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January 23, 2002

Electronic newsroom



Brookhaven Lab Chemist Elected Fellow of the Optical Society of America

UPTON, NY - Louis DiMauro, a senior chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been named a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA).

OSA brings together over 15,000 scientists, engineers, educators, technicians and business leaders in optics and photonics to promote and disseminate knowledge in these fields. The organization elected 23 fellows in 2002. Fellowship is an honor bestowed on OSA members for outstanding achievements in their field.

"I am happy to receive this honor, which has resulted from experiments in optics that my colleagues and I have been performing for the past decade," said DiMauro. "I am certain that there are many new discoveries that await us in the future."

DiMauro works on developing new laser technology that generates intense pulses of light over an extremely short time span. The light pulse is faster than the motion of atoms in matter. This combination of very powerful light and unprecedented time scale allows scientists to study how the structure of materials changes over time and defines the field of ultra-fast science.

After performing numerous laser-based experiments using this technology, DiMauro and colleagues developed a now widely accepted theory, for which he was recognized by OSA, on how a short intense laser field interacts with atoms. This theory, dubbed the "Rescattering Model,” explains how an ultra-bright laser pulse shining on an atom can produce very energetic electrons and photons. The model shows that an electron that is originally bound to the atom can acquire enormous energy from the light field, resulting in a catastrophic collision. The collision results in the production of ultra-short wavelengths of light extending into the x-ray regime.

Such basic research has many practical applications. For example, laser-driven fusion — a potential clean energy source — is currently an area of scientific study with great national interest. The work in DiMauro’s group provides the foundation for such research while providing a potential means for producing pulses of light a thousand times shorter than the world’s record.

DiMauro earned a B.S. in chemistry from Hunter College in 1975, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Connecticut in 1977 and 1980, respectively. After a one-year term as a postdoctoral research associate at Stony Brook University (SBU), DiMauro joined the technical staff of AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he worked from 1981 to 1984. From 1984 to 1988, he was an assistant professor of physics at Louisiana State University, and, in 1988, he became adjunct professor of physics at SBU. Last year, he was promoted to visiting professor of physics by SBU.

In 1988, DiMauro joined Brookhaven as an assistant scientist in the Chemistry Department. DiMauro is currently a senior scientist at Brookhaven and also a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited liability company founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.