Illuminating New Possibilities: An Interview with Alireza Marandi

Caltech News tagged with “staff + student_life + faculty_profile + grants_and_giving”

New Caltech faculty member Alireza Marandi is on the cutting edge of laser science. Marandi, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, explores how nonlinear photonics, a field of optics, enables a broad range of previously less-explored opportunities for using lasers and light detectors for a variety of purposes, including molecular sensing and computing. Although lasers currently are used for a number of important applications from surgery to communications, imaging, and sensing, the devices are not always available at the wavelength needed for a given application. Marandi and others are exploring ways to convert laser wavelengths to suit any given purpose, by passing the light through specially engineered devices. Such nonlinear devices can also be used in information processing. Marandi received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tehran, a master’s from the University of Victoria, and a doctorate from Stanford University. Recently, he answered a few questions about his life and work.What brought you to Caltech?Caltech has a great focus on science and engineering. Everyone you meet shares the same passion and drive, which fosters strong collaborations and motivates you to dig more deeply into your own field and be more effective. It has been a utopia for the type of research I am interested in.Moreover, Caltech has played a critical role in the evolution of electrical engineering and photonics. Many of the prominent figures in the field have been at Caltech at some point in their careers as students, postdocs, or faculty members. It is extremely exciting for me to be a part of this community and contribute to its extraordinary impact.What first got you excited about photonics?When I was in primary school, I saw one of those sci-fi movies that had lasers in it. I don’t even remember the name of the movie, but it got …

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