The principal research activity of the ultrafast microscopy group is
the elucidation of magnetic phenomena at the nanoscale, through the
development and application of advanced measurement techniques. For
example, stroboscopic magneto-optical microscopy provides
spatially-resolved observations of spin dynamics in ferromagnetic
micro- and nanostructures on fundamental (picosecond) time scales.
The fundamental time scales for mechanical dynamics are
size-dependent, and for nanoscale structures these also push into
the picosecond regime. At present (2015), our group is obsessed by
opportunities at the intersection of nanomagnetism, nanomechanics,
and nanophotonics. Mechanical measurements have a storied,
millennia-long history of being among the most sensitive in the
scientist's arsenal. Photons in the near-infrared spectrum hold the
record for detection of ultra-small mechanical displacements
(despite their relatively long wavelengths).
We also strive to expand research-related opportunities for
undergraduates. Our major current initiative in this regard is the Science Hardware
Hackerspace a.k.a. ``the Shack'', which supports student
projects through training in and access to 3D printing, benchtop
small part numerically-controlled machining, do-it-yourself
electronics and open-source coding.