Mr. Mingyang Zhang, OSE PHD Student Showcases his Research at the UNM Shared Knowledge Conference

Departmental News

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Posted: November 8, 2021

Igniting Artificial Stars with Semiconductor Disk Lasers

Mingyang Zhang, Doctoral Student, Optical Science and Engineering (OSE), University of New Mexico  
Dr. Alexander R. Albrecht, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UNM  
Distinguished Professor, Mansoor Sheik-Bahae, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UNM  



Vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VECSELs) have recently emerged as alternative sources to existing solid-state lasers due to their relatively simple and low-cost architecture, high powers, flexible bandgap engineering, good beam quality, ultrashort pulse operation, and intracavity accessibility. Those unique features make it possible to achieve wavelengths and power levels that can be utilized ranging from spectroscopy and biomedical applications, to creating an artificial star for adaptive optics astronomy. My PhD work at UNM primarily focuses on the latter application. Sodium laser guide stars (LGS) play an essential role for adaptive optics (AO) in ground-based telescopes. A narrow linewidth 589.2 nm laser is used to energize sodium atoms around 90 km above the earth’s surface to create a sodium beacon that will serve as an AO reference for correcting the aberrations caused by the atmosphere turbulence. We investigate utilizing membrane external-cavity surface-emitting lasers (MECSELs), invented by our group at UNM for developing compact, efficient, and ultra-stable lasers emitting at the sodium D2 line. The MECSEL architecture allows high power operation required for LGS applications due to its unique thermal management capabilities. 

Dr. Sheik-Bahae Research Group: 

Mr. Mingyang Zhang is a doctoral student in the OSE Program at UNM.  He is a member of Distinguished Professor, Mansoor Sheik-Bahae’s research group.  Dr. Sheik-Bahae’s research includes Laser Cooling in Solids, Ultrafast Phenomena, Nonlinear Optics, Nano-Photonics and Semiconductor Optics. 

Link to Dr. Sheik-Bahae’s Research Group:

About the Poster Showcase:  

In the poster session, graduate students from programs across campus display their research in poster format and engage directly with conference attendees and fellow scholars. Research posters come in a wide variety of topics, crossing fields throughout the humanities and sciences. Poster evaluators are also on hand to provide feedback to presenters. Students are nominated by their academic program to display a research poster at the conference.  

This year's Poster Showcase took place on Monday, November 8th from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM in the Student Union Building, Ballroom C, with the top three finalists from the LoboBITES competition giving their presentations at noon.