Dr. Marcos Dantus is the founder and chief technology officer of Biophotonic Solutions Inc. (BSI), which seeks to make ultrafast laser technology more practical for scientific, medical, industrial and defense applications. He also is a professor of chemistry and physics at Michigan State University, where he has received the Distinguished Faculty Award and was named Innovator of the Year in 2013.
Dantus has more than 180 publications, 43 invention disclosures and 17 issued (10 pending) patents related to the characterization, compression and applications of ultrashort shaped laser pulses in the areas of nonlinear optics, communications, biomedical imaging and analytical chemistry instruments. He has started two companies, including BSI.
He earned his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from Brandeis University in 1985 and his doctorate in chemistry from Caltech in 1991. His research interests include the development of photonic reagents for probing and sensing; control of nonlinear laser-matter interactions; and biomedical imaging. He has received several awards, including the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, the Beckman Young Investigator Award, the General Electric Foundation Award and the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education.
Dantus was the 2010 president of the OSA chapter in Ann Arbor, Mich., and currently serves on the board of advisers for Chemical Physics Letters and on the editorial board of the Journal of Raman Spectroscopy.
BioPhotonics caught up with Dantus last autumn.
Q: What is your company working on right now?
Dantus: We have been dedicated to compressing femtosecond pulses down to single digits with a concentration on the research market. We plan to continue these efforts with new innovations in hardware and software. We are also expanding our focus to include the compression of picosecond lasers into the femtosecond regime. The goal is to take a compact picosecond laser source and to convert it into a state-of-the-art femtosecond laser capable of automatic optimization.
Q: What are the implications of this project/work?
Dantus: Femtosecond lasers are beginning to enter large-scale implementation in ophthalmic applications and in material processing. The traditional approach to building femtosecond lasers results in expensive units that require manual optimization. The successful implementation of our technology will lead to compact, highly efficient and cost-effective femtosecond laser sources that are scalable. Scalability is what allows the price of a product to decrease when sales increase by orders of magnitude.
Q: What’s the next step?
Dantus: We are at an early stage of discussions with laser manufacturers to develop a laser with our technology integrated into their system. Our goal is to have an agreement in place by 2014.