A Half Century of Nonlinear Optics

By Robert W. Boyd

The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

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The laser is now fifty years old. The field of nonlinear optics is often taken to have started with the observation of second-harmonic generation by Franken and coworkers in 1961, just one year after the construction of the first working laser. In this talk, we first present a review of the development of the field of nonlinear optics, and we then survey some areas of recent research including quantum imaging and implications of the ability to control the group velocity of light.


Robert Boyd Professor Boyd was born in Buffalo, NY. He received the B.S. degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 and received the Ph.D. degree in Physics in 1977 from the University of California at Berkeley. His Ph.D. thesis was supervised by Professor Charles H. Townes and involved the use of nonlinear optical techniques for infrared detection for astronomy. Professor Boyd joined the faculty of the Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester in 1977 is presently the M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics and Professor of Physics.

Professor Boyd research interests include optical physics, nonlinear optical interactions, nonlinear optical properties of materials, and applications of nonlinear optics including quantum and nonlinear optical imaging. Professor Boyd is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America.

He is author of Radiometry and the Detection of Optical Radiation (1983), Nonlinear Optics (1992), is co-editor of Optical Instabilities (1986) and Contemporary Nonlinear Optics (1992). Professor Boyd has published approximately 170 research papers, has been awarded four U.S. patents and has supervised the Ph.D. theses of 16 students.

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Book Cover

Nonlinear Optics

by Robert W. Boyd

Nonlinear optics is the study of the interaction of intense laser light with matter. The third edition of this textbook has been rewritten to conform to the standard SI system of units and includes comprehensively updated material on the latest developments in the field.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Robert W. Boyd (2011), "A Half Century of Nonlinear Optics," http://nanohub.org/resources/10994.

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