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Stanford and UC Berkeley Chapters Host Joint Photonics Day

By Meredith Lee, Stanford Student Chapter Member

This April, over 75 students, faculty, and staff from Stanford and Berkeley participated in the first annual “Photonics @ Stanford” Day. The afternoon event featured an in-depth tour of SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), a special seminar from the PULSE (Photon Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering) Director Philip Bucksbaum, and a joint poster session and mixer on campus.

The tour group listens to recent Ph.D. graduate Chris Barnes from SLAC as he explains the collider experiments completed at the detector hall.
The groups' first stop was at SLAC for a tour of the 6-story Detector Hall ("the largest pit in the Bay Area"), the Klystron Gallery above the Linear Accelerator, and the site of the upcoming Linac Coherent Light Source (world's first x-ray free electron laser, scheduled for operation in 2009). After the tour, Professor Bucksbaum discussed ultrafast x-ray science and a number of planned experiments for the future Linac Coherent Light Source. Dr. Thomas Baer, Executive Director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center (SPRC), joined the large group of SPIE & OSA officers, photonics students, and physics undergraduates in the exciting visit, where the group donned SLAC construction helmets and had a chance to view what is deemed the "world’s straightest object."

Following the SLAC tour and seminar, students had the opportunity to interact more closely at a lively joint poster session featuring over 30 research projects, ranging from optical MEMS and nanofabrication to holographic data storage systems, plasmonics, and devices for functional brain imaging. Attendees voted for awards including "Best Simulation Results" and "Most Clear Verbal Explanation" – selecting five prize winners among their peers to receive headphones and MP3 players or SPRC green laser pointers. Stanford Electrical Engineering Professor Jim Harris notes, "I enjoyed viewing the posters and talking with students about their projects. Overall, I was very impressed by the diversity of research, students' enthusiasm, and especially with the quality of the posters."

Stanford and Berkeley SPIE/OSA student members share their research during a joint photonics poster session on Stanford campus following the SLAC visit.
The student organizers previously hosted a "Photonics at Berkeley" Day in Fall 2006, with optics lab tours, a visit to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a seminar from Professor Roger Falcone, Director of the Advanced Light Source. "The poster session was a great addition to the Stanford/Berkeley optics visits started last fall and the whole event set a great example for joint ventures to follow," says Berkeley graduate student and 2006-2007 SPIE Berkeley Chapter President Dan Ceperley. For additional photos and more information about the event, please see http://student-osa.stanford.edu

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