquia. These are normally two-day visits including a colloquium, a public lecture, participation in some classes, and meetings with local faculty and students. Often, a lecture to local high school students is a part of the visit. It is generally a very full and taxing two days, but I have almost always come away feeling exhilarated and delighted that I could help generate some enthusiasm for laser science in communities where we are not normally a topic of conversation. It also provides some publicity and visibility to undergraduate physics departments which have often been marginalized by shrinking enrollments in recent times. Perhaps the most remarkable visit that I made was to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. As a part of the visit there was an open house in which local high school students were brought in to tour the department, and then an evening public lecture which attracted more than 200 people to hear my lecture on "Quantum Weirdness: Technology of the Future?" Local television covered the event which included my teleportation in to give the lecture. Of course, I had to spend considerable time assuring the audience that quantum teleportation was not like the Star Trek version, but I had a lot of people thinking about quantum superpositions and entanglement. I am convinced that reaching out to the general public in this way helps build support for science and engineering research funding, and encourages more students to undertake careers in our field.

I look forward to seeing you all in Rochester at FiO/LS in October.

Carlos Stroud
Chair, APS Division of Laser Science

Encourage students and colleagues to join the APS and Division of Laser Science

There are many benefits to joining the Division of Laser Science when you become a member of APS. These benefits include:

  • Reduced registration fees at CLEO and FiO/LS
  • Eligibility for nomination as APS Fellow through DLS
  • Student travel grant program
  • Eligibility for visit from a DLS Distinguished Traveling Lecturer
  • International Travel Grant Program

Students can join APS (and DLS) for free in their first year of membership, and regular APS members pay just $8.00 to join the division.

Encourage your colleagues and students in optics and laser physics, or anyone who uses lasers on a regular basis, to join the APS Division of Laser Science!

Call for donations to the Schawlow Prize fund

The Arthur 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.

Highlights from the CLEO:2012 meeting

(photos and information courtesy the Optical Society)

This year, CLEO:2012 (the Conference on Lasers and Electro-optics) was held May 6-11 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California. As in years past, CLEO 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.

CLEO2012 Band
CLEO attendees received a musical welcome to the conference.

CLEO2012 Session
Well-attended technical sessions anchored the CLEO conference.

Yurii Vlasov
Yurii Vlasov of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center gave a plenary presentation on silicon integrated nanophotonics.

CLEO2012 Exhibits
On the CLEO exhibit floor, attendees could peruse more than 300 vendors’ booths and exhibits.

At CLEO, more than 1,800 technical 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 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, the CLEO: QELS - Fundamental Science category included work by French and Canadian scientists who developed a new method to study electron motion using isolated, precisely timed, and incredibly fast pulses of light. The CLEO: Science & Innovations program included a paper demonstrating a counterintuitive concept: that solar cells should be designed to be more like LEDs, able to emit light as well as absorb it. Finally, the CLEO: Applications & Technology program included a presentation on the development of a small, flexible endoscope fitted with a femtosecond laser "scalpel" that can remove diseased or damaged tissue while leaving healthy cells untouched.

The CLEO plenary sessions reflected the full range of content in research and technology with presentations from four luminaries in the field.  The University of Ottawa’s Bob Boyd spoke on nonlinear optics, and Steve DenBaars  of the University of California Santa Barbara discussed the state-of-the-art in gallium nitride LEDs. France’s Mathias Fink delivered a fascinating presentation on time-reversed waves and subwavelength focusing, while IBM’s Yurii Vlasov (pictured) gave attendees a glimpse into the future of datacenters and supercomputers as it relates to silicon nanophotonics.

CLEO:2013 will take place in San Jose, California, on June 9-14, 2013. See you there!

Upcoming meetings

Workshop on Super-Intense Laser-Atom Physics (SILAP)
Dates: September 23-26, 2012
Location: Suzhou City, Jiangsu, China
Abstract submission deadline: July 1, 2012
Abstract acceptance notification: July 15, 2012
Early registration deadline: August 1, 2012

This workshop will be organized by Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Prior meetings of this conference series have been held in Rochester (1989), Big Sky (1991), Belgium (1993), Volga River (1995), Washington DC (1999), Han-sur-Lesse (2000), Dallas (2003), Salamanca (2006) and Zion National Park (2009).

Details about the meeting site, organizers, committees and topics are available on the SILAP website.

NLO 50 – 50 Years of Nonlinear Optics, an International Symposium
Dates: October 7 – 10, 2012
Location: ICFO (Institute of Photonic Sciences), Barcelona, Spain
Abstract submission deadline: July 29, 2012
Early registration deadline: August 15, 2012

The NLO 50 Symposium, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of nonlinear optics, is sponsored by ICFO, the Institute of Photonic Sciences, in Barcelona, Spain. This symposium will feature Nobel laureates Nicolaas Bloembergen and Charles H. Townes as plenary speakers, as well as many distinguished invited speakers. In addition to the plenary and invited presentations, the symposium will consider a limited number of oral and poster contributions, subject to a review process. More details can be found at the NLO 50 website.

Frontiers in Optics 2012 and Laser Science XXVIII (FiO/LS)
Dates: October 14-18, 2012
Location: Rochester, New York, USA
Abstract submission deadline: May 15, 2012
Housing deadline: September 14, 2012
Pre-registration deadline: September 17, 2012
Post-deadline submission deadline: October 1, 2012
Program chairs: David Villeneuve (National Research Council of Canada) and Philippe Fauchet (University of Rochester)

This year, Laser Science XXVIII serves as the 28th annual meeting of the Division of Laser Science (DLS) of the APS and is co-located with the Optical Society’s Frontiers in Optics conference. Together, these meetings provide an important forum for presenting the latest work on laser applications and development. A fantastic array of topics and speakers has been arranged for the LS XXVIII program in areas ranging from Cold Atoms and Molecules to Optics and Alternative Energy Sources. A full list of session topics and confirmed invited speakers is given on the FiO/LS website.

In addition to the separate LS and FiO technical sessions, there will be a joint FiO/LS plenary session featuring Paul Corkum and David Williams as plenary speakers and Michael Fayer and Marlan Scully as award winners. Attendees can also visit the exhibit hall and 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.

The LS banquet will be held on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 16, tentatively at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester.  The after-dinner speaker will be Ian Walmsley of Oxford University. 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 Rochester!

APS March Meeting
Dates: March 18 - 22, 2013
Location: Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland

The Division of Laser Science will be organizing a session at the 2013 APS March Meeting.

CLEO: 2013
Dates: June 9-14, 2013
Location: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California, USA

Student Travel Grants for FiO/LS 2012 meeting

Deadline: September 1, 2012
(from Anne Kelley, Secretary/Treasurer of DLS)

We are now accepting applications for Student Travel Grants to assist with travel costs to Frontiers in Optics 2012/Laser Science XXVIII (October 14-18, 2012 in Rochester, NY). Through this program, DLS will provide partial funding (up to $500) for a limited number of graduate students to attend and participate in the Frontiers in Optics and/or Laser Science conference. 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. The recommending faculty mentor must also be a member of DLS.

Applicants should submit an application and a recommendation form from a faculty advisor. Applicants are required to email their acceptance letter or attach it to the application upon receiving the official notice. Priority will be given to a single awardee per research group. Checks will be issued at the meeting. See the APS web site for more details.

The deadline for receipt of complete applications is September 1, 2012.

Child Care Grants for FiO/LS 2012 meeting

Deadline: September 1, 2012
(from Anne Kelley, Secretary/Treasurer of DLS)

Grants of up to $500 are available to assist DLS members who are bringing children to Frontiers in Optics 2012/Laser Science XXVIII (October 14-18, 2012 in Rochester, NY) or who incur extra expenses in leaving them at home (e.g., extra daycare or babysitting services). Grant recipients will be notified prior to the conference. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. If the number of requests for grants exceeds the available funding, preference will be given to applicants who are in the early stages of their careers.  More details can be found on the APS web site.

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; APS-DLS does not endorse any child care providers.

Applications must be received by September 1, 2012, and successful applicants must submit a reimbursement request along with original receipts no later than November 18, 2012.

Symposium on Undergraduate Research at FiO/LS 2012

(From Harold Metcalf)

The twelfth annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research at the Frontiers in Optics / Laser Science meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, October 15, in the afternoon. This symposium is one of the highlights of the FiO/LS meeting, and all meeting participants are invited to attend the posters and talks. It has grown from ten presentations in 2001 to more than forty in recent years. Last year in San Jose, participants presented 46 talks and posters in three sessions. Programs, articles, and photos from past symposia are available on the APS web site.

Symposium events begin with a poster session followed by the oral presentation sessions. Besides students and mentors, the audience usually includes many 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. Student participants typically receive financial support to cover the costs of their lodging, conference registration, and meals.

Those interested in having their names on the mailing list should write to Dr. Harold Metcalf. Please send the names and e-mail addresses of 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)

APS International Travel Grant Award Program (ITGAP)

The International Travel Grant Award Program (ITGAP) was established by APS to promote international scientific collaborations between members of "participating" APS Divisions, including the Division of Laser Science, and physicists in developing countries.  Grant recipients receive up to $2,000 for travel and lodging expenses for international travel while visiting a collaborator for at least one month.

For further information and application instructions, please see the ITGAP web site. The most recent application deadline was July 23, 2012, and awards are made on 6-month competitive cycles.

Minutes of the May 2012 DLS Executive Committee meeting

(from Anne Kelley, Secretary/Treasurer of DLS)

DLS Executive Committee meeting draft minutes
Blossom Hill I, San Jose Marriott, San Jose, CA
May 7, 2012

Present: Carlos Stroud (chair), Toni Taylor (vice-chair), Steve Cundiff (past chair), Anne Kelley (secretary-treasurer), Anthony Johnson (councilor), Paul Berman, Randy Bartels, David Reitze, Amy Spivey (newsletter editor, by phone)

Carlos Stroud called the meeting to order at 9:07 am.

Carlos introduced the new Executive Committee members: Vice-chair Toni Taylor, at-large members Greg Engel (not present) and Randy Bartels

The committee voted to approve the minutes from the October 2011 Laser Science meeting.

Anne presented a treasurer's report. The Division's bottom line is holding fairly steady, as is our membership as a percent of APS.

Anne discussed the Student Travel Grant and Child Care Grant programs. Nine out of the twelve applications for Student Travel Grants were awarded; the three that were not funded included two from students whose advisors are not DLS members and one to a second student from the same research group. The committee reaffirmed that advisors should be DLS members and that the application form should state that, but this requirement can be waived with EC approval. It was agreed to move the deadline up such that non-DLS advisors can be given the opportunity to join before the funding decisions have to be made. No applications were received for child care grants, but Steve's impression from the New Laser Scientists Conference was that there is demand for such grants. The EC voted to approve an increase to a maximum of two grants at $500 each for the NLSC and FiO/LS combined. Anne will inform the NLSC chair (Dan Stamper-Kurn) so that he can advertise it.

Anne announced the eight new APS Fellows nominated by DLS, plus six who are DLS members but were nominated by other Divisions.

Carlos discussed the Laser Science 2012 meeting. The banquet will be at the Memorial Art Gallery, catered by Max's. Several suggestions were made for after-banquet speakers. Carlos and others have been trying to convince the OSA to run a shuttle from the convention center to the restaurant-dense areas. OSA staff have not been enthusiastic about this idea, but Carlos will continue trying.

There was a brief discussion of the Symposium on Undergraduate Research, which has been run for many years now by Hal Metcalf. This is an excellent event that costs the division little, and the 2011 Symposium had the largest number of participants yet.

Anthony Johnson gave an APS Council report. Construction is now beginning on the Ridge expansion project following dismissal of a lawsuit over the project's environmental impact. A sudden increase in membership of about 1500 members was attributed to this year's very large March meeting. The 2013 APS budget draws on reserves to balance, but few people seem very worried about this. A financial audit of APS by an external firm resulted in a clean bill of health. APS has a new strategic plan which it is now starting to implement; one of the goals is to increase the global reach of APS, and a new international Councilor has been added. The new open-access online journal Phys Rev X is doing well, with a rejection rate of 80%. There was discussion of how to build a thriving undergraduate physics program in light of the number of physics programs nationwide being shut down because of small numbers of majors.

Hailin Wang, one of our JCQE representatives, visited the meeting to give a JQCE report. Next year's IQEC meeting has been moved from June to May 12-16 2013 in Munich; the accompanying trade show is Lasers Munich. Wang is one of the program co-chairs for this meeting. Chairs for 2014 have been proposed and will be voted on at a meeting later this week.

Anne summarized the current financial state of the Schawlow Prize. Because the prize endowment had dropped to a level where it could not be self-sustaining at the current rate of return on investment, the DLS had agreed to pay awardee travel expenses until the prize fund can be built up to the necessary level to completely support the award. There have been additional donations to the prize fund of $7625 since last November. This is a good start, but we believe somewhat more is needed. Membership renewal time, which is now, may be a good time to send a message to members requesting further donations.

Toni Taylor reported on the APS convocation. Toni highly recommends EC members to attend; APS pays all expenses for two members from each Division, and much information is provided that is useful to new Division officers. The meeting contained some breakout sessions discussing implementation of the new APS strategic plan. It was suggested that DLS consider putting a student member on its Executive Committee, as apparently some other Divisions do. There were several questions about how the student is selected, voting rights, etc. Toni will ask other Divisions how they do it and this should be discussed at our next meeting.

Paul Berman reported on the International Travel Grants program. Three grants of $2000 each are made in each of two review cycles per year. So far there have been no DLS-sponsored applicants; the program was advertised in the Newsletter for the first time so it is hoped that we will have applicants in the future. The amount of the grant isn't enough to fully support a visit since the minimum duration is one month. DLS committed to support the program for two years, but we should evaluate continuing that participation after the next proposal cycle.

Steve Cundiff reported on DLS participation at the March meeting. DLS is officially a sponsor of the March meeting but had not recently been sponsoring sessions. We resumed doing so this year with one all-invited session organized by Steve and Nick Vamivakas. The session was well attended and well received, and Margaret Murnane's “lunch with experts” was also successful and appeared to be a good idea. The chair-elect (Henry Kapteyn this year) is the program chair, and he will be contacted by the appropriate person at APS about organizing next year's sessions. The number of sessions depends upon number of DLS members who attend, but will always be at least one. Dave Schultz, chair-elect of DAMOP, suggested coordination of sessions with us, either at the March meeting or at DAMOP. This might help recruit DAMOP members into DLS. Steve will contact Dave Schultz to explore further.

Carlos initiated a discussion of DLS and of the future of “Laser Science”; whether we need a committee to discuss the future of DLS, and whether we should survey our membership to determine what meetings they attend and what DLS programs they know about. There were questions as to how useful this would be and how to get a good response to a survey. The CLEO “goodie bag” contains nothing about DLS, and we need to develop at least a flyer and preferably some DLS-labeled goodies to give away (pens, laser pointer, lanyard, flash drive with conference program…) Anne will take responsibility for getting something into the packet for this year's Laser Science meeting. The EC voted to approve spending up to $2000 for giveaways for LS 2012 and beyond. In a later discussion with Chad Stark (below), August was estimated as the deadline for materials to be included for the October LS meeting.

There was a brief discussion of the Distinguished Traveling Lecturer program. There was general agreement that the program needs shaking up--new committee members and new lecturers. Carlos will discuss with Rainer Grobe.

Chad Stark, OSA meetings manager, joined the committee for a discussion of the CLEO and LS meetings. The 2011 Laser Science sessions in San Jose had 56 contributed and 94 invited talks, and an average session count of 34, very similar to FiO. 79 banquet tickets were sold. LS 2012 in Rochester has 83 invited speakers. Chad agreed to reduce the undergraduate student registration rate for participants in the 2012 Symposium on Undergraduate Research from $200 to $140, and to include a free OSA membership. Mike Fayer has been chosen to receive the Schawlow prize and has agreed to give the prize lecture at LS 2012. Steve will put Chad in touch with him. CLEO 2012 has slightly more contributed papers than in 2010 in the same location, a promising sign, and the fraction of papers submitted to QELS is higher in both 2011 and 2012 than in previous years. It is now planned to hold CLEO in San Jose for all of 2013-2016. Dates are 9-14 June, 2013; 8-13 June, 2014; 7-12 June, 2015 (although currently holding 10-15 May); 12-17 June, 2016. Chad clarified that any cancellation penalties will be initially absorbed by OSA and then redistributed to the societies proportional to their sponsorship percentage.

Carlos adjourned the meeting at 1:02 pm.

The articles in this newsletter represent the views of their author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Unit or APS.