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OSA Student Chapter Meeting

SPEAKER: Matt Springer
TITLE: What exactly is a laser?
In the popular press, a laser is frequently described as a source of a narrow beam of monochromatic light. However, many systems such as femtosecond lasers and random lasers can fail to have these properties. More sophisticated definitions of lasing still run into problems in classifying phenomena such as amplified spontaneous emission, superflorescence, cavity-free systems, and Raman lasers. Today this leads to frequent disagreements in the literature and peer-review process over whether a given phenomena is actually a laser. We'll explore some of these ambiguities, use these insights to reach a deeper understanding of laser physics, and examine the prospects for creating an unambiguous definition.

SPEAKER: Andrew Traverso
TITLE: Artificial Photosynthesis: Mimicking Nature to meet our energy needs
The rise in fossil fuel costs and possible detrimental effects to the environment has generated an increased level of interest in harnessing solar energy. Research is now being done at all levels to improve current solar technology as well as exploring other viable techniques to further increase the energy efficiency. One such avenue of research is to model a process based on photosynthesis as it takes advantage of a broad spectrum of sunlight to produce energy. In this talk I will be discussing some of the advances and challenges ahead in harnessing photosynthesis for our energy needs.

Thursday, February 21, 2013
IQSE 578, 12:30 noon
Mitchell Physics Building

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

(Pizza lunch as usual. Newcomers welcome!)

Host: Andrew Traverso