Robert R. Alfano
— Distinguished Professor of the Department of Science and Engineering
City College and Graduate School, City University of New York

— Ph.D., Physics, New York University, 1972
— M.S., Physics, Fairleigh Dickinson University 1964
— B.S., Physics, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1963

Career Highlights:
Alfano has published over 600 articles in refereed journals and holds 84 patents. He began his professional career as a research physicist at GTE Research Labs in Bayside, N.Y. in 1964. He joined City College of New York in 1972 as an associate professor, and continued to work for GTE as a visiting scientist until 1974. That same year, Alfano was named director of the university's Picosecond Laser and Spectroscopy Lab, and four years later, CUNY named him a full professor of physics. In 1983, he was promoted to Herbert Kayser Professor of Electrical Engineering, a position he held until 1987, when he was named a distinguished professor. Alfano has served as director of the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers since 1982 and director of the New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Ultrafast Photonics since 1993.

Four organizations have named Alfano a Fellow: IEEE in 2001, the Optical Society of America in 1989, the American Physical Society in 1976, and the A.P. Sloan Foundation in 1974. Other recognitions he has received include the Coherent Lifetime Achievement Award in Biophotonics from the Coherent Radiation Corporation in 2002, the 1991 Leonardo DaVinci Award and the 1983 Outstanding Italian-American Award for Science from the Italian Heritage and Cultural Committee of New York, and the Research Corporation Award in 1974.

Research Areas:
Alfano is a pioneer in the application of light and photonics technology to the study of ultrafast laser spectroscopy and biomedical systems, as well as a leading inventor of novel light sources. His research has encompassed the study of ultrafast dynamics of elementary excitations (phonons, spins, carriers, and excitons) in matter; development of novel light sources and tunable solid-state lasers; investigation of nonlinear optical processes; study of photon migration in turbid media; development of optical imaging techniques for biomedical imaging and imaging through obscuring media; and optical communications.

His achievements include the discovery of the ultrafast supercontinuum light source (white-light continuum), first time-resolved measurement of optical phonon lifetime in a calcite crystal, invention of tetravalent chromium-based tunable solid-state lasers, and development of optical biomedical imaging and spectroscopic diagnostic techniques. Alfano's innovative application of fluorescence, excitation, and Raman spectroscopic techniques for distinguishing between normal and cancerous tissues and between benign and normal tumors opened up the field of optical biopsy. His seminal contributions in fundamentals of light propagation in turbid media led to the development of different gating techniques for sorting out image bearing photons for direct imaging of structures within biological tissues.

Alfano introduced the terms ballistic and snake photons, and is a leader in the development of novel techniques for sorting out these image-bearing photons for direct shadowgram imaging. He also leads a major effort dedicated to the development of 3-D inverse image reconstruction techniques using a sequence of time-resolved 2-D images for optical mammography applications.

Selected Publications:
S.K. Zhang, W.B. Wang, F. Yun, L. He, H. Morkoc, X. Zhou, M. Tamargo, and R.R. Alfano, "Back-Illuminated Ultraviolet Photodetector Based on GaN/A/GaN Multiple Quantum Wells," Applied Physics Letters, submitted March 2002.

O.Y. Raisky, W.B. Wang, R.R. Alfano, and C.L. Reynolds, "Carrier Screening Effects in Photoluminescence Spectra of InGaAsP/InP Multiple Quantum Well Photovoltaic Structure," Applied Physics Letters, 79, 3, (2001).

A.B. Bykov, V. Petricevic, J. Steiner, D. Yao, L. Isaac, M. Kokta, and R.R. Alfano, "Flux Growth and Characterization of Cr4:Ca2GeO4 Crystal as a New Near-Infrared Tunable Laser Material," Journal of Crystal Growth, 211, 295, (2000).

P. Sujatha Devi, H.D. Gafrey, V. Petricevic, R.R. Alfano, D. He, and K.E. Miyano, "Sol-Gel Syntheses and Spectroscopic Characterization of Chromium-Doped Silicates and Germanates," Chemistry of Materials, 12, 1378, (2000).

J. Ali, W. Wang, P. Ho, and R.R. Alfano, "Detection of Corrosion Beneath Paint by Use of Spectral Polarization Optical Imaging," Optics Letters, 25, 1303, (2000).

J. Ying, F. Liu, P. Ho, R. Alfano, "Nondestructive Evaluation of Incipient Corrosion in a Metal Beneath Paint by Second Harmonic Tomography," Optics Letters, 25, 1189, (2000).

S.G. Demos, D.M. Calistru, S. Owen, A.B. Bykov, V. Petricevic, and R.R. Alfano, "Primary Decay Pathway of a Local Mode of a Photoexcited Ion into a Dieelectric Crystal Host Lattice," Physical Review Letters, 82, 2556, (1999).

O.Y. Raisky, W.B. Wang, R.R. Alfano, C.L. Reynolds, D.V. Stampone, and M.W. Foct, "InGaAsP/InP Multiple Quantum Well Solar Cell Structures," Journal of Applied Physics, 84, 5790, (1998).

Contact Information:
Robert R. Alfano
Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers
City University of New York
New York, N.Y. 10031
(212) 650-5531

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