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Electrical & Computer Engineering


OB 456
(256) 824-2523
(256) 824-6803




Physics, Mass. Inst. Of Tech. (MIT), Cambridge, Mass.
Physics (summa cum laude), Principia College, Elsah, IL



Principal investigator for Laser Science and Engineering Laboratory at University of Alabama in Huntsville. Current funding is from NASA, NSF, AFOSR and USRA/BMDO. A current theme is design of lasers for beaming power at multi-megawatt levels from space to earth. One goal is to design lasers capable of handling this level of power for non-military applications that cannot be converted to military use. An experimental theme is examination of the influence of one-dimensional photonic band structures on short optical pulses (100 femtoseconds duration). Applications to optical beam steering are being explored. Experimental work is being carried out using a femtosecond modelocked Ti:sapphire laser and a regenerative amplifier for white light optical pulse generation. The white light optical pulses are used for the measurement of the dynamics of photonic band edge materials. We are also developing simulations of the group delay and phase delay of short pulses propagating through layered semiconductor structures and comparing the experimental observations of the photonic band edge materials with favorable results. We are developing designs for thin disk laser amplifiers intended to intense ultrashort optical pulses at high repetition rate. Work has also been done on harmonically modelocked optical fiber lasers, nonlinear loop modelocked optical fiber lasers, four wave mixing, and pairs of colliding pulse modelocked lasers synchronized and phase locked by nonlinear coupling.

Research Expertise

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Honors & Awards

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Recent Publications

Grant Bergstue and Richard Fork, “ENERGY SUPPORT FOR MISSIONS IN NEAR EARTH SPACE”, IAC-11-D5.1.1, 62nd International Astronautical Congress, Cape Town, SA, October 2011.

Luke Burgess, Richard Fork and Grant Bergstue, BEAMED ENERGY FOR ABLATIVE PROPULSION IN NEAR EARTH SPACE’, 62nd International Astronautical Congress, Cape Town, SA, October 2011.

Luke Burgess, Grant Bergstue, and Richard Fork, “Quantum Energy for Space”, Proceedings of the IEEE, 99, November, 1831-4 (2011)

Richard Fork, “Orbital Debris Mitigation Using Minimum Uncertainty Optical States”, Proceedings of the IEEE 97951-3, June 2009.

Richard Fork, “Mitigation of Orbital Debris Using Minimum Uncertainty States” Proceedings of the IEEE, May 2009.

Richard L. Fork and EE/OPE 451 and EE/OPE 453 students, “Laser Power Beaming Demo- Preliminary Design Review”, Space Power Transmission Workshop Teleconference,  November 6, 2008, (presentation by telcon/transmitted slides).

Richard L. Fork and EE/OPE 451 and EE/OPE 453 students, “Adaptive Network for Power and Information in Near Earth Space”, Space Power Transmission Workshop, Orlando, FL October 1, 2008.

Richard Fork, Nick Cote, Luke Burgess, “White Light Femtosecond Lasers: Defense and Evolving Capability”, September 4, 2008, Sixth Ultrashort Pulse Laser Workshop, Boulder, Colorado.

Richard L. Fork and Nick Cote, “In-Space Laser Power Beaming”, Space Power Transmission Workshop, Glenn Research Center, Cleveland OH, July 31, 2008 (presentation by telcon/transmitted slides).

Richard L. Fork, Spencer T. Cole, Mike L. Davenport, Luke A. Burgess, Douglas M. Ramey III, and Stephen G. Aiken “Employment of Ultrashort Pulses for Directed Energy,” Third Employment of Directed Energy Weapons Conference, 3-7 March 2008, Monterey, California.

Richard L. Fork, Luke A. Burgess, Mike L. Davenport, Douglas M. Ramey, Patrick J. Reardon, David B. Pollock, Robert G. Lindquist, and Donna M. Fork, “Cohering of multiple polariton lasers for sensing applications,” SPIE Defense and Security Conference, Orlando, FL 17-20 March 2008.

Richard L. Fork, Patrick J. Reardon, Mike L. Davenport, Spencer T. Cole, Luke A. Burgess, and S. Gordon Aiken, “Multi-Confocal Paraboloidal Resonator,” Directed Energy Symposium in Huntsville, AL November 7, 2007.

Richard L. Fork, Patrick J. Reardon, Spencer T. Cole, Luke A. Burgess, and S. Gordon Aiken, “Compact Monolithic Terawatt Laser,” Directed Energy Symposium in Huntsville, AL November 7, 2007.

"Converting Sunlight to Coherent Light for Defending Earth and Exploring Space," Richard L. Fork, Rustin L. Laycock, Spencer T. Cole, S. Gordon Aiken, and Blake J. Anderton, Space Technology and Applications International Forum, Feb 11-15, Albuquerque, NM (2007).

"Ultrafast phenomena and technology in relation to detecting, characterizing and mitigating potentially hazardous asteroids," Richard L. Fork, Spencer T. Cole, Blake Anderton and Stephen G. Aiken, Postdeadline poster paper,Ultrafast Phenomena XV Conference, Asilomar, CA, July 31-Aug 4 (2006).

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