Trebino Presented Prism Award

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Society of Photo-Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE), an international society devoted to advancing light-based research, awarded Professor Rick Trebino and his company, Swamp Optics, the 2009 Prism Award in optics for his invention of the “BOA Pulse Compressor.”  Before the BOA, which stands for Bother-free Optimized Arrangement, compressing ultrashort laser pulses (which inconveniently expand as they propagate through optics) required multiple prisms, arranged extremely precisely relative to one another.  If the light source or prisms were off by the tiniest bit or the laser pulse was tuned to a slightly different wavelength, the output pulse would be badly distorted, and the entire device would require a tedious realignment.  Prof. Trebino’s invention uses only one prism, a corner cube, and a roof mirror.  It takes advantage of a clever new design and the extremely accurate manufacturing that occurs for corner cubes, which reflect a beam back essentially perfectly parallel to the beam incident on them.  As a result, the elegant device is automatically aligned and yields distortion-free pulses.  For further information, go to