University of Minnesota
Institute of Technology
http://www.it.umn.edu
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

Towards Miniaturizing Optical Systems Using Photo-sensitive Polymers

Prof. Marty Baylor
Carleton College, Northfield, MN

Abstract
Many optical systems that solve interesting signal processing problems are physically too large to be useful in everyday applications. The work of two groups at the University of Colorado at Boulder could be very beneficial for those working in the area of miniaturization and lab-on-a-chip platforms. One group has developed a method of using direct-write lithography to create 3D optical index features in photopolymers. The other group has developed a method to create 3D microfluidic channels in photopolymers. By integrating these two capabilities in a single photopolymer, we have started to develop a new photopolymer platform for creating integrated optofluidic devices. In this talk, I will briefly discuss an optical system that addresses the cocktail party problem that would benefit greatly from miniaturization. Then, I will discuss the work we have been doing related to miniaturizing optical systems by developing a new photopolymer capable of creating co-planar optical index features (e.g. waveguides) and physical features (e.g., microfluidic channels). I will present a simple proof-of-principal refractometer that we have built.

Short Bio
Dr. Baylor completed her BA in physics at Kenyon College, OH in 1998. After Kenyon, she spent 2 years teaching middle and high school physics and astronomy at the Maret School in Washington, DC. She worked for 2 years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center designing telescopes to study the aurora on Jupiter and optical test beds to study MEMs mirrors and shutters for use in the Infrared Spectrometer in the James Webb Space Telescope. She completed her PhD in physics in 2007 at the University of Colorado at Boulder where the thesis title was "Analog Optoelectronic Independent Component Analysis for Radio Frequency Signals". After completing her PhD, she took a year off and was a visiting professor at Carleton College for 7 months and vacationed for 4 months (traveled to China, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, went whitewater rafting). She next did a 2 year postdoc in the Electrical, computer, and Energy Engineering department at University of Colorado at Boulder where she collaborated with the Chemical and Biological Engineering department to make integrated optofluidic devices in photosensitive polymers. She is currently assistant professor of physics at Carleton College.