Colloquium: Grover Swartzlander

    Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Meinel 307

    "Solar Sailing: Navigation by Radiation Pressure Torque"


    Although radiation pressure has been known since at least the 1870s, applications are few, owing to the small comparative magnitude of force. Space applications of solar pressure, which predate terrestrial laser-based ones by only a decade, are particularly useful since the forces can be made comparable with the low gravity of outer space. This talk will first review the advantages of solar sailing, and end with a description of how small shaped optical elements may provide novel means of navigating solar sails or to control a large-aperture light-controlled “swarm telescope.”

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Grover Swartzlander is an associate professor at the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a fellow of the Optical Society (OSA) and serves the society in various capacities, including as current editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Optical Society of America B. As a NASA NIAC Fellow, he has served on two teams (Steering of Solar Sails Using Optical Lift Force and Orbiting Rainbows). His research has been cited roughly 2,500 times in areas related to radiation pressure and torque, laser beam propagation phenomena, nonlinear optics, advanced optical coronagraphs and advanced imaging. He has been an educator for over 20 years, at locations including the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York; the University of Arizona in Tucson; and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. After earning a B.S. in physics at Drexel University, he pursued a M.S.E.E. at Purdue University, and from there moved with his advisor to complete his Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University. Before moving to academia, he spent a postdoctoral fellowship at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. In addition to the pleasures of theoretical and experimental research, he finds enjoyment in photography and reading the New York Times.