Epi-Optics Laboratory

“Epi-optics” is the science of the optical properties of surfaces and interfaces. Trinity College-Dublin physicist John McGilp coined the term in a 1990 article in the Journal of Physics – Condensed Matter . “Epi-Optics” is now also the name of a biannual international summer school of solid state physics held in Erice, Sicily.

The UT Epi-Optics Laboratory, located in RLM 2.406 and 2.410, has been operating with support from the Robert Welch Foundation and the U. S. National Science Foundation since the early 1990s. The Welch Foundation published a Research Highlight on the Downer group epi-optics program in in its 2011 annual report. Our epi-optics research has involved frequent collaboration with, and occasional special-project support from, semiconductor manufacturers including Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Intel Corp. and Sematech. Fifteen UT students have earned PhDs from their work in this laboratory, published over 60 refereed research articles, and pursued careers both in academia (6) and in a broad cross-section of industry (9). Currently 3 PhD students, 1 undergraduate and 1 postdoc work in this lab.

The UT Epi-Optics Laboratory houses the following facilities for epi-optics research:

  • Femtosecond Ti:Sapphire laser/amplifier system (Positive Light Model Spitfire)

  • Femtosecond Ti:Sapphire laser oscillator (Coherent Model MIRA)

  • Noncollinear Optical Parametric Amplifier (NOPA, homebuilt)

  • Optical second-harmonic generation (SHG) system

  • Internal Photo-Emission (IPE) Spectroscopy system

  • Reflectance Anisotropy Spectroscopy (RAS) system

  • Second-Harmonic Generation Near-field Scanning Optical Microscopy (SHG-NSOM) system

  • Photo-Luminescence (PL) spectroscopy system

  • In addition, we make regular use of facilities at the Center for Nano- and Molecular Science (CNM), including a spectroscopic ellipsometer, Raman spectrometer, and electron microscope.