Stephen E. Harris

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Primary Section: 31, Engineering Sciences
Secondary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 1981)

Research Interests

I am interested in inventing and demonstrating new types of optical processes and devices. The theme of my current research is that of electromagnetically induced transparency. This is a technique for making an otherwise optically thick medium transparent to laser radiation. The basic idea is to use two lasers or electromagnetic fields whose frequencies differ by a Raman or two-photon resonance of the atom or molecule. During the last several years we have demonstrated enormous increases in transparency of resonant three-state systems. More recently, we have extended this work to gaseous materials which distort a laser beam by random phase variation rather than absorbing it. We have also shown how this technique may prevent optical self-focusing and defocusing. The applications of this work are to lasers which may operate without population inversion and to a variety of new types of nonlinear optical devices.

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