Sarid Named Director of the UA Optical Data Storage Center

Feb. 6, 2002
Optical Sciences Center Professor Dror Sarid has been named to the Directorship of the Optical Data Storage Center, an innovative university/industry research cooperative. Dr. Sarid succeeds Professor Glenn Sincerbox, who retired at the close of 2001 after many years of dedicated service to the Optical Sciences Center and a very distinguished career

Optical Sciences Center Professor Dror Sarid has been named to the Directorship of the Optical Data Storage Center, an innovative university/industry research cooperative. Dr. Sarid succeeds Professor Glenn Sincerbox, who retired at the close of 2001 after many years of dedicated service to the Optical Sciences Center and a very distinguished career.

Dr. Sarid was appointed to the ODSC Directorship by James C. Wyant, Director of the University of Arizona's Optical Sciences Center. He said, "It is a great honor to have Dror Sarid, a world-class scientist and talented administrator, assume the directorship of the Optical Data Storage Center and I am confident that ODSC will continue to thrive under his able leadership."

Dr. Sarid brings more than 30 years of experience to ODSC, including more than twenty years with the Optical Sciences Center. He holds a joint appointment with the Arizona Research Laboratory, is the author of three books and more than 150 articles in the fields of light scattering, surface acoustic waves, optical waveguides, semiconductor nonlinearities, long-range surface-plasmons, magneto-plasmons and magnetics, biexcitons, data storage, scanning tunneling microscopy, and atomic force microscopy.

Supported by a generous grant from EMC Corporation, an ODSC industrial sponsor, Dr. Sarid and his students are currently researching one of the "holy grails" of nanotechnology: the application of scanning probe microscopy to data storage. Using a tapping mode atomic force microscope with a conducting cantilever, they have obtained reproducible tip-sample interactions in which current density pulses were injected into conducting samples (Science Magazine Editor's Choice). Their next step is to extend their work to commercial conducting cantilevers under controlled conditions to gain a better understanding of tip-sample interactions and realize faster tapping rates. Dr. Sarid said the techniques may be important for MEMS-based data storage (dubbed "Millipede" by IBM) by utilizing an injection of current pulses to affect phase change by Joule heating or magnetic switching by spin-polarized electrons.

Dr. Sarid may be best known for his pioneering research depicting the intramolecular structure of single buckyballs in 1996 and featured in a one-hour BBC presentation of the Nova television show. He obtained the first scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy images of single- and multi-shell buckytubes in 1993. In 1988, he demonstrated a laser-diode interferometer utilized as an atomic force microscope exhibiting atomic resolution that could also image with high resolution magnetic data and later became a commercial product. In cooperation with scientists at MIT's Media Lab, he generated a hologram of atoms rendered from scanning tunneling microscopy image using the rainbow method in 1987 and in 1979, he engineered a high-efficiency single-prism waveguide input-output coupler. Two years earlier, while he was with Xerox Corporation, Dr. Sarid teamed up with George Stegeman, a faculty member at the University of Toronto who later joined the Optical Sciences Center. Together they produced a demonstration of partial waves of surface acoustic waves using a laser beam.

In addition to his participation in OSC's Optical Data Storage Center, Dr. Sarid has participated in the Optical Circuitry Cooperative, the Center for Microcontamination Control and has served on numerous department and University committees. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and a member of the American Physical Society, New York Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, and is listed in American Men and Women in Science.

He teaches both Opti 501 Electromagnetic Waves and Opti 572 Scanning Probe Microscopies, and is also working on the development of a teaching methodology using computers in the classroom. Recently, he presented his ElectroniClass concepts at the Mathamatica 10th Anniversary Conference.

Dr. Sarid holds seven patents and and has been a consultant to United States Army and numerous companies including IBM, Xerox, Digital Instruments, MER, McAllister, Motorola, Siemens, AT&T, and OptoPower. His OSC research has been supported by the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research, the Strategic Defense Initiative-Ballistic Missile Defense Office, the National Science Foundation, IBM, MER, Digital Instruments, Motorola, EMC, NASA and the President of Caltech.

Since 1985, scientists and faculty members at the Optical Sciences Center's Optical Data Storage Center have been performing cutting-edge research in the field of optical data storage. They are working to develop an increased understanding of storage technologies, they are stimulating industrial innovation, and they are strengthening the Center's educational commitment to industrially relevant science and technology.

ODSC faculty members and their students conduct research into the physics and material science of phase change and magneto-optic recording materials, develop advanced methods for obtaining data, tracking and focus error signals, develop advanced optical head designs involving waveguides and the integration of micro-optic, holographic, and other novel optical elements, and explore the use of nanotechnology for obtaining higher area density data storage.

Laboratory facilities at the Optical Data Storage Center are among the world's best equipped. In state-of-the-art testing and characterization facilities, scientists study recording materials and optical systems design over a wide spectral range and in many form factors. Other research programs relate to data reliability such as recording format, coding, and error-handling. Using unique hardware developed at the Optical Sciences Center, ODSC scientists are characterizing actual error distributions and sophisticated channel models. Faculty members and researchers have also developed extensive diffractive modeling capabilities to propagate wavefronts to and from the disk for the study of optical system design, signal acquisition, and recording margins.

ODSC's rare combination of unique equipment, world-class scientists, talented graduate students, and an innovative research staff, have positioned the Optical Data Storage Center's research results on the leading edge of the industry. Graduates of the program are in demand and fill many key industry positions.

Industrial sponsorship has always been crucial to the success of the Optical Data Storage Center's research programs. ODSC's industrial partners ensure the vitality and relevance of the program's research through the sharing of their vision, semi-annual reviews of the programs, and through suggestions for reallocation of resources.

The Optical Data Storage Center counts some of the world's most innovative companies among its sponsors: DataPlay Corporation, EMC Corporation, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, The Industrial Technology Research Institute, Iomega Corporation, LG Electronics, Inc., Matsushita Electronic Industrial Company, and Seagate are all active participants in the Optical Data Storage Center.

The Optical Sciences Center, at the center of Optics Valley on The University of Arizona campus, is recognized internationally as a world center for cutting edge academic and research programs in optics.

Student enrollment at the Optical Sciences Center includes 150 graduate students in Masters and Doctoral level programs and nearly 80 students in the Bachelor of Science in Optics program. Optical Sciences Center academic programs include more than 75 courses. The Center's academic program goals are first, to provide students with a broad education in all areas of optics and second, to graduate outstanding students with practical experience and highly competitive technical skills.

In addition to teaching, the Center's faculty members initiate research programs in a broad spectrum of areas including quantum optics, semiconductor nonlinear optics, lasers, remote sensing, medical optics, optical data storage, metrology, device fabrication, displays, and imaging. The Center's research programs include consortiums, research centers, and cooperative research programs -- multi-million dollar programs in which optics plays a key roll. Optical Sciences Center faculty members and students work together with scientists, researchers, engineers, and administrators from industry, government, and academia to contribute to the knowledge base that is building the future of high-technology industries.

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