Abstract: In recent years, we have observed the evolution of structured light from esoteric applications for displays and entertainment to more recent applications ranging from communications, Directed Energy, and environmental sensing. A large reason for these transformational steps has been the introduction of optical elements and systems that can manipulate light by transforming optical beams into complex spatial structures possessing novel optical features including Orbital Angular Momentum. This talk will provide examples of this evolution with developments in optical beam shaping and manipulation to exploit the properties of OAM at time scales representative of Maritime environments for sensing and beam control, where the physics and dynamics are quite challenging for many optical applications. Specific research achievements will be presented from an ongoing Multi University Research Initiative: High Photon Density Spatiotemporal (OAM+SAM) Vector Beams for Maritime Environments. This will include results for communication through highly turbid oceanic waters using OAM based encoding methods, sensing of strong atmospheric turbulence, and dynamic control of optical channels in both atmospheric and underwater environments.
About the Speaker: Dr. Eric G. Johnson '89MS is the Palmetto-Net Endowed Chair in Optoelectronics and Professor of ECE at Clemson University. He also serves as the head of the South Carolina Smart-State Center of Economic Excellence in Optoelectronics at Clemson University. Dr. Johnson has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, master's in Electrical Sciences from the University of Central Florida, and bachelor's in Physics from Purdue University. Prior to joining Clemson, Dr. Johnson held a joint appointment as a Professor of Physics and Optical Science as well as Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2006-2011), where he also served as the Director of the Center for Optoelectronics and Optical Communications. Dr. Johnson has also served two rotations (2008-2010,2018-2019) as a Program Director in photonics within the Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) Division of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Johnson was an Associate Professor at CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, at the University of Central Florida (2000-2007). Prior to that, Dr. Johnson was the Vice President of Research and Development at Digital Optics Corporation. Dr. Johnson is a Fellow of Optica/OSA, SPIE, and a senior member of IEEE. Dr. Johnson currently serves as a commission member for the ABET Engineering Accreditation Committee (EAC) and has served on the Board of Directors for SPIE. Dr. Johnson was also an Editor for IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices in optoelectronics, and Optica/OSA’s Applied Optics, and numerous other editorial and committee chair positions for IEEE, Optica/OSA, and SPIE. Dr. Johnson’s research spans the area of optics and photonics, with applications ranging from free space optical communications, optical imaging and sensing, and beam control applications in Directed Energy. Dr. Johnson’s recent work on structured light for imaging and sensing is an integral part for the MURI program he leads with other major research partners. Dr. Johnson’s research efforts have received over $20,000,000 in his career, with grants from ONR, AFOSR, DARPA, NSF, and other Federal Agencies. His research has also led to approximately 300 publications and 14 patents. Dr. Johnson was also a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, and recently the 2021 McQueen Quattlebaum Faculty Achievement Award at Clemson University.