The optical revolution in communication is taking place, right now, within your home. 200 years ago it took weeks to transmit information in letters carried by foot, horse, or boat. Today the new transit of information takes place at the speed of light using lasers propagating down shards of glass. We can check our balances, pay our bills, email loved ones, and download movie trailers by simply clicking on a mouse. Our dependence upon fiber optics for communication is illustrated by recent news events: when an underseas fiber optic cable is accidently broken, international communication is affected.

The tremendous increase in the speed of information transfer takes place due to the merging of two sciences: optical physics and materials science - understanding the nature of how light works and the discovery and perfection of glass. We will explore the developments in these two branches of science that have merged at this historic moment.

Speaker Bios

Dr. Christopher A. Ebbers

Dr. Chris Ebbers received his undergraduate physics degree from Northwestern University and his doctorate from the University of California, Davis. A physicist in the NIF and Photon Science directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Chris is currently the manager for the Mercury laser program.  Mercury is a high-energy diode-pumped solid-state laser designed to demonstrate the reliability and scalability of high power lasers for fusion energy research.

In addition, Dr. Ebbers is recognized as an expert in lasers and nonlinear frequency conversion and is the recipient of three R&D 100 awards for the technical development of innovative solid state laser components.  He is an adjunct faculty member at Las Positas College where he teaches courses on optical instrumentation and high power lasers. In addition he has been a mentor and advisor to several graduate students and can be reached at See the NIF Website for further information on Photon Science and Applications or the Mercury Laser system.