The Townes Laser Institute

Martin Richardson,
Director, Townes Laser Institute,
Pegasus Professor and University Trustee Chair,
Northrop Grumman Professor of X-Ray Photonics,
Professor of Optics, Physics and EECS


Phone: 407-823-6819

Fax: 407-823-6880

Office: CREOL Building Room 127

Awards & Honors

  • 2007 - Office of Research & Commercialization Millionaire's Club
  • 2006 - Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant
  • 2000 - Teaching Incentive Program (TIP) Award 2000/01
  • 1998 - Professorial Excellence Program (PEP) Award 1998/99


  • Lasers
    • Solid State Lasers
    • Ceramic Lasers
    • EUV & X-ray Lasers
    • High Power Lasers
    • Ultrafast Lasers
  • Fiber Optics
    • Fiber Fabrication Technology
    • Multimaterial Fibers
    • Mid Infrared Fibers
    • Fiber Lasers
  • Integrated Optics & Nanophotonics
    • Periodic Structures & Photonic Crystals
  • Imaging, Sensing & Display
    • X-ray & EUV Technology
    • Infrared Sensors & Systems
    • Millimeter & THz Technology
    • Nonlinear & Quantum Optics
  • Nonlinear Guided Waves & Fibers
    • Nonlinear Optical Materials
    • Nonlinear Optics & Spectroscopy
    • Photosensitive Glasses

Martin C. Richardson - Biography

Martin Richardson graduated from Imperial College, London, in Physics (1964) and gained his Ph.D in Photon Physics from London University in 1967 as the first student to graduate in lasers under the advisement of the late Daniel Bradley. For his thesis he studied the spectral characteristics of laser modes, investigated non-linear optical processes in dense plasmas and developed a new high power dual frequency laser.† †

Although lasers were then still considered Ďa solution looking for a problemí, after the award of the 1964 Nobel Prize to Townes, Prokhorov and Basov for inventing the concept of the laser, many new laser research teams were being created worldwide. Richardson joined one of the first laser groups investigating laser and plasmas in the Division of Gerhardt Herzberg at the National Research Council Laboratories in Ottawa. Mode-locking as a technique for creating ultrashort laser pulses had just been invented, and he was the first to create plasmas in gases by amplified single ultrashort laser pulses.† He stayed at NRC until 1979, making contributions to the development of new lasers, including patents on the discharge-pumped CO2 laser that launched the Lumonics corporation, nonlinear optics, mid-IR laser selective dissociation of molecules, the precursor to laser isotope separation, and the development of ultra-fast optical diagnostics. His work on laser-produced plasmas lead to the creation of the first Canadian team focused on laser fusion. Collaborations with the Lebedev Institute resulted in the development of the picosecond streak camera.† In 1974 Richardson spent five months in the Soviet Union in the laboratories of Alexandr Prokhorov at the Lebedev Institute.

In 1980 he joined the University of Rochester where he worked for nine years as group leader for laser fusion experiments for the then new 24-beam OMEGA laser system at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. He also held an adjunct faculty in the Institute of Optics. While at Rochester he was also involved in x-ray laser and laser-plasma x-ray spectroscopy investigations.

In 1990 he and William Silfvast established the Laser Plasma Laboratory at CREOL, the Center of Research in Electro-Optics & Lasers at UCF, developing research programs in ultrafast laser development, laser-plasma studies, EUV/X-ray lithography and microscopy and laser materials processing.†† These research activities expanded to include femtosecond laser structuring of materials, laser spectroscopy and sensing and high-intensity laser filamentation studies in the atmosphere.† In 2003 he was appointed the Northrop Grumman Professor of X-ray Photonics as part of major $24M donation to UCF. He was made a Trustee Chair of the University in 2006, and appointed as the first and founding director of the Townes Laser Institute in 2007.†

Professor Richardson has throughout his career taken an intense interest in the education of his students. In Canada he introduced schemes through which students from Canadian universities could study for their Ph.Dís at† NRC-Canada.† He directs an NSF International REU program, and has initiated an Atlantis program for students to obtain a international MS degree between UCF and the universities of Bordeaux, Jena and Clemson. Some of his students gain co-tutelle Ph.D degrees with the University of Bordeaux. He is particularly interested in advancing science in under-developed countries, and in enabling equal rights for women through science.

Professor Richardson has held visiting scientific positions at the Max Born Institute in Berlin, the Institute for Laser Engineering (ILE) Osaka University, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, and other institutions in Australia, Canada, France, Qatar and the former Soviet Union. He has published over 400 scientific articles in professional scientific journals, and has presented numerous invited and plenary talks. He holds ~ 20 patents, with several pending and has chaired many international conferences including IQEC, ICHSP, and several SPIE meetings. He is a former Associate Editor of JQE, a recipient of the Schardin Medal, and a Fellow of OSA.