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Ted Norris receives Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award

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Ted Norris,  Gérard A. Mourou Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been selected to receive a 2014 Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the U-M Rackham Graduate School.

This award honors senior faculty who have consistently demonstrated outstanding achievements in scholarly research, have a sustained pattern of high quality teaching and mentoring of students and junior colleagues, and have contributed constructively to the University community through service and other professional activities which have brought distinction to themselves and to the University of Michigan.

Prof. Norris is an internationally recognized expert in the field of ultrafast optics. Current areas of focus include ultrafast optoelectronics in graphene, teraherz optoelectronics for 3D imaging and spectroscopy, and ultrafast nanophotonics.

Prof. Norris’ first major achievements upon coming to Michigan were the creation of two Ti:sapphire regenerative amplifiers, both of which broke ground in the field, and now serve as the backbone of hundreds of laboratories around the world involved in ultrafast optics research. These lasers greatly increased the repetition rate of ultrafast amplified lasers, enabling fine measurements not previously possible and the efficient generation of short pulses at new wavelengths.

Many of Prof. Norris’ contributions are at the level of discovery and elucidation of what can or can’t be done with some of the newest materials and nanostructures being discovered. For example, his measurements on newly-discovered quantum dot structures in the 1980’s lead to the first operating quantum dot lasers. He has provided definitive understanding of why electrons lose energy in certain nanostructures, which led to the development of the highest performing quantum dot laser achieved.

In 2010, he was part of a team of researchers that answered fundamental questions about the behavior of short pulses in Quantum Cascade Lasers, enabling further development of the technology by other researchers. And most recently, his group has been pioneering the study of the ultrafast electronic properties of graphene, a promising new material for next-generation electronics.

A leader in interdisciplinary research, Prof. Norris helped lead development of the successful cross-campus interdisciplinary center known as the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences (M-NIMBS). His research in the area of biological imaging and in vivo sensing has applications to cancer detection and therapy. This research led to the startup company Photon Affinity, LLC, which he co-founded.

Prof. Norris is currently director of the Center for Photonic and Multiscale Nanomaterials (C-PHOM), a National Science Foundation Materials Research and Engineering Center that brings together more than 25 faculty from 6 institutions. Prior to this, he was director of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS), which spans several disciplines, from 2006-2011.

A distinguished educator, Prof. Norris received a U-M Distinguished Mentor Award for his work with graduate and undergraduate students, and an Education Excellence Award from the College of Engineering. These recognitions reflect both the care and excellence he brings to his courses, his teaching, and his individual mentoring of students. Undergraduate and graduate students alike love to learn from Prof. Norris, and the students trained in his lab are highly sought after by academia, industry, and the government.

Prof. Norris has published or presented approximately 400 research articles, and graduated 25 Ph.D. students. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society.

Prof. Norris will receive his award at a special ceremony October 6, 2014.

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