Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Research presentation

Ted Corcovilos

Duquesne University


About Dr. Corcovilos

  • 10 years at Duquesne
  • Before that research at Penn State and Rice
  • Ph.D. at Caltech

Research interests:

  • Optics: light and light-based measurements
  • Collaborations with ⚗️ Chemistry, 🌳 Environmental Science, and 🎺 Music

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics

  • Study of light and the interactions of light with matter

Geometric descriptions of geometric optics

  • Bring back 19th century geometry ideas and apply to modern optics
  • Simplifies calculations for things like misaligned lenses
    • Poster outside my office
  • Laser beams and “classical” light rays now obey the same rules

Ultracold atoms in quasicrystal potentials

  • Cool atoms down to nanokelvin temperature using lasers
  • Load them into structures built from interfering laser beams
  • Study materials that are hard to make using chemistry like quasicrystals

Mathematical analysis of vibrato in music performance

  • Sound and light are both waves, so we can describe them with the same math.
  • The way wind musicians produce vibrato is not fully understood.
  • Collaboration with Prof. Paul Doerksen in School of Music

Infrared Multi-Photon Dissociation of gas-phase ions

  • Use infrared lasers to heat molecules until they break
  • Look at the broken bits to learn about chemical bonding in u ranium and other actinide metals
  • Collaborators:

LTQ with CO2 laser addition

Thermo-Fisher LTQ mass spec with laser window

Optical detection of contaminants in water

  • Measure color changes to quantify contaminants in drinking water like lead, fluoride, and iron
  • Homemade device built by students for about $80 each replaces a $3000 device
    • Arduino “brain”
    • 3D printed body
  • Collaboration with Prof. David Kahler in Environmental Science

Laser-Induced Fluorescence for Quantitation of Cross-Linking in Bio-polymers

  • Put fluorescent “staples” on proteins then break them apart.
  • Use a home-built microscope with microfluidic sample to count the “staples” to count the protein subunits
  • Collaboration with Prof. Michael Cascio in Biochemistry