Physics Department News Archive

May 18, 2006

Kapplinger Speaks at DAMOP

SIOUX FALLS Jamie Kapplinger, a senior from Spring Grove, Minn., was among five undergraduates who discussed their research at the 37th conference of the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) May 16-20, 2006, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Kapplinger is the son of Kim and Nolie Kapplinger. He majored in physics, chemistry, and biology, graduating with honors in May 2006.

This is the second consecutive year Augustana has been represented at the conference. In 2005, Kelsie Betsch (New Ulm, MN) and Nora Johnson (Dell Rapids, SD) presented separate papers.

Kapplinger was selected from a nationwide competition among students who have done significant research in the area of atomic, molecular, and optical physics. His work is titled, An imaging spectrometer to probe pondermotive-gradient field-ionization. It involves designing a spectrometer that can identify ions which have been highly excited by an intense laser pulse and simultaneously determine their initial location within the focus of the laser.

The spatial resolution of the spectrometer is a few microns (1 micron = 0.001mm). Since the laser intensity varies throughout the focus, atoms at different locations are affected by the laser differently. Most experiments ignore this phenomenon because determining the positions of atoms within the focus is difficult. The new spectrometer design will enable a series of experiments to help understand these spatial affects, and therefore laser-atom interactions on a fundamental level.

DAMOP was founded in 1943 and was the first division of the American Physical Society. Its central focus is fundamental research on atoms, simple molecules, electrons and light, and their interactions. It plays an enabling role underlying many areas of science through the development of methods for the control and manipulation of atoms, molecules, charged particles and light through precision measurements and calculations of their properties, and through the invention of new ways to generate light with specific properties.

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