Email: rbabbitt@montana.edu
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
Spectrum Lab
Curriculum Vitae


Selected Honors, Awards, and Public Outreach/Service:

- 2010 Outstanding Faculty Colleague (“Hugo Schmidt”) Award, MSU Physics Department

- 2008 recipient of the MSU Meritorious Technology/Science Award

- 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 Corporation
  • 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:

  • Microwave Photonics
  • Optical Signal Processing
  • Spectral-spatial holography
  • Optical Particle Levitation


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:

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).
  11. W. R. Babbitt, Z. W. Barber, S. H. Bekker, M. D. Chase, C. Harrington, K. D. Merkel, R. K. Mohan, T. Sharpe, 
    C. R. Stiffler, A. S. Traxinger, and A. J. Woidtke, “From Spectral Holeburning Memory to Spatial-Spectral Microwave Signal Processing,”  Laser Physics 24 (9), Article 094002   (2014).

  12. W. R. Babbitt; K. M. Drummond; B. M. Kaylor; R. R. Reibel, “Adaptive three-dimensional feature specific imaging,” Opt. Eng. 54(3) 031104 (2015).