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CREOL Spring Colloquium Series: Michelle Sander - Ultrafast thulium fiber laser dynamics and label-free vibrational photothermal microscopy

Friday, March 19, 2021 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Abstract: The longer wavelengths associated with infrared light are particularly attractive to identify and characterize molecules based on their chemical composition. In this talk, some novel fiber laser development trends will be combined with applications of mid-infrared spectroscopy and imaging. In the first part of the talk, thulium fiber lasers will be discussed operating in the eye-safe wavelength region from 1.7 µm to 2.2 µm. A variety of femtosecond fiber laser designs with interesting polarization states will be presented that form dual output sources and GHz repetition rate lasers. With techniques to study the real-time pulse-by-pulse evolution, the nonlinear dynamics during multi-pulse initiation are revealed that can guide the laser designs process. The presented sources can fuel applications in gas/environmental sensing, biomedical diagnosis and surgery and nonlinear conversion.

We will further present mid-infrared photothermal microscopy for contactless chemical imaging without the need for external tags and stains. This technique can address existing material analysis challenges of identifying low concentration specimens in nanoscience, chemical processes, and pathology. We will demonstrate that our imaging system can offer sub-diffraction-limited resolution for label-free and non-destructive analysis of vibrational signatures and subcellular features in tissues.

Biography: Dr. Michelle Sander is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University and an affiliated faculty with the Biomedical Engineering Department and the Materials Science and Engineering Division. She is a member of the BU Photonics Center, the BU-BUMC Cancer Center, the Center for Neurophotonics and the BU Nanotechnology Center. She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Optics and Quantum Electronics Group. Previously, she graduated with a German Diploma degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests include the design of innovative novel ultrafast fiber lasers and the characterization of femtosecond dynamics. She is further studying photothermal material interactions for label-free mid-infrared vibrational spectroscopy and infrared nerve modulation. Dr. Sander received an AFOSR Young Investigator Award and a NSF CAREER Award. She is the recipient of two BU Dean’s Catalyst Awards and was selected as OSA Ambassador.

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