Nicholas G. Usechak
Director of Ultrafast Photonic Devices and Research Laboratory,
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

July 2019

Alumni Focus

Dr. Nicholas Usechak is Director of Ultrafast Photonic Devices and Research Laboratory at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton OH. In addition to his research activities at AFRL, where he runs the Integrated Photonic Circuits team, Dr. Usechak also serves as the federal Program Manager for the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), a ~$612M public-private partnership focused on providing access to integrated photonics and advancing integrated photonics manufacturing capabilities in the U.S., and supports the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at the Department of Defense on a number of programs. He has one patent issued and two additional patents pending, and he has authored or co-authored around 25 peer-reviewed journal papers.

Dr. Usechak received his B.S. degrees with high honors in both electrical engineering and engineering physics from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, in 2000, where he was a Presidential Scholar during the academic year 1999–2000. In 2003 he received an M.S. degree and in 2006 a Ph.D., both in optical engineering, from the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester. At the University of Rochester he conducted his experimental work at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics where he was a Frank J. Horton Fellow. He carried out his doctoral research in mode-locked fiber lasers under the supervision of Professor Govind P. Agrawal and Jonathan D. Zuegel. His research interests include integrated photonic devices and systems, nonlinear optics, fiber lasers, semiconductor lasers, ultrafast optics, high-speed test and measurement, high-power semiconductor lasers, mode-locked lasers, parametric processes, optical clock generation, novel gain media, and diverse waveform generation.

Before joining the Air Force Research Laboratory, he worked for a year at Trumpf Photonics in Cranbury, NJ as a Senior Engineer characterizing high-power semiconductor laser arrays, automating experiments, and modeling the thermal effects of solder interfaces using transient temperature-extraction experiments to ground those models.

Dr. Usechak is a member of the OSA, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, and a Senior Member of the IEEE.