OSA Rochester Section

Quasioptic Millimeter Wave Probing and Diagnostics of Materials

  • January 13, 2015
  • 7:00 PM
  • UR/LLE East lobby

Quasioptic Millimeter Wave Probing and Diagnostics of Materials


Millimeter waves (MMW) of 10 – 0.3 mm wavelength (30 – 1000 GHz frequency) in the electromagnetic spectrum is ideally suited for materials science research relevant to material analysis in the extreme environments, e.g., high temperature, radioactivity, and biohazard. MMWs are long enough to penetrate optically inaccessible dielectrics, yet short enough to provide useful localized measurements over dimensions that avoid small size issues.  The amplitude, phase, and polarization of MMW signals propagating through dielectrics and reflecting from material boundaries, discontinuities, hybrid/composites, and metallic surfaces can provide comprehensive information on the characteristics of the materials and interfaces.  Real-time measurements would be possible to track material reactions, phase transformations, volumetric changes, and aging.  In addition, the MMW quasi-optic approach would be particularly sensitive to simultaneous characterization of both bulk and surface transformation processes by simultaneous sensitivity to emissivity (phase transitions/corrosion) and dimensional (creep) changes.  Polarization sensitive measurements could unambiguously track anisotropic material characteristics.  An overview of the optical and physical basis, experimental details, and selected results will be presented. Selected applications to nuclear waste glass melts, water-ice freezing dynamics, and nuclear structural materials degradation will be highlighted.


Dr. S. K. Sundaram is an Inamori Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Alfred University (since January 1, 2011).  Before joining Alfred University, he was a Chief Materials Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He joined PNNL after earning his Ph. D. from School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994.  In the past 16 years, he has made major contributions in the areas of millimeter/THz wave science and technology, ultrafast materials science and engineering, non-oxide/multi-scale materials processing, and infrared materials. He has made over 100 technical presentations, contributed to 15 books, edited monographs, and published over 90 peer-reviewed publications. He has also mentored over 50 students (undergraduate/graduate), organized several national and international symposia, and won numerous honors, including four R&D 100 awards, two for millimeter wave technologies in 2001 and 2006, one for multi-scale materials processing in 2008, and one for IncubATRä – Live-cell Monitor in 2010.  IncubATRä technology also has won Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) award for technology transfer in 2011.  He has four patents, one patent application, and several invention disclosures.  He is an elected fellow of the American Association of Advancement of Sciences (2006), American Ceramic Society (2006), and Society of Glass Technology UK (2009) and a Senior Member of The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE, 2012).  He is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), Materials Research Society (MRS), American Society of Metals (ASM), American Physical Society (APS), and Optical Society of America (OSA) and a life member of Indian Ceramic Society and Materials Research Society-India.  He has been inducted in to Keramos, Sigma Xi, and Order of Engineer in 1994, 2000, and 2006, respectively. As an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, he was honored for his "leadership and innovative contributions to a diverse cross-section of materials sciences, particularly new tools for synthesis and characterization of novel materials, diagnostics and nanomaterials”.  He holds Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, since 2007.  He has been an adjunct faculty at School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA (1997-2010).  He is a visiting scientist at Plasma Science and Fusion Center, MIT (since 1998) and has held visiting scholar appointments at Harvard (2002, 2012-) and Princeton (2005).

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