JACOBS Home Page

Stephen D. Jacobs

Senior Scientist, Professor of Optics and Chemical Engineering


with grandson at Seneca Park Zoo Rochester NY    08/12

Office: Laboratory for Laser Energetics,
room 1429
Phone: (585) 275-4837 (office)
Fax: (585) 275-7225
E-mail: sjac@LLE.rochester.edu

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Our Group conducts research on optical materials for high power lasers, optical applications of liquid crystals, and novel optics manufacturing processes. Our research group is very interdisciplinary, consisting of a liquid crystal chemist, optical engineers and physicists, chemical engineers, and students (undergraduate and graduate) from The Institute of Optics, the Materials Science Program, and the Department of Chemical Engineering. We carry out our research in a number of laboratories on the University's South Campus under the auspices of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics.
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In the early '80's, we started to explore applications of liquid crystals in high peak power lasers. We were the first to develop and utilize large aperture, laser damage resistant, low molecular weight liquid crystal devices as circular polarizers and waveplates. Over 300 liquid crystal optics to 200 mm in diameter are used for polarization control in the OMEGA Nd: glass laser system at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). This system is currently the largest, university-based high peak power laser for fusion research in the world. New passive lc optics research activities center around concepts for distributed polarization rotators and studies to understand anchoring at lc/substrate interfaces from novel surface treatments. Electro-optic devices such as variable apodizers and shutter/choppers have been subjects of study by our group, and we are currently investigating the electro-optic effects of photoaligned liquid crystal laser beam shapers.

In the '90's, the group began to concentrate some of its efforts on the science of optical glass polishing. This work was aggressively carried out at the Center for Optics Manufacturing (COM) within the LLE, and it contiues to be a topic of study. By replacing the conventional aqueous based cerium oxide slurry/pitch lap with a magnetic fluid lap, the group co-invented and helped to commercialize a process called magnetorheological finishing (MRF). A spin-off from COM, QED Technologies, Inc., in Rochester, NY, has successfully commercialized MRF and has placed its line of finishing systems throughout the world.

In 2010 the group was asked to direct its efforts toward increasing the laser damage resistance of diffractive optics subjected to 10-ps 1054-nm laser radiation from the OMEGA EP laser at LLE.Extensive research on surface cleaning techniques with small samples were performed and these resulted showed how laser damage thresholds could be significantly increased. Results were recently published in Applied Optics, Vol. 52, pp. 1682-1692 (March 2013 and Applied Optics, Vol.52, pp. 7689-7698 (November 2013).

In 2012 the group began research on the properties of distributed polarization rotators (DPRs) employing optical rotatory power in cholesteric liquid crystals. Their intended application at high short-pulse-length laser energies in the UV place numerous materials properties requirements on this new type of passive optical element. Results were recently published in SPIE Proceedings: Conference 8828: Liquid Crystals XVII (paper #6-invited), SPIE Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, 08-25-2013.

Site Topics:
Steve Jacobs Team Web Site
  LLE staff that comprise the research group
Current Ph.D. students and Former Ph.D. students
Recent Research Publications
Facilities and Instrumentation
Summaries of Selected Research Activities
Courses Currently Taught
Educational Outreach Activities
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This site was last updated September 2013
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