When teaching subjects in science and engineering, I intend for my students to understand the material in two equally-important ways. First, they should gain a qualitative understanding of the material, one that emphasizes physical intuition and allows them to understand how a given lecture fits into the broader scope of the course. Secondly, they should gain a quantitative technical understanding of the mathematics, emphasizing rigor. Fixating on the qualitative limits students’ ability to apply their knowledge in their career, while fixating on the quantitative limits their ability to know when to apply their knowledge. By designing lectures that effectively combine the two aspects, learning is optimized.
Ultrafast and Nonlinear Optics
University of Notre Dame
This is a course designed to give graduate students a broad introduction to ultrafast and nonlinear optical phenomena. Photonic devices that utilize these interactions are ideal for a wide range of applications, not only because they are able to sense the world around us but also because they are able to probe matter at the most fundamental level. The course is divided into four parts. The first part introduces the basic formalism needed to describe ultrafast systems and nonlinear phenomena such as four-wave mixing and saturable absorption. The second part introduces methods for generating ultrafast states of light, including mode-locking, Q-switching, and novel frequency comb formation. The third part covers techniques for detecting and characterizing these sources, such as autocorrelation, FROG, and SPIDER. The final part covers some important applications of this technology, including dual comb spectroscopy, lidar, terahertz generation, and attosecond science.