Optics is the study of light – how electromagnetic radiation in a certain range of frequencies propagates and interacts with matter, and how it can be used for applications such as telecommunications, imaging and materials characterization. Research in optics spans a wide range, from highly theoretical topics such as quantum optics and optical vortices to very applied areas such as fiber optics and laser technology.
At Georgetown, optics research in the physics department reflects this wide range, with active research in the creation of new algorithms for theoretical calculation of beam propagation in waveguides, development of novel imaging methods to study soft matter and biological systems and the use of high powered lasers to create novel nanomaterials. Imaging is a particular strength, with high speed confocal, fluorescence and Raman microscopes used for materials characterization. Faculty collaborate on optics projects with colleagues at a number of major universities (University of Maryland, Tohoku University) national labs (NIST, NRL) and companies (Luna Innovations, Areté Associates).
Daniel Blair — soft glasses, colloidal and polymer physics, crumpling, biopolymer rheology, confocal microscopy of soft materials, granular dynamics and statics
Ryan McAllister — cellular biophysics, cancer cell motility and invasion, live-cell imaging, fluid dynamics, nonlinear dynamics
Jeff Urbach — cellular biophysics, physics of soft matter, biomaterials, biomedical optics, granular dynamics, fluid dynamics, nonlinear dynamics
Edward Van Keuren — optics, nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, application of nanoparticles for organic photovoltaic devices and biomedical imaging and therapy