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Robert Willis Hellwarth

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University Professor, George T. Pfleger Chair in Electrical Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering-Electrophysics and Physics


  • 1955, PhD, Physics, Non USA University
  • 1952, Bachelors, Electrical Engineering, Princeton University

Research Summary

Hellwarth, a former Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, witnessed the making of the first laser in 1960 at the Hughes Research Laboratories, where he was a member of the original research group in Malibu. He subsequently became an early and continuing contributor to the new optics spawned by this development and is currently working to understand and create materials for nonlinear optical devices. At USC, Hellwarth developed a new, and now widely employed, method for reversing the lightwave pattern of an optical image, a process called "optical beam phase conjugation,? which has found application in such areas as optical tracking and pointing, spatial and temporal image processing, optical filtering and optical computing. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and holds faculty appointments in the College's physics department and the School of Engineering.


  • - American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow
  • 2009 National Academy Member
  • Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering

  • SSC 329
  • Frank R. Seaver Science Center
  • 920 Bloom Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 484

  • (213) 740-4380

  • hellwart@usc.edu

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