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John A. Nees
photo of John A. Nees

Assistant Research Scientist

office : 1012 Gerstacker Building
address : 2200 Bonisteel Blvd. - Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2099
email :
phone : (734)764-9271 or (734)763-4882
fax : (734)763-4876

Research Group : High-Field Technology, Ultrafast Optics

Publications : Reference List (41 listed)

John Nees became interested in science early, Junior High School in science classes. He became interested in the study of light and its interference properties in a high school class which covered holography.

From 1979 through 1983 he studied Physics at Wichita State University and Kansas State University where he worked setting up undergraduate physics laboratories and repairing laboratory equipment. He divided his summers between research at the Physics Department at Kansas State and working as a camp counselor in Colorado.

In 1983 John Nees began working on his Masters in Physics at the University of Rochester, where he participated in the cooperative education program working as an Engineer in Training at United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford Connecticut and then joined the University of Rochester's Ultrafast Group at the Laboratory of Laser Energetics. Here, under the direction of Gérard Mourou and Steven Williamson, John Nees became proficient in ultrafast methods and techniques. He contributed to the development of optical modulators with greater than 1000 GHz bandwidth and was among the first to use external electro-optic sampling probes to measure the internal workings of fast electronic circuits. He invented the total internal reflection probe which eliminated the need for dielectric coating on e-o sampling probes.

The Ultrafast group moved to the University of Michigan in 1988 and here Mr. Nees became leader of the Ultrafast Transducer Group. His current projects have included the development of Ultrafast probes with ultrafine spatial resolution and the development of compact diode pumped lasers for "real-world" ultrafast applications.

At the present, Mr. Nees is the director of the Ultrafast Photon Source at the Universitiy of Michigan. This kilohertz laser provides pulses as short as 20 fs with milijoule pulse energies. Using adaptive optics and high-numerical aperture focusing this laser produces relativistically strong intensity used to explore laser matter interactions.

Throughout his career, John Nees has maintained an interest in sharing the excitement of research in optics. Has been active in setting up demonstrations and experiments for visitors and summer students and has worked with the Ann Arbor Public Schools providing experience based science learning available at all levels of primary and secondary education.

John Nees also has maintained an interest in sharing his Christian faith with international visitors. Since 1990, he has worked with International Fellowship, an organization which offers services such as English Language tutoring, excursions, and introductory classes in Christian faith.

In the course of his research, Mr. Nees has co-authored three patents and many papers. He has also presented his work at numerous meetings on laser, electronics and ultrafast science.

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