The University Record, May 21, 1996

Center for Ultrafast Optical Science opens on North Campus

Associate Research Scientist John F. Whitaker is one of five U-M researchers directing research programs in the newly renovated lab at the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science.

Photo by Bob Kalmbach

By Sally Pobojewski
News and Information Services

University scientists, students and guests celebrated the formal opening of 10,000 square feet of newly renovated lab oratories and office space on May 3 at the College of Engineering's Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS). 250 attendees toured several optics and laser labs located in the west wing basement of the IST Building and heard U-M researchers Henry Kapteyn, Margaret Murnane, John Nees, Theodore Norris and John Whitaker explain the goals of their research in the new facility. A symposium and panel discussion followed the open house.

Funding for the $800,000 laboratory renovation project was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the College of Engineering, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

"The Center for Ultrafast Optical Science is considered a jewel by the National Science Foundation and the national re search community," said Homer A. Neal, vice-president for research, during the dedication ceremony. "Research under way at CUOS is a wonderfully interdisciplinary merger of abstract and concrete across a wide range of disciplines."

Gerard A. Mourou, CUOS director and the A.D. Moore Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, emphasized that the center has an enviable track record in technology transfer and educational outreach activity to K-12 students as well.

Since it was established by the National Science Foundation in 1991, scientists at CUOS have been producing and studying unbelievably short optical pulses---the shortest of these in the femtosecond range, lasting for just a few quadrillionths of a second. "Ultrashort optical pulse research has had and will continue to have an enormous impact on future advan ces in medicine, high-speed electronics and communications," Mourou said.