SELIM Program Overview

The Science and Engineering of Laser Interactions with Matter (SELIM) graduate training program is designed to develop students with an enhanced mastery and appreciation of the knowledge and state-of-the-art technical skills required for rapid advancements in modern science and technology. SELIM is a collaborative venture linking the University of Virginia (UVa), Norfolk State University (NSU), the Free Electron Laser (FEL) Laboratory at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (commonly known as Jefferson Lab or JLAB) and the FEL affiliated industrial Laser Processing Consortium (LPC). Students use the substantial laser resources at UVa and NSU, and our easy access to the world's most powerful FEL at JLAB, in fundamental and problem-oriented research on laser control, examination, and modification of matter, oftentimes under novel regimes of high laser intensity and short pulse duration. SELIM students typically choose a basic science or engineering thesis project that addresses some aspect of a technologically important problem in laser-matter interactions. Through their research, coursework, and frequent interactions with faculty and colleagues, students receive a broad multidisciplinary training in topics ranging from fundamental spectroscopy to current applications of lasers in industry. The universities' multi-user laser facilities provide state-of-the-art equipment and a research culture that fosters collaborative, interdisciplinary research. The UVa/NSU laboratory at the JLAB FEL provides expanded opportunities to conduct National Laboratory class research with unique instrumentation. Familiarity with industrial science is gained through participation in semi-annual Laser Processing Consortium Workshops and opportunities for industrial research collaborations and summer internships. Students develop their communication skills through frequent written and oral presentations at university, regional and national scientific meetings. Ultimately, SELIM students gain unusually broad career skills and perspectives based on their personal experiences with the different scientific cultures, goals, and practices found across academe, national laboratories, and industry.

Entering SELIM students have varying coursework requirements dependent on their discipline because degrees are granted by departments, not the SELIM program. Academic courses particularly appropriate for SELIM students include: Optics, Fundamentals of Photonics, Spectroscopy: From Atoms to Materials, Surface Science, Lasers and Non-linear Optics, Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy, and Quantum Dynamics. Several of these courses are typically taken along with others in the discipline of the student's degree. A professional development course, "Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Ethics", provides students with an overview of global and career issues in science and technology, along with practical opportunities to hone their communication skills through oral and written presentations. See Education for further details.

SELIM research is greatly enhanced by the Universities' extensive ultrafast laser facilities and access to the JLAB free electron laser. These resources are crucial for some SELIM research projects (e.g. controlling/probing intramolecular vibrational energy redistribution (IVR) in molecules using 2 or more colors of ultrafast light) and irrelevant to others (e.g. making a Bose-Einstein condensate with diode lasers for quantum entanglement experiments). Many projects fall somewhere in between such as developing new chiral polymers for non-linear optics in Professor Pu's lab at UVa and characterizing the polymers' non-linear optical activity in Prof. Bonner's ultrafast laser laboratory at NSU. One goal of the SELIM program is to leverage the substantial optical resources in Virginia to solve challenging multidisciplinary problems. The scope of SELIM research is expansively interpreted and students are encouraged to develop new multidisciplinary research projects with several faculty mentors. See Research for further details.

NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) fellowships provide financial support for SELIM fellows in their first two years of study. Subsequent support derives from research faculty mentor(s) and departments. The NSF fellowships are available to students pursuing a M.S. degree from NSU in Materials Science or a Ph.D. degree at UVa in one of six fields: Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Engineering Physics, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Materials Science. See Admissions for further details.