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Lasers & Sources

Anthony Johnson: Center explores the mid-IR for new sensing capabilities

Mid-infrared sensors have the ability to detect minute amounts of chemicals in the environment or atmosphere, exhaled by humans, or emitted from spills, combustion, or natural sources.
2 November 2012, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/.2.3201210.07

Anthony Johnson is Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR) and professor of Physics and Computer Science & Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He is also a director of MIRTHE (Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment).

MIRTHE is a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center headquartered at Princeton University, with partners City College New York, Johns Hopkins University, Rice, Texas A&M, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The center encompasses a world-class team of engineers, chemists, physicists, environmental and bio-engineers, and clinicians. MIRTHE's goal is to develop Mid-Infrared (£ - 3-30 µm) optical trace gas sensing systems based on new technologies such as quantum cascade lasers or quartz enhanced photo-acoustic spectroscopy, with the ability to detect minute amounts of chemicals found in the environment or atmosphere, emitted from spills, combustion, or natural sources, or exhaled.

Johnson graduated with a BS in Physics from the Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1975 and earned a PhD in Physics in 1981 from the City College of the City University of New York (CCNY). His PhD thesis research was conducted at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ, with support from the Bell Labs Cooperative Research Fellowship Program for Minorities. He was a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff in the Photonic Circuits Research Department at Bell Labs for 14 years prior to joining the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1995, where he was Chairperson and Distinguished Professor of Physics until 2003.

His current research interests include the ultrafast photophysics and nonlinear optical properties of bulk, nanostructured, and quantum well semiconductor structures, ultrashort pulse propagation in fibers and high-speed lightwave systems. Johnson received the 1988 AT&T Bell Labs Distinguished Staff Award; the 1994 Black Engineer of the Year Special Recognition Award; the 1996 Edward A. Bouchet Award of the APS; the 2005 Science Spectrum Magazine Trailblazer Top Minority in Science Award; and an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from CCNY in 2011.

Elaine Lalanne received a BA in Physics from Wellesley College in 1994 and a PhD from the joint department of Applied Physics from New Jersey Institute of Technology/ Rutgers University-Newark in May 2003. She is currently a Research Scientist at CASPR, where her work involves studying the nonlinear optical properties of bulk, nanoclustered, and quantum-well semiconductor structures. She co-developed an integrated laboratory mid-IR ultrafast diagnostic instrument. Her current research focuses on four-wave mixing in chalcogenide waveguide in the mid-IR and investigating gain dynamics in quantum cascade lasers and structures.

The work described in the video was partially supported by NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant ECS-0619548 and NSF MIRTHE Engineering Research Center Grant ERC-0540832.