Optics and Photonics

Optics and photonics is primarily about the science of light, its generation and manipulation, and its interaction with gases, plasmas, molecules, and solids, including micro- and nanostructures. It is a highly interdisciplinary field, bringing together researchers from physics, electrical engineering, chemical and biochemical engineering, and chemistry. Many of the researchers in the area are co-located in the Iowa Advanced Technology Building and are part of Iowa CREATES.

 IATLIATL reflection


Faculty in this research area make use of lasers to study different materials, including semiconductors and plasmas, and to manipulate charge carriers and spin. Some faculty use ultrafast lasers, featuring pulses as short as ten quadrillionths of a second, to study carrier dynamics and induce optical nonlinear material responses. These pulsed lasers use chirped pulse amplification, recognized in the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. Faculty study light generation and absorption in different structured media, including organic and inorganic semiconductors, and how to enhance it with patterned surfaces such as plasmonics, and metamaterials. Research includes such topics as quantum information, optoelectronics, optical chemical sensing, solar energy and photovoltaics..

David R. Andersen

Nonlinear optics; quantum electronics; solid state; embedded systems.

  • Parametric solitons, nonlinear optical crossbar switch, passive and adaptive nonlinear optical equalizer, 4-pi confocal nonlinear optical microscopy
  • Applications include long-haul telecommunications systems, embedded wireless communications
  • Professor with appointments in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and in Physics and Astronomy
  • Facilities include 1100 sq. ft. lab, with a 100 femtosec Ti:Sapphire laser system and other sources for nonlinear optics
  • Students also interact with theoretical wireless group from Electrical Engineering, medical group from Optical Science and Technology Center
  • Research and Publications
Thomas F. Boggess

Nonlinear optics; ultrafast spectroscopy of semiconductor heterostructures.

  • Ultrafast nonlinear optical techniques used to study semiconductor nanostructures
  • Topics of interest include carrier energy and spin relaxation, recombination, and transport
  • Facilities include ultrafast lasers, cryogenic capabilities, photon-counting equipment, and magneto-optical instrumentation located in 2000 sq ft of laboratory space

Condensed-matter theory; materials theory; quantum coherent systems and quantum information

John A. Goree

Experimental plasma physics; statistical physics; soft condensed matter physics.

  • Dusty plasma, strongly-coupled plasma, optical diagnostics of plasmas, waves
  • Physics problems are interdisciplinary, combining condensed matter, statistical physics, and plasma physics; experiments involve direct comparisons to theory
  • Experiments are performed in our labs. Data from experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) are also analyzed
  • Two labs with plasma chambers and optical diagnostics
  • Students also interact with group members including a research scientist; other faculty and research scientists; collaborators in other countries
  • Students develop skills including design, construction, and operation of: vacuum, electronic, optical, and laser systems; programming in various languages; image analysis
  • http://dusty.physics.uiowa.edu/~goree/
John P. Prineas

Experimental semiconductor physics

  • Short-, mid-, and long-wave infrared semiconductor optoelectronics and photonics
  • Carrier dynamics and transport in semiconductor superlattices, nanowires, heterostructures
  • Photonic engineering at the nano- to micro-scale: plasmonics, metamaterials, cavities  
  • Electronic engineering in semiconductor heterostructures
  • Optical chemical sensing, thermal scene projection, artificial intelligence  
  • Facilities include ultrafast optics labs, use of the Molecular Beam Epitaxy Facility for III-V semiconductor growth, and the MATfab for materials micro- and nano-fabrication and imaging.
  • Students work in an interdisciplinary environment in Iowa CREATES, are supported by research assistantships, publish and present at national\international conferences
  • https://jprineas.lab.uiowa.edu/
Frederick N. Skiff

Laser spectroscopy; plasma physics.

  • Experimental topics include experiments for plasma waves and instabilities, plasma self-organization and sheaths, and laser-induced fluorescence and wave-absorption diagnostics of plasmas
  • Student projects are typically experimental with a significant interaction with theory
  • Theoretical topics include plasma kinetic theory including waves and nonlinear fluctuations
  • There are two labs at Iowa, including: a 3-meter linear magnetized-plasma device and a large multi-dipole discharge.  Both are equipped with single-frequency scanning lasers for high-resolution laser spectroscopy.  Some students also participate in collaborations on the Large Plasma Device located at UCLA
  • Beyond interactions with group members, students participate in the plasma seminar and interact with Departmental theoretical and experimental plasma, space physics, and astronomy faculty
  • Students develop skills including data analysis, high-resolution laser spectroscopy, designing and building apparatus, electronics, computation
  • Previous assistants have found employment in academia, national laboratories, and in industry
  • Research page
fatima toor

Experimental semiconductor optoelectronics

  • Ultraviolet (UV) to terahertz (THz) semiconductor optoelectronics and photonics research
  • Engineering of the properties of electrons, photons, and phonons in micro- and nano-structured materials
  • Computer-based analytical modeling
  • Target applications include photovoltaics, biosensors, midinfrared light emitters as well as fundamental science discovery
  • Facilities include an optical lab
  • Use of shared facilities on-campus: MATFab, and Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) lab and Central Microscopy Research Facility (CMRF)
  • Team alumni have obtained positions in industry, academia, and national research labs
  • https://ftoor.lab.uiowa.edu/research
Markus Wohlgenannt

Experimental polymer physics.

  • Magnetotransport and spin-dependent effects in organic semiconductors
  • Organic light-emitting diodes and solar cells
  • Thin film solar cells based on hybrid perovskites
  • Light absorption, reflection and emission, continuous wave photo-induced (nonlinear) absorption
  • Facilities include a spectroscopy facility using a cw laser; glove-box and clean-room for fabrication or organic light-emitting diodes and solar cells, magnetoresistance measurement setup.
  • https://wohlgenannt.lab.uiowa.edu/