Professor Robert L. Byer has conducted research and taught classes in lasers and nonlinear optics at Stanford University since 1969. He has made numerous contributions to laser science and technology including the demonstration of the first tunable visible parametric oscillator, the development of the Q-switched unstable resonator Nd:YAG laser, remote sensing using tunable infrared sources and precision spectroscopy using Coherent Anti Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS). Current research includes the development of nonlinear optical materials and laser diode pumped solid state laser sources for applications to gravitational wave detection and to laser particle acceleration.
Professor Byer is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Laser Institute of America. In 1985 Professor Byer served as president of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-optics Society. He was elected President of the Optical Society of America and served in 1994. He is a founding member of the California Council on Science and Technology and is serving as chair from 1995 - 1999. He has served on the Engineering Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation. He was Chair of the Applied Physics Department from 1981 to 1984; Associate Dean of Humanities and Sciences from 1985 to 1987, and served as Vice Provost and Dean of Research at Stanford University from 1987 through 1992. He is currently the Director of Ginzton Laboratory after serving as Director of Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory from 1997 through 2006.
In 1996 Professor Byer received the Quantum Electronics Award from the Lasers and Electro-optics Society of the IEEE. In 1998 he received the R. W. Wood prize of the Optical Society of America and the A. L. Schawlow Award from the Laser Institute of America. In 2000 he was the recipient of the IEEE Third Millenium Medal.
Professor Byer has published more than 400 scientific papers and holds 40 patents in the fields of lasers and nonlinear optics. Professor Byer was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1987 and to the National Academy of Science in 2000.
High power laser sources, non-linear optics, aerospace applicationsDepartment(s): Applied Physics