USC Nonlinear Optics

USC's laser group has attained national and international prominence during the past decade. The program, which was developed as a joint venture of the Physics and Electrical Engineering Departments, includes research involving applications of lasers as well as basic laser studies and development of new laser systems.

Included in the laser group are Professors Jack Feinberg, Martin Gundersen, and Robert Hellwarth.

Professor Jack Feinberg's research interest in laser physics includes nonlinear optics, optical phase conjugation, image processing, and spectroscopy. He has developed phase-conjugating mirrors that use optical mixing of light from low-power lasers in photorefractive materials. These phase-conjugating mirrors are then used to form a laser resonator cavity. The resulting lasers are self-aligning and correct for their own phase aberrations. He is using nonlinear optics to demonstrate a variety of new optical devices. He is also studying the origin of the photorefractive effect and is performing detailed experiments on the charge transport and identification of charge carriers in a variety of photorefractive materials. He is also collaborating with others in the fields of solid state physics and materials science.

Professor Martin Gundersen's research interests are in quantum electronics and include experimental and theoretical research topics in the physics of semiconductors, and physics and applications of plasma devices for pulse-power. Prof. Gundersen is currently studying applications of plasma devices to plasma loaded accelerators, electron beam devices and plasma lenses for focusing of high energy particles. His research is developing hollow cathodes and super-emissive cathodes for high power switches and electron sources.

Professor Robert W. Hellwarth, inventor of the giant pulse (Q-switched) laser, co-discoverer of stimulated Raman scattering, and discoverer of the Raman-induced Kerr effect and laser-phase conjugation by degenerate four-wave mixing, is known internationally for his early and continuing contributions to laser physics. His present projects include phase-conjugation applications, holography in photorefractive crystals, Raman spectroscopy in various materials in different phases, and microscopy utilizing nonlinear optical effects and phase conjugation. He also collaborates with others in the laser group in exploring the interaction of high power laser beams with matter.

Other Departmental Research