UCLA Electrical and Computer Engineer Co-authors Department of Energy Report on Future of Laser Technology

(Image courtesy: UCLA Samueli)

This article was originally published by UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Sergio Carbajo, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, recently collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science on a basic research needs workshop, co-leading a science panel on novel radiation and particle sources, and helping pen a report on laser technology in January.

Co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and the Department of Defense Office of Naval Research, the report aims to guide decisions on government research funding to advance technology in the laser field. The findings will also impact decisions on allocation of resources for workforce development, national infrastructure and international cooperation.

“Realizing the potential of lasers to drive new science requires fundamental research in laser technology,” said Carbajo who leads the UCLA Quantum Light-Matter Cooperative, a multi-institutional research group working to understand, design and control light-driven physical processes to help solve technological challenges. “Because current technologies are advanced but limited in reach, such development cannot be incremental but rather requires rethinking the approach to high performance and the development of new architectures and systems leveraging moonshot or Nobel Prize-winning ideas.” 

The report focuses on four priority research areas:

  • Revolutionize laser power, energy and precision control
  • Transform mid-infrared sources for science from terahertz waves to X-rays
  • Revolutionize approaches to frequency conversion and field control
  • Reinvent materials and optics for intense laser science

In addition, the authors also highlighted the group’s discussions on workforce development, international and domestic strengths, supply chain issues and public-private partnerships.

Carbajo said it is important for current and prospective researchers to utilize basic research needs reports and funding opportunity announcements to understand the trajectory of research in the U.S. for decades to come.

A UCLA Samueli faculty since 2021, Carbajo holds a joint faculty appointment in the Physics and Astronomy Department and is a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. He is also a visiting professor at Stanford University’s Photon Science Division at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. In addition to his research, Carbajo is interested in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the scientific fields. He serves as the EDI officer of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UCLA Samueli and is the founding director of the Queered Science and Technology Center. 

In a video introducing his lab’s research focus, Carbajo shares his vision for utilizing technology to drive societal change and empower those least able to access or afford technological advancements.