Optics, Electronics, and Computing
I am a recent Ph.D. graduate now working at Paciic University in Forest Grove Oregon. I am generally interested in pattern-forming nonlinear optics, slow-light in optical fiber and the application of such systems to quantum and classical information science.
I can be reached most readily via e-mail
I successfully defended my dissertation Using transverse optical patterns for ultra-low-light all-optical switching [8 MB PDF] on April 11, 2008.
I came to Duke following four wonderful years at Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) where I graduated in 2002 with a B.A. in Physics. The research I conducted there created several opportunities for graduate study and I ultimately decided on Duke after meeting many of my potential classmates, peers and of course the department faculty.
My pre-college life was spent in Moscow Idaho, home of the University of Idaho and a fine town in it's own right.
My current projects are generally related to the exploration of the interaction between light and matter. Typically "light" in our lab implies a laser although not in every case. The two projects that I am most active in are slow-light in optical fiber and all-optical switching.
Slow-light can mean different things in different contexts, physically it is a phenomena whereby the speed at which a pulse of light travels through a material is significantly slower than the speed of light in vacuum (c). Typical materials such as glass, transmit light at speeds that are slower than c but not by a lot (between 1.4 and 1.6 times slower depending on the glass). My group's research focuses on preparing systems where the speed of light is several hundred times slower than c. Slow-light has many potential applications in telecommunication systems and may allow for efficient all-optical data processing.
All-optical switching also has implications for the telecommunications industry although we have a lot of work to do before we could implement devices based on our current research. The initial discovery that led to our first major result in all-optical switching was the observation that optical patterns formed by the interaction between laser light and rubidium atoms can be controlled by a very weak beam. The weak beam slightly changes the light-matter interaction which leads to a drastic change in the generated patterns. Using this system we hope to demonstrate a switch that is sensitive to a single photon.
I am interested in developing simple demonstrations of quantum mechanics, nonlinear optics, and other interesting and previously inaccesible physical phenomena. The range of learning experiences found in undergraduate laboratories can be easily extended as optical and experimental equipment costs are reduced through the development of new technologies. Furthermore, a combination of creativity and inspiration can result in very insightful teaching labs without the budgets that have historically set large research institutions above smaller college settings in terms of providing advanced laboratory education. To this end, I seek to apply my skills in optics and teaching to the development of laboratory experiences that bring cutting edge research to the undergraduate classroom.
I have offered my expertise in several arenas as an independent consultant. Most recently, I helped design several interactive demonstrations that are currently on display at the Palouse Discovery Science Center in Pullman Washington. I am also a journal editor with American Journal Experts, a firm that provides English proofreading for authors, publishers, and researchers in a wide range of fields from around the world.