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Dr. Linda J. Olafsen

Faculty - Linda J. Olafsen

Associate Professor

BSB E.326, (254) 710-2541
Dr. Olafsen's Webpage

Associate Professor of Physics


Ph.D. Physics Duke University 1997
M.A. Physics Duke University 1994
A.B. Physics Princeton University 1991

Ph.D. Thesis: “Photoluminescence and Tunneling in GaAs/AlxGa1-xAs Single Quantum Wells.” Supervisor: Stephen W. Teitsworth


2001 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award
1997–1999 National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associateship
1991–1994 Charles Towne Fellowship, Duke University
1991 Allen G. Shenstone Prize for Experimental Physics, Princeton University


Linda Jean Olafsen grew up in Mt. Holly, New Jersey and attended Princeton University for her undergraduate degree in physics. She then went to graduate school in physics at Duke University and received her Ph.D. in 1997. Dr. Olafsen accepted a National Research Council postdoctoral research associateship at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. for two years before taking a faculty position at the University of Kansas in 1999, first as an Assistant Professor, receiving an ONR Young Investigator Award in 2001, and being promoted to Associate Professor in 2005. She joined the faculty at Baylor University as an Associate Professor in 2006 and currently chairs the Book Review Board for the Materials Research Society.

Graduate Students Supervised

Michael R. Santilli, Ph.D., December 2006:
     “Cavity length study of an electrically pumped W-well Laser”
    Current position:  Research Specialist, Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Todd C. McAlpine, Ph.D., August 2006:
    “Cavity Length Study of a Resonantly Pumped W-OPIC Semiconductor Laser”
    Current position:  Assistant Professor of Physics, The University of Findlay

Kristina G. Young, M.S., Summer 2006:
    “Resonant Pump Wavelength Variation in an Optical Pumping Injection Cavity Laser”
    Current position: Ph.D. student in Physics at the University of Houston    

Katherine R. Greene, M.S., May 2004:
    “A Comparative Study of Electrically Pumped and Optically Pumped Mid-Infrared Light Emitting Diodes”
    Current position:  Science writer for MIT Technology Review, San Francisco

Research and Academic Interests

Dr. Olafsen’s research interests are in the development and application of semi-conductor laser devices in the 3 to 5 micron window of the electromagnetic spectrum. Her research activities have led to the development of novel optical characterization of semiconductor devices that are crucial to the cost-effective development of sensors for scientific, military and biological applications, such as continuous glucose monitoring for diabetes. Dr. Olafsen is a member of the American Physical Society, IEEE, Optical Society of America, and the Materials Research Society. In addition to her service on the MRS book review board, she actively travels to Washington, D.C. to take part in Congressional Visits Day, meeting with members of Congress to stress the importance of long-term and well-funded support of basic research. Here at Baylor University, Dr. Olafsen has also been an active participant in the Faculty Partner program, paired as a mentor with one of the CL’s (Community Leaders) in South Russell Residence Hall.

Selected Publications
  1. L. J. Olafsen, L. D. Ice, and B. Ball, “Nonlinear Temperature Dependence of Resonant Pump Wavelengths in Optical Pumping Injection Cavity Lasers,” IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 17, 1453–1459 (2011).
  2. L. J. Olafsen, L. E. Bain, W. W. Bewley, I. Vurgaftman, J. R. Meyer, H. Lee, and R. U. Martinelli, “Room-temperature 4.0-µm broadened optical pumping injection cavity lasers,” Proceedings of the SPIE 7953, 795314 (2011).
  3. L. J. Olafsen and T. C. McAlpine, “Transparency pump intensity and differential gain in resonantly pumped W optical pumping injection cavity lasers,” Journal of Applied Physics 108, 053106 (2010).
  4. J. P. Prineas, J. R. Yager, J. T. Olesberg, S. Seydmohamadi, C. Cao, M. Reddy, C. Coresopoulos, J. L. Hicks, T. F. Boggess, M. Santilli, and L. J. Olafsen, “PIN versus PN homojunctions in GaInAsSb 2.0–2.5 micron mesa photodiodes,” Proceedings of the SPIE 6119, 611903 (2006).
  5. J. T. Olesberg, C. Cao, J. R. Yager, J. P. Prineas, C. Coretsopoulos, M. A. Arnold, L. J. Olafsen, and M. Santilli, “Optical microsensor for continuous gluclose measurements in interstitial fluid,” Proceedings of the SPIE 6094, 609403 (2006).
  6. J. P. Prineas, M. Reddy, J. T. Olesberg, C. Cao, S. Veerasamy, M. E. Flatté, E. Koerperick, T. F. Boggess, M. R. Santilli, and L. J. Olafsen, “Quaternary GaInAsSb 2.0-2.5 micron back-illuminated focal plane array for blood glucose monitoring,” Proceedings of the SPIE, Semiconductor Photodetectors II 5726, 113–121 (2005).
  7. T. C. McAlpine, K. R. Greene, M. R. Santilli, L. J. Olafsen, W. W. Bewley, C. L. Felix, I. Vurgaftman, J. R. Meyer, M. J. Yang, H. Lee, and R. U. Martinelli, “Resonantly pumped optical pumping injection cavity lasers,” Journal of Applied Physics 96, 4751 (2004).
  8. T. C. McAlpine, K. R. Greene, M. R. Santilli, L. J. Olafsen, W. W. Bewley, C. L. Felix, I. Vurgaftman, J. R. Meyer, M. J. Yang, H. Lee, and R. U. Martinelli, “Pump Wavelength Tuning of Optical Pumping Injection Cavity Lasers for Enhancing Mid-Infrared Operation,” Materials Research Society Symposia Proceedings, 799, 211–216 (2004).
  9. S. Cho, Y. Kim, L. J. Olafsen, I. Vurgaftman, A. J. Freeman, G. K. L. Wong, J. R. Meyer, C. A. Hoffman, and J. B. Ketterson, “Large magnetoresistance in post-annealed polycrystalline and epitaxial Bi thin films,” Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 239, 201 (2002).
  10. S. Cho, Y. Kim, S. J. Youn, A. DiVenere, G. K. L. Wong, A. J. Freeman, J. B. Ketterson, L. J. Olafsen, I. Vurgaftman, J. R. Meyer, and C. A. Hoffman, “Artificially ordered Bi/Sb superlattice alloys: Fabrication and transport properties,” Physical Review B 64, 235330 (2001).
  11. S. Cho, Y. Kim, A. J. Freeman, G. K. L.  Wong, J. B. Ketterson, L. J. Olafsen, I. Vurgaftman, J. R. Meyer, and C. A. Hoffman, “Large magnetoresistance in postannealed Bi thin films,” Applied Physics Letters 79, 3651–3653 (2001).
  12. L. J. Olafsen, T. Daniels-Race, R. E. Kendall, and S. W. Teitsworth, “Photoluminescence of n-i-n single quantum well structures under electric field bias,” Superlattices and Microstructures 27(1), 39–51 (2000).
  13. H. Lee, L. J. Olafsen, R. J. Menna, W. W. Bewley, R. U. Martinelli, I. Vurgaftman, D. Z. Garbuzov, C. L. Felix, M. Maiorov, J. R. Meyer, J. C. Connolly, A. R. Sugg, and G. H. Olsen, “Pulsed operation to 300 K of λ = 3.30 μm type-II W quantum well diode laser with broadened waveguide,” Electronics Letters 35, 1743–1745 (1999).
  14. L. J. Olafsen, I. Vurgaftman, W. W. Bewley, C. L. Felix, E. H. Aifer, J. R. Meyer, J. R. Waterman, and W. Mason, “Negative Luminescence from Type-II InAs/GaSb Superlattice Photodiodes,” Applied Physics Letters 74, 2681–2683 (1999).
Books and Book Chapters

  • Progress in Semiconductor Materials V -- Novel Materials and Electronic and Optoelectronic Applications, edited by Linda J. Olafsen, Robert M. Biefeld, Michael C. Wanke, Adam W. Saxler (Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. 891, Warrendale, PA, 2006).
  • L. J. Olafsen, I. Vurgaftman, and J. R. Meyer, “Antimonide Mid-IR Lasers,” for Long-wavelength Infrared Semiconductor Lasers, ed. H. K. Choi (John Wiley, New York, 2004).

Teaching Interests

In addition to the teaching of graduate and undergraduate courses in Quantum Mechanics, Solid State Physics, Optics and Modern Physics, and Introductory General Physics, Dr. Olafsen loves to explore the broader implications of light in science, art, literature, and faith. She has previously explored these topics in freshman Honors tutorials as well as through the self-examination of teaching as scholarship. Dr. Olafsen actively participates as a judge for local science fair competitions and serves as a member of the Laser Electro-Optics Technology and Nanotechnology Advisory Committee in conjunction with TSTC here in Waco, TX.

Courses Taught at Baylor

PHY 1420 - General Physics I
PHY 1420 Honors - Honors General Physics I
PHY 4372 - Introductory Solid State Physics
PHY 5180 - Graduate Physics Colloquium
PHY 5342 - Solid State Physics