CASPR is operated in part through a NASA grant which was initiated in June, 2002. Photonics research is being conducted in diverse disciplines covering subjects in:
-Sensors Lasers and Detectors,
-Very High Capacity Optical Fiber Communication,
in a collaborative effort to support the needs of Government, Industry, and Science.
Projects are decentralized and are conducted within appropriate UMBC departments and laboratories. In addition to a small administration office, the staff is currently composed of 16 professors and post-doctoral scientists, plus a similar number of graduate students in the UMBC departments of: Physics, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering; Mathematics and Statistics; and Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.
In state-of-the art fabrication laboratories, clean-rooms, and test facilities, new opto-electronic devices are being created, such as:
-high power, high-efficiency reliable semiconductor lasers for Earth Science lidar space missions;
-sensitive tunable narrow-band infrared radiation detectors using quantum-well structures;
-terahertz radiation generators and detectors suitable for molecular spectrography, environmental sensing, and homeland defense; and
-optical switches, modulators, splitters, and coupling devices for high rate long haul fiber communications.
A new laboratory is studying properties of ultrashort light pulses and their interactions with materials and nanostructures.
In the fundamental physics of quantum-entangled photons and their exciting applications to ultra-precision remote clock synchronization, position tracking, imaging, and remote spectroscopy, CASPR has been the leader in demonstrating its potential for valuable benefits to NASA, civilian, and military space and terrestrial programs.
CASPR has unique capabilities in optical communication theory and outstanding laboratory facilities with connectivity to local and global optical fiber networks.
An important function of CASPR is to assist university researchers and businesses in exploring and developing joint commercial applications of the new technology. The center will evolve into a long-term focus for photonics research in the Baltimore-Washington area, and it will participate in fostering a culture of economic growth and increasing expertise. Post-doctoral participants and UMBC students graduating with a heritage of CASPR-sponsored research will provide a valuable resource for that growth.