The Applied Optics group occupies a suite of laboratories in the Baskin Engineering building:
  • Ultrafast optics lab dedicated to time-resolved studies of solid-state and optofluidic devices as well as optical particle trapping

  • Single particle spectroscopy lab dedicatedd to advanced single molecule spectroscopy and rubidium spectroscopy on a chip

  • Characterization lab dedicated to scanning probe microscopy and thin film characterization

  • W.M. Keck nanofabrication lab dedicated to fabrication, imaging and characterization of nanoscale optofluidic devices

  • Microfabrication cleanroom dedicated to microscale patterning of devices (School of Engineering and QB3 shared core facility)
Home > Research
Research Overview
Integrated optofluidics

We are developing optoflluidic devices based on micron-scale liquid-core optical waveguides where both light and fluids are guided on a chip. We are working on novel methods for on-chip detection and manipulation of single particles for a new class of portable biomedical analytic instruments. If you want to learn more, click on the links on the left.


Nanopores in optofluidic devices

Nanoscopic openings in membranes (nanopores) can be used as electrical single molecule detectors. We are incorporating nanopores with optofluidic devices to combine both electrical and optical detection on a single chip. If you want to learn more, click on the links on the left.

Single-photon nonlinear optics

We have demonstrated the first atomic vapor cells on a chip that use integrated optical waveguides to guide light through small volumes of rubidium vapor. We are exploring the use of these cells to study quantum interference effects on a chip, including induced transparency, slow light and single photon nonlinearities for future single-photon sources and detectors. If you want to learn more, click on the links on the left.


We are developing advanced optical methods to study the magnetization dynamics of nanomagnetic structures with single magnetic domains on the sub-picosecond time scales. Nanomagnets have applications in high-density magnetic storage and biomedicine. We have recently demonstrated the first measurements of picosecond dynamics of individual single-domain nanomagnets. If you want to learn more, click on the links on the left.

Undergraduate research

The involvement of undergraduate students is a central component in our research projects. If you want to see some of the research projects that have been carried out by undergraduate students in the Applied Optics group, click on the links on the left.

Achieving single particle resolution requires to work on the nanoscale in many cases, and our projects emphasize nano-optics and nano-fabrication.

We use numerous both conventional and custom-modified experimental techniques in our lab.

These include:

• Single molecule spectroscopy: Fluorescence correlation (FCS), fluorescence lifetime (FLM),
• resonance energy transfer (FRET) etc.
• Near-field optical microscopy (NSOM)
• Femto- and picosecond time-resolved laser spectroscopy
• Magneto-optic Kerr spectroscopy
• Optical waveguide measurements
• Nonlinear optics with sub-micron resolution
• Scanning probe microscopy (AFM, MFM, STM)
• Linear and non-linear atomic spectroscopy
• Fourier spectroscopy
• Confocal microscopy
• Nanofabrication (focused ion beam etching, electron beam lithography)

The following links lead to more detailed descriptions of the research topics. If you are planning on pursuing a Ph.D. degree or a postdoctoral position at the interface between Physics and Electrical Engineering, please send your resume to Professor Holger Schmidt (


We gratefully acknowledge funding for our research projects by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering), Office of Naval Research, The W.M. Keck Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, DARPA/AFOSR, The Rogers Family Foundation, the NASA University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), and Ted Goldstein, Computer and Information Science, class of 1983.

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