Interdisciplinary Distinguished Lecturer: Dr. John Scales

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From Millimeter to Terahertz Waves

Dr. John Scales, Professor of Physics
Colorado School of Mines

Dr. John Scales spoke on Friday, November 5th, 2010 at 1:00PM in Engineering Building III, Room 2213

Electromagnetic waves in the part of the spectrum between microwaves and the far-infrared can play an especially important role in science and technology. Here wavelengths are small enough to allow tightly collimated beams on the laboratory scale and yet complete control of the amplitude and phase. Since the wavelengths are a thousand times greater than optical, tolerances for quasi-optical components (mirrors, lenses, etc.) are correspondingly reduced. For example, meta-materials at optical frequencies may require elaborate nano-fabrication techniques, while at the millimeter scale, computer controlled milling may suffice. Many of the tricks that one can play with light (such as near-field scanning) can be done relatively easily with millimeter/submilleter waves. Finally, there are important scientific applications which are ideally suited to this range of frequencies, including Rydberg atoms, high magnetic fields, and the composition of the interstellar medium. In this talk I will give a survey of these ideas with specific examples drawn from recent work in my lab.

Dr. Scales obtained his BS in Physics from University of Delaware and his PhD degree in Physics from University of Colorado, Boulder. He joined Colorado School of Mines in 1992 where he is currently Professor of Physics. He has held two visiting Professorships in Paris, at the Institut de Physique du Globe where he investigated Inverse Problems theory and at Ecole supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles (ESPCI) where he conducted research in wave chaos.