Research

Laser Development

  • design and build custom lasers for various applications
  • developing control techniques to enhance the performance of lasers
  • developing unique tunable diode pumped solid state lasers
  • developing high power tunable sources based on injection seeded taper diode amplifiers

Remote Sensing – Carbon sequestration site monitoring (ZERT)

  • being developed to mitigate increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel use
  • needed to ensure carbon sequestration site integrity
  • an above ground monitoring instrument has been tested and it is able to see the elevated carbon dioxide levels resulting from the injection
  • a below ground monitoring instrument has been tested; it is able to see the elevated carbon dioxide levels resulting from the injection and can monitor the CO2 dynamics as it travels through the ground

Remote Sensing – Atmospheric Studies

The applied optics group is developing a suite of remote sensing instruments to study the interaction of aerosols, water vapor and clouds. Aerosols and water vapor can affect the microstructure of clouds leading to a negative radiative forcing on the climate system while aerosols and water vapor can interact with the incoming solar radiation producing an enhanced greenhouse effect or a cooling effect, depending on the aerosol species and its hygroscopic effect. These effects, referred to as the aerosol indirect and aerosol direct effects, produce the largest uncertainty in global climate modeling.
Applied Optics Laboratory
  • active instruments include two-color backscatter lidar, micropulse lidar, diode based differential absorption lidar, and high spectral reesolution lidar
  • passive instruments include solar photometers and pyranometers.

Remote Sensing – Spectral Imaging

  • A typical reflectance spectrum associated with green vegetation will change for different plant species or as plants become stressed. Current work is aimed at using reflectance spectra for noxious weed mapping and plant health studies.
  • Noxious weed mapping will utilize a hyperspectral imager deployed on a UAV and is a collaborative project with Resonon.
  • Using statistical techniques, we have developed classification trees to classify vegetation as healthy or unhealthy over time. Plants near the carbon dioxide well were stressed due to the increase in underground carbon dioxide. This stress was seen by the hyperspectral imager.