Another Wavelength: Jason Meyer

    Date Posted: 
    Tuesday, March 16, 2021

    This month in Another Wavelength, we chat with Ph.D. Student Jason Meyer who is preparing to graduate this semester. Jason is advised by Dr. Mahmoud Fallahi.

    Where are you from? 

    I'm a native of Tucson, AZ!

    What brought you to study optics? 

    I was taking a basic engineering class at Pima Community College when a group of students from OSC did an outreach event for us. I didn't even know optics was a field until then. After I saw all their cool "toys," I was hooked. Just goes to show how important outreach is!

    Who is your hero in science? 

    Most students tend to point to some significant historical figure as their "science hero." Most of us know who these great names are and their many accomplishments. My science hero is Dr. Anthony Pitucco. He is the former Physics Department Chair of Pima Community College. Nowhere near as well known as the big names in history, but nevertheless had a more meaningful impact on me personally. If you ever sat one of his courses, and didn't immediately drop the course out of sheer terror, you understand how lucky you were to experience the blending of physics and philosophy together from a demanding taskmaster. I'm here because of him.

    Describe your research in 20 words or fewer. 

    I design, construct, and test passively mode locked vertical external cavity surface emitting lasers utilizing intra-cavity second and fourth harmonic generation.

    Describe your research in 200 words or fewer. 

    Ultrafast (<10 ps), high-power (>1 W), high pulse repetition rate (>250 MHz), compact laser sources operating in the deep UV spectral region around ~266 nm are non-existent. What is available is usually very expensive, with a compromise between these parameters. These lasers are in high demand in fields including medicine, chemistry, biology, and defense. However, especially in the academic sphere, budgets rarely allow for purchase of such expensive laser sources. My research focused on developing a novel ultrafast UV vertical external cavity surface emitting laser (VECSEL) that is capable of meeting all these requirements while also being significantly cheaper to build.

    I first demonstrated an optimized W-cavity passively mode locked VECSEL utilizing intracavity second harmonic generation with record-setting performance at ~530 nm. I expanded upon this design and developed a novel overlapping W-cavity VECSEL to demonstrate an ultrafast all-intracavity fourth harmonic generation VECSEL that is stable without any active electronic stabilization equipment. With further development, this type of ultrafast UV laser source could be sold at a fraction of the price of what is currently available on the market.

    Name three neat facts about you. 

    1. I build and fly first-person-view (FPV) drones.
    2. I am a high school dropout. I didn't get my GED until after I passed Vector Calculus in community college when I was 24. Don't let your past failures define your life.
    3. I began playing World of Warcraft in its first month, which also happens to be when I first began community college. Those who know WoW can figure out how long I've now been in college pursuing academic success. It's all about the grind.