Downer Femtosecond Spectroscopy Group | Students & Postdocs  
Mike Downer: Students and Postdocs

office RLM 2.212, tel: 512-471-9411 lab RLM 2.408, tel: 512-471-7251

Current Doctoral Students

Epi-Optics Group

NameResearch and Contact Information
Yujin Cho
Brandon Fureyoffice RLM 2.212 tel: 512-471-9411
Loucas LoumakosSurface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. office RLM 2.218 tel: 512-471-7251 email:
Adam Ramm

Ultrafast Laser Group

Name Research and Contact Information
Andrea Hannesch
Rick Korzekwa Enhaced high-order harmonic generation from expanding clusters. office RLM 2.212 tel: 512-471-9411 email:
Max LaBerge
Kathleen Weichman
James Welch
Yen-Yu Zhang office RLM 2.412 tel: 512-471-7251

Research Scientists

Name Research and Contact Information
Aaron Bernstein office RLM 9.328, tel 505-550-1846
Farbod Shafiei office RLM 2.218, tel 512-471-7251
Rafal Zgadzaj office RLM 2.412, tel 512-471-7251

Current Masters Students

Name Research and Contact Information
Joseph M. Shawoffice RLM 2.412,

Former Ph.D. Students

Name Thesis Title and Current Position
Hai-En TsaiPh. D. 2015 Tunable quasi-monoenergetic Compton x-ray source from laser-plasma accelerator.  
Currently a postdoctoral fellow at 
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (W. Leemans, supervisor).  
Neil FazelPh. D . 2015  Quasi-monoenergetic laser-plasma acceleration of electrons beyond 1 GeV at the Texas Petawatt Laser.  
Currently at Securities & Exchange Commission, New York, NY. 
James C. Sanders Ph. D . 2014  Terawatt Raman System for Two-Color Laser-Plasma Interactions. Currently Assistant Professor of Physics, Troy University, Alabama
Zhengyan Li Ph. D. 2014  Single-shot visualization of evolving, light-speed refractive index structures.  Currently a postdoctoral fellow at National Research Council - Canada (P. Corkum, supervisor).
Spencer Jolly
Xiaohui Gao Ph.D. 2012 Characterization of cluster-monomer ratio in pulsed supersonic gas jets , email:  
Ming Lei Ph.D. 2012 Nonlinear optical studies of ultrathin silicon and carbon films. Currently Sr. TD Engineer at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
Junwei Wei Ph.D. 2012 Ultrafast spectroscopy of silicon nanocrystals. Currently Research Scientist at KLA-Tencor. email:
Robert Ehlert Ph.D. 2011 Optical second harmonic generation and reflectance anisotropy spectroscopy of molecular adsorption at Si(001) step edges. Currently at Intel Corp. email:
Peng Dong Ph.D. 2010 Frequency domain holography of laser plasma acceleration structures. Currently postdoctoral research associate at UCLA. email:
Jimmy Price Ph.D. 2009 Optical characterization of high-K dielectric structures. Currently at SEMATECH email:
Franklin Grigsby Ph.D. 2009 Pulse Shaping for Laser Wakefield Optimization, office RLM 2.212 tel: 512-471-9411 email:
Rafal Zgadzaj Ph.D. 2008: Guiding of terawatt pulses through plasma channels, Currently postdoctoral research associate at UT Austin, email:
Benjamin Bowes Ph.D. 2007:Energy transport in high temperature, high density plasmas on femtosecond timescales, Currently Technical Staff member at The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California. Office Phone: 310-336-2619, email:
Peter Figliozzi Ph.D. 2007: Nonlinear spectroscopy of silicon nanocrystals, Currently Senior Modeler/Analyst, Clockwork Solutions, Inc. Austin, TX (email:
Liangfeng Sun Ph.D. 2006: Nonlinear spectroscopy of silicon nanocrystals, email: Postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University (2006-2011, postdoc supervisor: Prof. Frank Wise). Currently Assistant Professor at Bowling Green State University.
Jinhee Kwon Ph.D. 2006: Second Harmonic Generation and Reflectance Difference Spectroscopy of Si(001) Vicinal Surfaces, Currently postdoctoral research associate at U. Texas - Dallas (postdoc supervisor: Prof. Yves Chabal), email:
Dr. Kwon gave the AMO seminar "In-situ FTIR characterization during atomic layer deposition of high-k dielectric and metal films" in the UT Physics Department on 26 September 2008.
Ramón Carriles-Jaimes Ph.D. 2006:SFG spectroscopy of ultrathin oxides., Postdoctoral research associate at Colorado School of Mines (2006-2008; postdoc supervisor Prof. Jeff Squier); Currently staff scientist at Centro de Investigaciones en Optica (CIO), Leon, Mexico.
Nicholas Hill Matlis Ph.D. 2006:Generation and characterization of laser Wakefields, optical phase diagnosis using Frequency Domain Holography and SPIDER., email:, Currently postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence-Berkley National Labs (Postdoc supervisor: Wim Leemans)
Bonggu Shim Ph.D. 2006:Time-resolved study of third harmonic generation from anisotropically expanding clusters. Postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University (2007-2012 Postdoc supervisor: Prof. Alex Gaeta). Currently Assistant Professor at Binghamton University. email:
Dr. Shim gave the AMO seminar "How ultrashort laser pulses guide themselves" in the UT-Physics Department on 21 November 2008.
Kui Wu Ph.D. 2004: Second harmonic generation imaging of electric fields., email:
Currently with Wuhan Telecommunication Devices Co., Ltd., Wuhan, China.
Yingying Jiang Ph.D. 2002: Linear and nonlinear optical spectroscopy of silicon germanium and silicon nanocrystals
Postdoctoral research associate at Vanderbilt University (2002-2004); Currently Associate Professor, Peking University, China (email:
Daeyoung Lim Ph.D. 2001: Nonlinear optical spectroscopy of silicon-boron and other silicon-adsorbate systems
Postdoctoral research associate at Los Alamos Natl Lab (2001-2003); Research associate at IBM Yorktown Thomas J Watson Research Center (2003-2005); Currently Professor of Physics & Applied Physics, Kyunghee University, Korea. email:
Philip Wilson Ph.D. 2000: Second-harmonic generation spectroscopy using broad bandwidth femtosecond pulses
Postdoc at NIST-Gaithersburg (2000-2002)
Currently at Milliken Research Corporation, Spartanburg, SC
Erhard Gaul Ph.D. 2000: Fully ionized helium waveguides for laser wakefield acceleration Laser scientist at Gesellschaft für Schwerionforschung (GSI), Darmstadt, Germany (2001-04); Currently Chief Laser Scientist, Texas Petawatt Laser project. email:
William Chism Ph.D. 2000: Nonlinear classical dynamics in intense laser-atom physics (The University of Texas at Austin, supervisor: L.E. Reichl). Current work: Ultrafast coherent dynamics in semiconductors
Currently at Sematech, email:
Mikal Grimes Ph.D. 1998: Vacuum heating absorption and expansion of solid surfaces induced by intense femtosecond laser irradiation
Currently at Matrix NetSystems, Austin, TX
Yun-shik Lee Ph.D. 1997: Optical fourth harmonic generation at crystalline surfaces
Postdoctoral associate,  U. Michigan (1997-99, supervisor Prof. Ted Norris); Currently Assistant Professor of Physics, Oregon State University
301 Weniger Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331-6507
tel: 541-737-5057
Prof. Lee is the author of the recently published book Principles of Terahertz Science and Technology (Springer, 2008)
Xiaofeng Hu Ph.D. 1997: Femtosecond linear and nonlinear spectroscopy of silicon, germanium and silicon-germanium alloys
Currently Member of Technical Staff, KLA-Tencor
Craig Siders Ph.D. 1996: An experimental demonstration of the laser wakefield "photon accelerator": longitudinal interferometric diagnostics for plasma based accelerators. Director's postdoctoral fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory (1996-98); Research Faculty Scientist, UC-San Diego (1998-2000); Asst Prof. of Optics, CREOL, U. Central Florida, Orlando, FL. (2001-05); currently Advanced Research Program Element Leader, National Ignition Facility, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Jerry Dadap Ph.D. 1995: Optical second harmonic electro- and thermo-reflectance spectroscopy of Si(001)/SiO2, H-Si(001), and Si(001)-(2x1) interfaces by femtosecond laser pulses. Postdoctoral fellow, Physics Dept., Columbia U. (1996-2000); Senior MTS, Tellium, Inc., NJ (2001-04);  Currently Research Scientist, Brookhaven Natl. Laboratory and Columbia University.
Hyeyoung Ahn Ph.D. 1994: Femtosecond dynamics of condensed matter under planetary interior conditions; Research Scientist, Nippon Telegraph & Telecommunication (NTT, 1994-96); Research Fellow, Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI, 1996-2000); Research Scientist, Dept. Physics, National Tsing-Hua U., Taiwan. (2001-05); Currently Prof. of Photonics, Natl, Chiao Tung U., Hsinchu, Taiwan
Xiaoyi "Charlie" Wang Ph.D. 1993: Hydro- and electro-dynamics of solid targets under intense femtosecond laser excitation; Postdoctoral fellow and Senior Research Scientist, Columbia U. (1993-98). Currently Senior Development Engineer, Coherent Laser Group, Coherent, Inc., Santa Clara, CA.
Heung Ro Choo Ph.D. 1992: Rapid scan femtosecond ellipsometry and its application to optical surface diagnostics and ultrafast carrier dynamics in semiconductors; Senior Researcher, Electronics & Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Daejon, Korea (1993-2000); since 2000, founder and CEO of XL Photonics, Inc. based in Daejon, Korea, a manufacturer of optoelectronic transmitter/receiver modules for the telecommunications industry.
Gary W. Burdick Ph.D. 1991: Third order contributions to spin-forbidden rare earth optical transition intensities; Currently Professor of Physics, Andrews University, Michigan.
William M. Wood Ph.D. 1991: Femtosecond study of plasma generation and dynamics by blueshifting of high intensity laser pulses;
David H. Reitze* Ph.D. 1990: Femtosecond dynamics of phase transitions in carbon and silicon; Currently Professor of Physics, U. of Florida (Gainesville), and Director of the International Laser Inteferometric Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) project. Prof. Reitze gave the Plenary Address on the LIGO project at the 2008 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO '08).
Glenn B. Focht Ph.D. 1990: Frequency shifting of femtosecond laser pulses;
Sadly, Glenn died of cancer in 2004. In his memory, Prof. and Mrs. Downer are now establishing the "Jane and Mike Downer Graduate Fellowship in Laser Physics in memory of Glenn Bryant Focht" through a gift to the University of Texas at Austin.

Former Postdoctoral Fellows

Chih-Hao Pai 2011-2013 Currently Associate Professor at Tsinghua University
Steven A. Reed 2007-2009 Currently Technical Staff member at The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California.
Yong An 2004-2008 Research Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratories
Andy Rundquist 1998-2000 Currently Assistant Professor of Physics, Hamline University
MC198, 1536 Hewitt Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
tel: 651-523-2513
Lucymarie Mantese 1998-2000 Currently Member of Technical Staff, Agilent Technologies
San Jose, CA
Paul Le Blanc 1995-1999 Currently Member of Technical Staff, 3M Research Site
Building A003-1N-05
11705 Research Blvd.
Austin, TX 78759
tel: 512-984-2272
Zhiwei Xu 1993-1995 Currently Member of Technical Staff, Applied Materials, Inc.
3100 Bowers Ave.
M/S 0225
Santa Clara, CA 95054
tel: 408-235-4530
D. Mark Riffe 1991-1993 Currently Associate Professor of Physics, Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-4415
tel: 801-797-3896
fax: 801-797-2492
W. C. Banyai 1989-1991 Currently staff scientist, Stanford University, CA
J. I. Trisnadi 1989-1991 Currently staff scientist, Tamarack Storage Devices, Inc., Austin, TX
T. R. Zhang 1986-1988 Currently staff scientist, Compact Software, Inc., Paterson, NJ

Former Master's Students

Name Thesis Title and Current Position
Spencer Jolly M.A. 2014: Two-Color High Intensity Laser Plasma Interaction Phenomena, and Status of Experiments on the UT^3 Laser System
Currently working in collaboration with ELI in Prague and the University of Hamburg email:
Aaron Roberts M.A. 2012
Adrienne Prem M.S. 2011
Dongsu Du M.A. 2010
Stefan Bedacht M.A. 2009
Adrian Wirth M.A. 2007:Second harmonic spectroscopy of silicon nanocrystals
Currently at Max Planck Insitute of Quantum Optics, email:
P. J. Smith M.A. 2007: Optical WMD, email:
Sebastian Jung M.A. 2005: Laser Wakefield Frequency Domain Interferometry , email:
Alexander Debus M.A. 2004: Guiding a high-energy laser beam through a plasma channel
Currently at Friedrich-Schiller-University at the Institute for Optics and Quantum Electronics in Jena, email:
Carsten Winterfeldt M.A. 2002: Optical Parametric Amplifier for Nonlinear Optical Spectroscopy
Currently at University of Würzburg, email:
Jesse Canterbury M.S. 2000: Imaging of electric fields at metal-semiconductor junctions using electric-field-induced second harmonic generation (EFISH).
Currently working at University of Washington, email:
Thomas Pfeifer M.A. 2000: Phase matched generation of soft X-rays in hollow core capillaries.
Currently working at University of Würzburg, email:
Claudia Maria Treml Frequency resolved optical gating (FROG). (email:
Mark Anderson Nonlinear spectroscopy of silicon interfaces (CPE 4.438, tel: 512-471-5734; email:
Nelson Turner III M. S. 1994: Dual beam detection of frequency shifted ultrafast laser pulses; currently staff scientist, Research Electro-Optics, Inc., Boulder, CO
Alexander Frey M.S. 1994: Repetition rate synchronization of a colliding-pulse mode-locked laser with an external oscillator; currently Ph.D. candidate, U. Wurzburg, Germany
Erhard W. Gaul M.S. 1993: The Table-Top-Terawatt laser: generation, stabilization, and amplification of ultrashort pulses; currently Ph.D. candidate, U. of Texas at Austin.
Mercel ter Beek Nonlinear spectroscopy of Si-oxynitride interfaces Novellus Systems, Inc., 1701 Directors Blvd Suite 900, Austin, TX 78744, tel: 512-326-1122 (jointly supervised with J. M. White, Department of Chemistry)