A world-class graduate program at The University of New Mexico celebrates its 40th anniversary with two days of scheduled events and invited speakers on March 7 and 8. The Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) Program was launched in 1983 and has since graduated more than 270 Ph.D.s. The program has strong collaborative ties with institutions in the state, including Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Air Force Research Lab.

A. Albrecht2
Photo courtesy of Dr. Alexander Albrecht.

The invited speakers include John Hall, Nobel Laureate of Physics (Special Video Address for the OSE Program); John McIver, former UNM Physics and Astronomy chair and former UNM Vice President of Research; Scott Diddams, professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and graduate of the OSE program. The program delayed its anniversary celebration last year due to the memorials for Distinguished Professor and longstanding chair of the OSE Program, Mansoor Sheik-Bahae.

“We are very excited to celebrate 40 years of the OSE Program at UNM. More now than ever, the fields of optics and photonics are essential to modern technologies such as communications, imaging, computing, lighting, and medicine,” said Daniel Feezell, OSE’s general chair. “Optics and photonics also enable numerous advancements in basic scientific research, promising an exciting future of new discoveries!”

View a complete schedule of events and RSVP at optics.unm.edu

Thursday, March 7 (Events will take place at the Center for High Technology Materials)
-Celebration of the OSE Program’s 40th anniversary with University Administration (catered breakfast)
-Catered luncheon and talks (please RSVP at optics.unm.edu)

  • Introduction by Jean-Claude Diels, OSE co-chair and professor, UNM Physics and Astronomy Department
  • John McIver, former UNM Physics Department chair who played a key role in the expansion of the OSE Program
  • John Hall, Nobel Laureate and professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder (Special Video Address for the OSE Program)

-OSE Seminar with Scott Diddams, OSE alum and professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Friday, March 8 (Events will take place at the PAIS building on UNM's main campus)
- OSE Student Poster Competition
- OSE Student Poster Winners reception and plaque presentation (Refreshments Served)
- Physics Colloquium with OSE alum, Professor Scott Diddams, University of Colorado, Boulder

The OSE Program at UNM is jointly administered by both the Physics and Astronomy and the Electrical and Computer Engineering departments. The program has grown considerably over the past decade to become one of the most successful interdisciplinary programs at the University and one of the country’s prominent optical sciences programs, with alumni in industry, academia, and national and federal laboratories. The program is affiliated with departments in multiple schools and colleges, including Physics and Astronomy, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Applied Mathematics, which allows students to be exposed to multiple disciplines. The Optics Program is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. 

The OSE Program has also developed an incredibly unique and symbiotic relationship with the national laboratories in the state including Sandia National Labs (SNL), Los Alamos National Labs (LANL), and the Air Force Research Laboratory. OSE has extraordinarily strong collaborative ties with the labs, which in recent years have focused on the program for recruitment efforts, particularly in the areas of directed energy and photonics. OSE faculty and students have also established multiple programs with the Center for Integrated Nanotechnology – an SNL/LANL joint user facility for photonics and semiconductor device fabrication.

The ultimate metric to measure the success of any graduate program lies in the success of its students. Since 1985, OSE has awarded more than 270 Ph.D. and master’s degrees. There are currently more than 50 enrolled students, and the program graduates an average of seven doctoral students and 14 master’s degree students each year. The program also has strong admission standards and recruits some of the best optics talent in the world. 

OSE Program filament pic from Dr. Diels Lab
A filament image from Dr. Diel's Lab in the OSE Program.

The credit for the successful operation of this program belongs to the numerous faculty from the departments mentioned above who are affiliated with the program and the program’s longstanding staff advisor and administrator. OSE has been on the cutting edge of research through the aggressive recruitment of faculty by its affiliated departments. The current list of OSE research expertise spans semiconductor lasers, laser cooling in solids, optoelectronics, quantum optics, biomedical optics, crystallography, ultrafast lasers and phenomena, radiation effects, and nanophononics, to name a few. The OSE program’s faculty members have more than 24 national fellow affiliates (OSA, SPIE, APS, IEEE, and AAS) and several distinguished faculty members. 

“The success of the OSE Program is attributed to the dedicated faculty, students, and collaborators that share a common goal of advancing optics and photonics education and research in New Mexico,” Feezell said.

OSE is now permanently located in the award-winning Physics Astronomy and Interdisciplinary Science building (PAIS). The nearly 140,000-square-foot facility is designed to include a high-performance section that meets remarkably high standards for vibration and electromagnetic interference ideal for optical science research. In addition to the PAIS building, OSE also has a strong footprint at the Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM), a 60,000-square-foot facility containing complete cleanroom and laboratory facilities for advanced research in photonics, optoelectronics, quantum optics, nanoelectronics, and more.

The UNM Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) program envisions offering a premier graduate education and research platform in optics and photonics. To realize this vision, OSE is dedicated to engaging faculty from the departments of Physics and Astronomy (P&A) and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) in active optics education and research. By attracting the best-prepared students globally, OSE aims to cultivate a highly skilled workforce for local and national optics industries, laboratories, and academia, while fostering leadership and entrepreneurship in optics and photonics. Through its interdisciplinary approach and relentless pursuit of excellence, OSE strives to achieve unparalleled visibility and distinction among global optics and photonics programs over the next four decades.

Photo at the top courtesy of Dr. Alexander Albrecht.

Please RSVP for the events at optics.unm.edu.