EVENTS

HEOS normally meets the third Thursday of every month and are open to nonmembers and the public.  We also engage in a number of educational outreach activities that provide great volunteer opportunities.  Please come join us.
Thursday, April 11 - Guest Speaker Series

Thursday, April 11 - Guest Speaker Series 
Speaker: H. Philip Stahl, Ph.D., Senior Optical Physicist at 

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Time: 11:30 am social and free pizza lunch, talk at 12:00
Where: UAH Optics Building, room 234 
Topic:  Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) Mission  

 

Abstract:

The Habitable Exoplanet Observatory Mission (HabEx) will image and spectroscopically characterize planetary systems in the habitable zone around nearby sun-like stars. Additionally, HabEx will perform a broad range of general astrophysics science enabled by 100 to 2500 nm spectral range and 3 x 3 arc-minute FOV. Critical to achieving the HabEx science goals is a large, ultra-stable telescope. The baseline HabEx telescope is a 4-m off-axis unobscured three-mirror-anastigmatic design with diffraction limited performance at 400 nm and wavefront stability of picometers per mK. This talk reviews science objectives for HabEx. Additionally, the talk summarizes the opto-mechanical design of the HabEx baseline optical telescope assembly, including a discussion of how science requirements drive the telescope’s specifications, and presents analysis that the baseline telescope structure meets its specified tolerances.

Bio:

Dr. H. Philip Stahl is a Senior Optical Physicist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center currently leading a study to mature mirror technologies for a new large aperture UV/Optical/IR telescope to replace Hubble.  Previously, he was responsible for developing candidate primary mirror technologies for the James Webb Space Telescope. Dr. Stahl is a leading authority in optical metrology, optical engineering, and phase-measuring interferometry.  Many of the world's largest telescopes have been made with the aid of high-speed and infrared phase-measuring Interferometers developed by him.  He is a Fellow of SPIE and OSA, past ICO Vice President and was SPIE’s 2014 President.  He earned his PhD in Optical Science at the University of Arizona in 1985. 

Thursday, November 8 - Guest Speaker Series

Thursday, November 8 - Guest Speaker Series 
Speaker: Angelo Prisco, Engineer at 

PI (Physik Instrumente), a leading manufacturer of precision motion & automation sub-systems

Time: 11:30 am social and free pizza lunch, talk at 12:00
Where: UAH Optics Building, room 234 
Topic:  PI Hexapods and the advantages of Parallel Kinematics 

 

Abstract:

The talk will cover a basic history and introductory design approach of 6 DOF Hexapods versus serial Kinematic stacks of motion stages. Topics discussed will be the History of Hexapods, Mechanical Design Features and Advantages, Controllers, Metrology and Test of Hexapod Robots, Movements and Coordinate Systems, and Applications of PI Hexapods.

About PI:

PI is a leading manufacturer of precision motion & automation sub-systems and components including Piezo Mechanics, Air Bearings, Linear Motors, Hexapod 6-Axis Systems, Microscope Stages, Motor Controllers, Piezo Nanopositioning Systems, and Electroceramic Motors. Applications include photonics, bio-nanotechnology, medical devices, and semiconductor manufacturing. PI has over 40 years of experience developing and manufacturing standard & custom precision motion products. PI has been ISO 9001 certified since 1994 and provides innovative, high-quality solutions for industry, OEM, and research. PI is present worldwide, employing over 1,200 staff. With fifteen subsidiaries and design, manufacturing and service centers on 3 continents, we can provide and support the broadest spectrum of high precision motion systems in the world. 

Bio:

Angelo Prisco, PI USA Sales Engineer for 5 years. I earned my undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from Emory University in Atlanta. I advanced my studies at Arkansas Tech University in Nuclear Engineering, while working towards my Reactor Operator License. Shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster I made the jump from Nuclear Reactor Physics and entered the Photonics Industry full time, starting in spectrometers, lasers, optics, and now with PI focusing on opto-mechanical instrumentation and Hexapod robotics. For PI I specialize in the sales and business development of motion technologies for emerging technologies spanning Production Test & Metrology, VR/AR, LIDAR, 3D Printing, Laser Materials Processing, and Quantum Computing Applications.

Thursday, July 19 - Guest Speaker Series 

Thursday, July 19 - Guest Speaker Series 
Speaker: Bijan Nemati, Ph.D., Principal Research Scientist at the Center for Applied Optics University of Alabama in Huntsville

Time: 11:30 am social and free pizza lunch, talk at 12:00
Where: UAH Optics Building, room 234 
Topic: Space-based coronagraphs for Imaging Extra-Solar Planets​ 

Abstract
Over the last decade or so, advances in electro-optics have made possible the direct imaging of extra-solar planets. Dimmer than its host stars by factors of billions, an exoplanet's image would normally be overwhelmed by the host star's diffracted image. To retrieve the planet signal, the diffraction of the starlight must be managed. Modern coronagraphs can do this by manipulating the starlight electromagnetic field. First invented in 1939 by the French astronomer Bernard Lyot, the original coronagraph was designed to produce an artificial eclipse in order to reveal the sun's corona. The modern generation of coronagraphs use deformable mirrors and advanced materials to suppress the starlight sufficiently to detect and characterize the planet atmospheres. In this talk we will review how coronagraphs work and how current current and planned NASA missions are using coronagraphs for advancing our knowledge of extra solar planets. 


Bio
Bijan Nemati received his Ph.D. in high energy physics from the University of Washington in 1990. He did post-doctoral work on charm quark decays using the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) and the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR). In 2001 he joined NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he worked until 2017 on technology development in stellar interferometry, high precision metrology, novel techniques for asteroid detection, and micro-arcsecond astrometry. Since 2014 he has had leading roles in the development of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a NASA mission to explore dark energy and image extra-solar planets. He is currently a principal research scientist at the Center for Applied Optics in the University of Alabama in Huntsville, working on the next generation of space telescopes designed to directly image exoplanets.

Thursday, March 22 - Guest Speaker Series

Thursday, March 22 - Guest Speaker Series 
Speaker: H. Philip Stahl, Ph.D., Senior Optical Physicist at 

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Time: 11:30 am social and free pizza lunch, talk at 12:00
Where: UAH Optics Building, room 234 
Topic:  Advanced Mirror Technology Development (AMSD) Project for Large UVOIR Space Telescopes  

 

Abstract:

UVOIR measurements provide robust, often unique, diagnostics for investigating astronomical environments and objects. UVOIR observations are responsible for much of our current astrophysics knowledge and will produce as-yet- unimagined, paradigm-shifting discoveries. The Advanced Mirror Technology Development (AMTD) project was a 5 year effort to mature towards TRL-6 critical technologies required to enable 4-m- or-larger monolithic or segmented ultraviolet, optical, and infrared (UVOIR) space telescope primary-mirror assemblies for general astrophysics and ultra-high- contrast observations of exoplanets. AMTD uses a science driven systems engineering philosophy to derive telescope level engineering specifications from driving science requirements then develop technological solutions that maximize science return for the minimum cost and risk. AMTD Phase 1 demonstrated a new ‘stacked-core’ process, that offers a lower cost approach for manufacturing large-diameter, thick, high-stiffness mirror substrates, by making a 43 cm ‘cut-out’ of a 4 meter diameter 40 kg/m 2 mirror. AMTD Phase 2 demonstrated lateral scalability of the stacked core process by making a 1.5 m diameter x 200 mm thick ULE © mirror that is 1/3rd scale of a full size 4-meter mirror and characterized its thermal performance. AMTD-2 also characterized the performance of a 1.2-meter Extreme-Lightweight Zerodur ® mirror owned by Schott. Additionally, AMTD has developed integrated modeling tools which are being used to evaluate primary mirror systems for a potential Habitable Exoplanet Mission and analyzed the interaction between optical telescope wavefront stability and coronagraph contrast leakage. AMTD validates its tools by correlating model based predictions with measured thermal and mechanical performance.

Bio:

Dr. H. Philip Stahl is a Senior Optical Physicist at NASA MSFC currently leading an effort to mature technologies for a new large aperture telescope to replace the Hubble Space Telescope. Previous assignments include Mirror Technology lead for the James Webb Space Telescope. Dr. Stahl is a leading authority in optical metrology, optical engineering, and phase-measuring interferometry. Many of the world's largest telescopes have been fabricated with the aid of high-speed and infrared phase-measuring Interferometers developed by him, including the Keck, VLT and Gemini telescopes. Dr. Stahl is a Fellow of SPIE, Fellow of OSA, member of AAS and IAU. He was the 2014 SPIE President and an ICO Vice-President (2005-11). He earned his PhD (1985) and MS (1983) in Optical Science at the University of Arizona Optical Sciences Center. He earned a BA in Physics and Mathematics from Wittenberg University in 1979.

Thursday, March 1 - Guest Speaker Series 

Thursday, March 1 - Guest Speaker Series 
Speaker: Thomas Cantey, Ph.D., Director of Research at K Sciences 

Time: 11:30 am social and free pizza lunch, talk at 12:00
Where: UAH Optics Building, room 234 
Topic:  A review of Infrared Lasers: from Pb-salt to Quantum Cascade lasers to exotic Fiber and Solid State Lasers and more 

 

Abstract: 

This review of infrared (IR) lasers will present several laser technologies from commercial-off-the-self to research and development lasers. This talk will only briefly mention telecommunication and near-IR lasers. 20 years ago, your choice of commercial IR lasers were pretty much Pb-salt semiconductor lasers or CO2 lasers. That has changed dramatically over the recent years and all sorts of new laser technologies and techniques have emerged on the market and in the lab. This talk attempt to touch on each of these to give you a glimpse at this rapidly advancing field. Laser technologies discussed will include telecommunication lasers and pump diode lasers, Pb-salt diode lasers, quantum well and quantum cascade lasers, solid-state lasers, gas lasers, gas fiber lasers, fiber and IR fiber lasers, supercontinuum lasers, and other exotic lasers.  

Bio: 

Dr. Cantey received his Ph.D. in Optical Science and Engineering and his M.S. in Physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. His B.S. in Physics was earned at Wofford College. Dr. Cantey is the current Director of Research for K Sciences GP, LLC and has over 20 years experience as a physicist, optical engineer, systems engineer, and project manager. He has developed test instrumentation from concept to commercial through the years. At his previous company Optical Sciences Corporation for 16 years, he was the primary R&D senior scientist and principle investigator for numerous projects, SBIRs, and STTRs. Dr. Cantey currently serves as the CEO and Chairman of the Board of HEOS to guide the 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional organization dedicated to promoting and facilitating the knowledge of optics and photonics to its members and the public.

Thursday, September 21 - Guest Speaker Series

Speaker: Matthew Smith, Ph.D.

Vice President & CTO of Axometrics, Inc.

Time: 11:30 am social and free pizza lunch, talk at 12:00
Where: UAH Optics Building, room 234
Topic: How Mueller Matrix Polarimetry (Sort of) Changed the World

 

Abstract:

We will discuss Mueller matrix polarimetry, and how Axometrics, Inc. (Huntsville, AL) transitioned it from a technology primarily limited to university research labs into an indispensable technology for developing and producing the liquid crystal displays (LCD’s) that revolutionized the display industry.   Since 2002, our systems have been used in applications ranging from the development of the first iPhone displays, to in-line monitoring on the world’s largest “Gen 11” LCD production lines.  We will present our technology, and discuss highlights of our 15-year journey from teaching polarization theory throughout Asia to becoming the industry-leader in advanced polarization testing.

Bio:

Matt Smith received a B.S. degree in Applied Optics from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1991, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1993 and 1996.  He worked at UAH from 1996 through 2002, beginning as a Staff Scientist and culminating as an Associate Research Professor of Physics, where his research was primarily focused on biomedical optics and polarized light.  He worked briefly as a Staff Scientist for JDS Uniphase from 2001 – 2002, and in 2002 he co-founded Axometrics, Inc., where he currently serves as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

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