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Department of Physics

Dr. Randy Knize
US Air Force Academy
 Randy Knize
Alkali Lasers
102 Cardwell Hall
October 27, 2014
4:30 p.m.


Alkali lasers are both one of the oldest and one of the newest lasers. They were the first optical maser proposed in the 1958 Townes and Shalow paper, which introduced the concept of the laser. While some work was continued in the next few decades, it was not until 2003 that the modern version was demonstrated. I will talk about this history and describe the recent developments achieved in the last decade. The physics of alkali lasers will be presented along with commercial and military applications. Finally the future of alkali lasers will be discussed.


Randy received his B.A. degree from the University of Chicago and his PhD degree from Harvard University. He then worked 8 years at Princeton University in the fields of plasma and atomic physics. In 1988, he became an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Southern California. He moved to the US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, in 1996, where he is currently a Professor of Physics and Director of the Laser and Optics Research Center. During this time, he has spent sabbaticals at Moscow State University, the University of Southampton, Nanyang Technological University and the University of Munich.