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Frontiers in Optical Coherent and Ultrafast Science

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"FOCUS: Frontiers in Optical Coherent and Ultrafast Science"  (University of Michigan Ann Arbor)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

Frontiers in Optical Coherent and Ultrafast Science (FOCUS) at the University of Michigan was a Physics Frontiers Center (PFC) supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Physics Frontiers Centers foster major advances at the intellectual frontiers of physics by providing university-based resources not usually available to individual investigators or small groups.

FOCUS provided a unique national platform for discovery  interdisciplinary research in the optical sciences. FOCUS research was organized in three interconnected major activities that concentrated on coherent laser-matter interactions at the highest energy, fastest time and shortest length scales. Research at FOCUS helped scientists investigate the structure and dynamics of biomolecules and entire cells, increase our knowledge of such diverse subjects as astrophysics, high-energy physics, material science, medicine, and more.

Education & Outreach

FOCUS conducted a variety of activities to share its work with the public. The Physics Olympics was held annually in May with an objective to provide a healthy and fun academic competition for high-school students. PhysicsPalooza was held for the general public at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and featured cool physics demonstrations built and operated by students and faculty from FOCUS. The Light, Color, and Optics for High School Teachers program was an opportunity for local high school teachers to learn about teaching optics in their classes.

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  • interferogram image of soliton generation from the decay of plasma