Andrew first came to UAB in the summer of 1998 as a summer intern in the Physics REU (research experiences for undergraduates) program. He credits this experience as being the first opportunity he had to do real scientific research at the university level. After receiving his master’s degree in electrical engineering in 2003 he came to UAB to continue his education in laser physics. Andrew explains, “the original work I performed in 1998 as well as the work environment in Dr. Sergey Mirov's lab convinced me that optics research was what I wanted to concentrate on for my doctoral studies.”
In his research, Andrew examines optical materials to determine if their properties would be suitable as middle infra-red laser light sources. This work entails all of the characterization post manufacture through designing a laser system and testing its characteristics. This work has included many firsts such as the first hot pressed ceramic Cr:ZnSe 2.4um laser, the first electroluminescence from Cr:ZnSe, and the first room temperature Fe:ZnSe laser operating at 4.4um. All of this work is geared toward developing spectroscopic laser sources. Such sources will enable us to develop an "optical nose". This device will be useful to many groups for it's ability to detect trace amounts of substances in the air or exhaled breath. This is needed for medical diagnostic work, as well as homeland security.
During his academic career here at UAB, Andrew received awards for his academic achievements, which include a European Union travel award to participate in the Advanced Solid State Photonics conference in Vienna, Austria in February of 2005, Graduate Student award in physics at both the master’s and doctoral levels in Spring 2005 and Spring 2006, and the NSM Dean's Award in Spring 2006. Other rewarding experiences include presenting his work at international conferences both here in the U.S. and abroad in Russia and Austria.
When asked who has been his biggest influence here at UAB and why, Andrew answered, “Dr. Mirov. Not only was he my graduate advisor but, he possesses an instinct for optics and laser physics. I have learned that if he insists an experiment or laser design will work, it can happen. His drive and enthusiasm have led me to both research and academic levels that I could not have reached with out him.”
What’s Andrew’s advice to for other graduate students? “Take advantage of the time you have as a student. Take all the classes you can and learn as much as possible.”
Andrew received his Ph.D. in physics in December, 2006. He is continuing his research in the COSS center, www.coss.phy.uab.edu, here at UAB until his wife completes her degree in dentistry.