Phone: 406-994-6156
Fax: 406-994-4452
Barnard Hall (EPS) Room 210, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

Related Links:
OpTeC - The Optical Technology Center
My Web Page
Spectrum Lab
Curriculum Vitae


Selected Honors, Awards, and Public Outreach/Service:

MSU Recognition of Research, Creativity, and Contributions to Economic Development – Partnership with S2 Corporation, Oct 18, 2006.
Charles and Nora L. Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research and Creativity, 2002.

Biographical Sketch:


  • B.S. in Physics, 1982 Stanford University
  • Ph.D. in Physics, 1987 Harvard University


  • 1997-present: Professor (2003- present), Associate Professor (1997-2003), Department of Physics, Montana State University
  • 2009-present: Senior S2 Technology Specialist, S2 Corporatio
  • 2002-2010: Director, The Spectrum Lab, Montana State University
  • 1993-1997: Research Associate Professor (1997), Research Assistant Professor (1993-1997), Department of Electrical Engineering, The University of Washington
  • 1987-1993: Research Scientist, High Technology Center, The Boeing Company

Research Interests:

  • RF Photonics
  • Optical signal processors
  • Coherent transients
  • Persistent spectral holeburning
  • Spectral-spatial holography.

Spatial Spectral Holographic Broadband Microwave Signal Processing:

Spatial-spectral holography combines the spatial storage and processing attributes of volume holography with spectral storage and processing attributes of persistent spectral holeburning. Spatial-spectral holographic (SSH) phenomenon encompasses optical coherent transients, photon echoes, and time-domain spectral holeburning. SSH materials have the ability to record the Fourier transforms of two temporally separated, modulated light beams in a spectral hologram analogous to the manner in which angled beams are recorded in spatial holograms. A SSH material is basically a fully programmable spectral-spatial filter with ultra-high spectral resolution and broad processing bandwidth whose impulse response is dictated by the programming pulses and their temporal shapes and their relative delay and direction. An appropriately programmed material processes incoming broadband optical beams by multiplying their Fourier decomposition by the material's programmed frequency response, resulting in a processed output temporal waveform. SSH materials thus offer an unmatched ability to store, process, and route complex broadband optical signals with precise phase and delay control. 

Selected Publications:

Ten Most Recent Publications:

  1. R. Reibel, C. Harrington, J. Dahl, C. Ostrander, P. Roos, T. Berg, R. Mohan, M. Neifeld, and W. R. Babbitt, “Demonstrations of analog-to-digital conversion using a frequency domain stretched processor,” Optics Express 17, 11281-11286 (2009).
  2. P. A. Roos, R. R. Reibel, T. Berg, B. Kaylor, Z. Barber, W. R. Babbitt, “Ultrabroadband optical chirp linearization for precision metrology applications,” Opt. Let. 34, 3692 (2009).
  3. Zeb W. Barber, Wm. Randall Babbitt, Brant Kaylor, Randy R. Reibel, and Peter A. Roos, “Accuracy of active chirp linearization for broadband frequency modulated continuous wave ladar,” Appl. Opt. 49, 213-219 (2010).
  4. Z. W. Barber, C. Renner, R. R. Reibel, S. S. Wagemann, W. R. Babbitt, and P. A. Roos, “Conditions for highly efficient anti-Stokes conversion in gas-filled hollow core waveguides,” Optics Express, 18, 7131-7137 (2010).
  5. Z. W. Barber, C. Harrington, C. W. Thiel, W. R. Babbitt, and R. Krishna Mohan, “Angle of Arrival Estimation Using Spectral Interferometry”, J. Lum. 130, 1614-1618 (2010).
  6. C. W. Thiel, R. M. Macfarlane, T. Bottger, Y. Sun, R. L. Cone, W. R. Babbitt, “Optical decoherence and persistent spectral holeburning in Er3+:LiNbO3,” J. Lum. 130, 1603-1609 (2010).
  7. C. W. Thiel, Y. Sun, T. Bottger, W. R. Babbitt, R. L. Cone, ”Optical decoherence and persistent spectral holeburning in Tm3+:LiNbO3,” J. Lum. 130, 1598-1602 (2010).
  8. W. R. Babbitt, Z. W. Barber, and C. Renner, “Compressive laser ranging,” Optics Letters 34, 4794-4796 (2011).
  9. M. Tian, T. Chang, K. M. Merkel, and W. R. Babbitt,  “Reconfiguration of spectral absorption features using a frequency-chirped laser pulse,” Applied Optics 50, 6548-6554 (2011).
  10. C. W. Thiel, W. R. Babbitt, R. L. Cone, “Optical decoherence studies of yttrium oxyorthosilicate Y2SiO5 codoped with Er3+ and Eu3+ for optical signal processing and quantum information applications at 1.5 microns,” Phys. Rev. B 85, 174302 (2012).


Current Grants:

  • “Remote Detection of Chemicals Associated with Clandestine Drug Labs” PI: Babbitt, NSF Partners for Innovation (PFI), $600,000, 3/10/2010-2/28/2013.
  •  “Photon Limited Information in High Resolution Laser Ranging.”  PI: Zeb Barber, co-PI W. R. Babbitt, $224,763, DARPA/DSO, 9/30/11 – 9/30/12

Selected Talks:

Five Most Recent Talks:

  • W. R. Babbitt, “Compressive Laser Ranging,” Seminar, Laser Physics Centre, Australian National University, Host: Matthew Sellars, December 6, 2011.
  • W. R. Babbitt, “Compressive Laser Ranging,” Seminar, Optical Computing Systems Center, University of Colorado, Host: Kelvin Wagner, February 10 2012.
  • W. R. Babbitt et al, “Extreme Bandwidth Analyzer/Correlator for Broadband Spectrum Analysis and Direction Finding,” 2012 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT, March 3-10, 2012.
  • W. R. Babbitt, “Broadband Spectrum Analysis and Direction Finding based on Spatial-Spectral Holographic Materials,” Ivan Lorgere Memorial Talk, Laboratoire Aime Cotton, Orsay, France, May 31, 2012.
  • W. R. Babbitt, "Broadband Spectrum Analysis and Direction Finding based on Spatial-Spectral Holographic Materials," Thales Research & Technology, Palaiseau, France, June 11, 2012.

Academic Responsibilities:

Classes being taught by Dr. Babbitt this semester are listed below.

Follow the link to find the online content for the class: