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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future Part I Overview This overview is divided into several sections. The context in which the report was prepared is described in the ''Introduction." AMO science touches on the most basic aspects of the physical world. It also makes extensive contributions to societal needs and serves as the underpinning for a number of other areas of science. At a time when society is increasingly interested in understanding the benefits and returns of basic research, this field is able to give an impressive accounting of itself. The nature of the field is described in the next section, "A Basic and Enabling Science." Some of the fundamental questions addressed by AMO science are discussed, and its role in enabling other sciences, applications, and technology is explored. In "Benefits of AMO Science," the field's contributions to scientific and human resources, to economic productivity, to medical science, and to the nation's technological infrastructure are described. "Highlights of Scientific Advances" reviews some of the achievements of the science, including cooling, trapping, and manipulation of individual atoms and molecules and measurements of the course of chemical reactions as they occur. The U.S. research program in this field is described in the next section. Two priority areas identified by the panel are discussed: control and manipulation of atoms, molecules, charged particles, and light, and the development of new light sources. The case is made that support of the basic research program will continue to yield rich dividends in such areas as economic competitiveness, health care, energy, the environment, and others. The final section of the overview outlines the findings and recommendations of the study panel.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future INTRODUCTION Increasingly, society is asking for greater accountability from scientists and evidence of a return on its investment in scientific research. Assembled to assess the field of atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) science in that context, the Panel on Future Opportunities in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Sciences was charged, among other things, to review advances of the last decade; determine requirements of the field in the context of national needs such as those related to industrial and technological competitiveness, human health and welfare, environment, defense, energy, and education; establish research and educational priorities from various perspectives; and identify scientific forefronts, technological opportunities, and windows of future opportunity. As demonstrated in this report, AMO science is a diverse field whose impact on national needs and priorities is substantial. The panel estimates that AMO science is an important enabling factor in industries accounting for about 9% of the nation's GNP. Overall, the products of AMO science influence over 20% of the GNP (U.S. Industrial Outlook 1992: Business Forecasts for 350 Industries, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1992). Indeed, the field is so broad and intersects so many other fields of science and engineering that comprehensive coverage is impractical. For the purposes of this report, a circumscribed definition of the field has been adopted. Developing a general rule to limit coverage has not been easy, and occasionally the panel has put aside the rule to better inform the reader of the applications and impacts of AMO science. Atomic science encompasses the study of atoms and their ions, including their structure and properties; optical interactions; and collisions and interactions with electrons, external fields, and solids and surfaces. It is the test bed for the most fundamental laws of science. Topics of interest include fundamental laws and symmetries; cavity electrodynamics; transient states of atomic systems and collision dynamics; highly perturbed atoms; cooling and trapping; atom interferometry; and interactions with surfaces. Molecular science is also a diverse field that spans a broad range of research areas and applications, including most of chemistry and significant portions of biology. To narrow the focus for purposes of this report, the panel defines molecular science as the study of molecules, clusters, and molecular ions, including their structure and properties, optical interactions, collisions, and interactions with electrons, external fields, and solids and surfaces. The report emphasizes, in particular, molecular interactions at the quantum state resolved level; ultrafast phenomena in molecules; clusters and molecular aggregates; and interactions with surfaces. All areas can point to important accomplishments with broad impacts, and, characteristic of AMO science, they interact strongly with each other.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future Optical science has become an integral part of many disciplines, ranging from biology to astronomy, and has found application in key economic segments from medicine to telecommunications. However, it is not possible to cover all the diverse aspects of the optical sciences in a report that also covers atomic and molecular science. Because one of the key advances in this century has been the invention of the laser, the panel limits this report to those optical science areas that are closely related to the laser and its applications. These areas have been the subject of the International Quantum Electronics Conferences since they began in 1967 and, more recently, the Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conferences, which have been held yearly since 1989. Hence, this report focuses on the topics that are within the purview of these conferences and adopts a definition of optical science that includes only the following subjects: laser spectroscopy; nonlinear optical phenomena; quantum optics; optical interactions with condensed matter; ultrafast optics; and coherent light sources. Although this definition provides a focus for this report and encompasses many of the exciting topics in this field, it does not include many equally important areas of optical science. In what might be called "classical optics," for example, advances in the design of lenses for lithography have been essential to improvements in integrated circuit technology. Indeed, optical instruments of all kinds are routinely used in virtually every aspect of modern life. Many other areas of optics, including vision, imaging science, atmospheric optics, and binary optics, are also not considered here. These areas would be more appropriately addressed in a broader study of optical science and engineering. The focus of the study and this report is on basic, or in-depth, research, whether supported with a strategic objective in mind or simply because of its intellectual excitement. Some of the examples chosen by the panel include applied research and development in order to show the ultimate application of AMO science in a variety of areas and to demonstrate that basic research was a necessary precursor of these applications. Thus, making a precise distinction between basic and applied research in each case is not important. The present study emphasizes advances and opportunities in AMO science and its applications to national needs; human resources and funding in the field; recommendations, including priorities; and the results of a survey of the AMO science community. The report also briefly discusses the infrastructure in which AMO science is conducted and makes limited comparisons with efforts in other countries. A BASIC AND ENABLING SCIENCE AMO science is simultaneously a basic and an enabling science that answers questions about the behavior of matter and energy in atomic and molecular systems that we can precisely probe, control, and manipulate. It focuses on the common building blocks of the world around us, that is, atoms, molecules, and
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future light, and on phenomena that occur in the ranges of temperature and energy that are characteristic of daily human activities. As a basic science, AMO research provides answers to fundamental questions about the physical world and accurate tests of basic physical theories such as quantum electrodynamics, quantum measurement, relativity, electroweak interaction, time reversal, and the invariance of the combined operations of charge conjugation, parity inversion, and time reversal (CPT). In its enabling role, AMO science has, throughout its extensive history, contributed to the technological strength and knowledge base of the nation. In recent years, the field has continued to grow in excitement and activity, fueled by the discovery of new phenomena and the widespread practical application of the science, all of which have been facilitated by the development of new experimental, theoretical, and computational tools. The rapid pace of new discoveries and developments in AMO science can be attributed to the continued invention and implementation of new techniques to control and manipulate atoms, molecules, and light and to generate light with well-defined characteristics. These, in turn, permit new measurements of natural phenomena. The theme of control, manipulation, and measurement that so well characterizes AMO science underscores the impact of the field, because these capabilities have important applications in all branches of science, engineering, and technology. The world's most accurate measurements occur in AMO science, because time and frequency, which are the most accurately measurable physical quantities, fall primarily in the AMO domain. The quest of AMO scientists for improved measurement techniques and accuracy has resulted in inventive new instrumentation, including new sources of light, and technologies that find application in areas ranging from industrial manufacturing, new materials, and processing to medicine and environmental monitoring. BENEFITS OF AMO SCIENCE The goal of the U.S. program in AMO science is to improve the nation's Scientific and human resources, by advancing basic scientific knowledge through invention or discovery of new technologies and through measurement and calculation of the properties of atoms, molecules, and light and by contributing to science education; Economic productivity, competitive position, and security, through research leading to new materials and processes, to new manufacturing, information, medical, and other technologies and methodologies, and to strategically important physical data on AMO systems; and Technological infrastructure, through the development and application of new instrumentation, new experimental and computational methods and systems, and expanded databases.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future The societal benefits of AMO science can best be illustrated with a few examples. A more detailed discussion is given in Part II of this report, "Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: Today and Tomorrow." Understanding global change and the impact of human activities on the environment requires reliable models of chemical and physical responses of the atmosphere to radiation from the sun that are based on AMO science and utilize the basic information about the properties and behavior of atoms, ions, and molecules as they interact with light and with one another in the atmosphere or hydrosphere. Laser techniques, including laser-radar (LIDAR), are employed for testing as well as providing empirical data for the models. Laser technology is used to monitor emissions, effluent, and toxic waste environments. The commanding international currency is energy. AMO science is important to essentially every aspect of energy production and has long played a vital role in the development of advanced energy systems. Its importance will only increase as the nation moves toward more efficient and cleaner energy sources. AMO science is one of the keys to optimization of combustion, solar, fission, and fusion energy systems and lighting efficiency. Information on energy transfer processes involving collisions of electrons with ions, atoms, and molecules and collisions of ions, atoms, and molecules with one another and with surfaces is critical in many applications. Weapons guidance, detection of intrusion by hostile weaponry, monitoring of possible poison gases, and design and analysis of the effects of weapons depend on input from AMO science, illustrating that the contributions of AMO science to national defense and security have been substantial and will continue to play a vital role as new optical technologies are introduced and as simulations of warfare scenarios become increasingly important. AMO science will be a major element in the sensing technology necessary for monitoring compliance with arms limitation agreements in an increasingly complex geopolitical scene. Communications technology has, in the past two decades, been revolutionized through the use of fiber optics. Indeed, the vision of what lies ahead in this area is so expansive that one may say that the revolution has just begun. The improvement in the quality of optical fibers and the discovery, development, and application of the semiconductor diode laser have been a joint triumph of solid-state, AMO, and materials science. Almost invisible to the user, this technology allows the inexpensive delivery of information for government, commerce, industry, and academe over great distances, at high speeds, and in large volume. Future advances in AMO science and technology will allow even greater fiber bandwidth and flexibility of network connection, resulting in "on-demand" access to a vast, worldwide storehouse of information, including high-resolution video. In computer technology, AMO science has had an impact through the optical storage of information on CD-ROMs and the computer-to-computer links provided by fiber optics. In the future, it is likely that optics, because of its
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future speed, freedom from interference, and design advantages, will play an important role inside computers, by providing links from circuit board to circuit board and from chip to chip. In the commercial marketplace, CD laser music players and laser video disks as well as supermarket laser checkout devices have, in only a few years, become commonplace in our lives. Advanced manufacturing methods depend on AMO science. The use of lasers to cut, weld, drill, mark, and trim materials is widespread today. Chemical and optical sensors are essential in process control, and measurements based in AMO science are essential to quality control. Knowledge and control of atomic and molecular processes occurring in plasma processing of materials used in electronic chip manufacture and in the aerospace, automotive, steel, biomedical, and toxic waste management industries help in the effectiveness and efficiency of those operations. The world's measurement standards are primarily based in AMO science, and a large fraction of modern measurement methodologies and instruments originate in AMO science. Accurate and precisely interrelated measurements are essential to equity in trade, quality control in manufacture, access to the global marketplace, and the progress of science itself. Efforts toward providing better measurements and the benefits that follow are continuously progressing. Medical science and technology have benefited from AMO science in a variety of ways. Molecular physics and chemistry have traditionally played an important role in the understanding of chemical bonding, biomolecular structures, and the dynamics of energy transfer in biological molecules. Supporting this role are tools provided by AMO science, such as excitation, Raman, and ultrafast (short time duration) spectroscopy. Ultrafast optical spectroscopy techniques developed in the last 20 years have begun to unravel primary photophysical events in biological systems. They have probed visual pigment isomerization, electron transfer at the photosynthetic reaction center, and ligand binding in hemoglobin. All of these measurements address questions at the heart of molecular biology. Looking ahead, it has been found recently that buckminster-fullerence (C60) molecules, or "buckyballs," a recent discovery of AMO science, neutralize a large area of the HIV virus, thus introducing the possibility that this new particle may help in the battle against AIDS. Medicine also has benefited from AMO science in terms of the application of image science and technology to visualization of the body and its diseases and the use of laser radiation as a tool to modify microscopic cells and macroscopic tissue. In the latter area, laser radiation has been used to clear coronary arteries and break up kidney and gall bladder stones, and for retinal welding, corneal sculpting, and photochemical release of oxygen from chromophores attached to cancer cells. When combined with optical fibers, lasers allow minimally invasive surgery with smaller incisions that result in less danger and quicker recovery. Laser radiation has several uses in clinical practice, while other promising uses require further research and clinical trials.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future Technologies arising from AMO science promise to improve the safety, speed, and efficiency of transportation systems. In aviation, AMO science is contributing to the development of systems to detect wind shear/clear air turbulence and wake vortices. The Global Positioning System (GPS), which is based on atomic clocks, is an important practical application of AMO science. Developed originally for the military, inexpensive commercial receivers are now becoming readily available, allowing the technology to be used for commercial and recreational purposes. HIGHLIGHTS OF SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES The examples of direct benefits of AMO science to society described in the previous section are follow-ons of basic, in-depth research. The past decade represents a period in which the excitement accompanying fundamental advances in AMO science has been extraordinarily high, as it is today. Because of its diversity, AMO science has many "cutting edges" along which the science advances, as well as many interfaces with other fields of science, engineering, and applications. The list of Nobel Prizes given for work in AMO science, presented in Appendix A, helps illustrate the point. On the basis of past experience, one can expect that many of these scientific advances will one day lead to applications. In this section, brief descriptions are given of a few examples. Again, the reader is referred to Part II of this report for a more detailed discussion and other examples. Atomic particles, trapped in various combinations of magneto-optical traps, have been cooled to temperatures of the order of one-millionth degree above absolute zero—perhaps the lowest temperature in the universe, and certainly the lowest ever achieved on Earth—allowing demonstration of atom interferometers. AMO scientists have discovered new, exotic forms of matter, the best known of which is, perhaps, the "buckyball." This is a member of a class of new carbon compounds referred to as fullerenes, which also include carbon "nanotubes." Progress in this area is rapid, and new related materials, including high-temperature superconductors, are being actively pursued. Real-time measurements of atomic motions within a molecule have now been made, thus allowing detailed study of chemical reactions and how energy is transferred from one part of a molecule to another. Also discussed in Part II of this report are advances in cavity electrodynamics and micromasers, highly perturbed atoms, chaos in atoms and molecules, collisions and transient states of atomic systems, nonlinear optics, surface interactions, and other topics. The fact that AMO science is an enabling science to other fields—astrophysics, space science, atmospheric and environmental science, biosciences, plasma science, nuclear physics, and surface science—is also emphasized there, and examples are discussed.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future Already, some of the more recent basic research results mentioned above are being vigorously pursued for their possible applications. For example: Atom trapping and cooling have been extended to make "optical tweezers" that have been developed into a commercial product and used in biological studies to manipulate bacteria, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and other molecules of life. These tweezers will likely be invaluable in the Human Genome Project. Carbon nanotubes are being grown in longer and longer lengths, and speculation is that they may reach centimeter lengths. They could be the strongest fibers known, and the electrical and structural materials possibilities could be substantial. The ability to monitor chemical reactions as they occur and to selectively input energy to the reactants holds the promise of controlling chemical reactions and tailoring their outcome to achieve specific products. These examples are not exhaustive, but they illustrate what has always been true about science, that basic research of an exploratory nature often opens up new applications of benefit to society in unexpected ways. At the same time, there are important areas of research (basic as well as applied) that are directed toward specific applications. For example, in the case of energy or the environment, it is necessary to have a large amount of information, including reliable data, on the properties of atoms, molecules, and charged particles and their interactions with one another and with light and other fields. To obtain such information requires a great deal of research, often requiring the development of new techniques for measurement and observation. Although this is basic research, it is directed toward the goal of dealing with the nation's energy and environmental needs. To cite an example in the area of medicine, further advances in laser surgery may require lasers of particular frequencies and characteristics, necessitating goal-directed research. However, it is vitally important to the field and its future applications to maintain a balance between goal-oriented research and exploratory basic research. THE SCOPE AND SUPPORT OF AMO SCIENCE: THE CORE PROGRAM The foregoing discussion and supporting information in Part II of this report make the case that AMO science produces knowledge and technologies that are of social and economic significance and that such benefits will continue in the future. Before proceeding to detailed findings and recommendations for the field, it is important to examine questions of appropriate size and scope of the U.S. program in AMO science, the current level of financial support for the field, and the way in which that support should be invested. The years since World War II, particularly the post-Sputnik era, saw a large
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future growth in scientific research including the AMO sciences. Large research universities grew larger, and the number of research universities increased and became more geographically dispersed. With this growth came an increase in the number of AMO scientists in universities and colleges; further, large numbers of AMO scientists became engaged in research and development in government and industrially supported laboratories. That growth stopped some time ago and in the case of industry has been reversed. Because of the diversity of AMO science—with its many subfields and intersections with other fields of science and engineering—it is not possible to define, precisely, the size of the AMO science community or the total level of support of the core basic research program. However, the panel estimates that, currently, the U.S. research program in AMO science includes 6,000 to 7,000 PhD researchers. The grant and contract support from federal sources alone for basic research in universities, colleges, and selected federal laboratories exceeds $100M annually, but this is only a fraction of the total; if industrial support and funds provided through the federal research and development laboratories are included, the annual funding level is many times this amount and may approach $1B. The size of the field and total level of funding, in real terms, have not changed significantly in several years. The U.S. core program of basic research in AMO science has developed to its present size and scope largely because of the diversity and importance of applications of AMO science in the areas described above. There is no reason to believe that the products of the field will be any less in demand in the future. Indeed, given the emphasis being placed on technology, maintaining a healthy core program in AMO science will be even more critical. The panel estimates that AMO science is an important enabling factor in products and services amounting to about 9% of the GNP, which suggests that the nation's investment in the field has been economically beneficial. The panel's top priority is maintaining and enhancing responsiveness of the field to national needs by ensuring a healthy, balanced core program of research and education in AMO science. Within the core program, there will always be areas where modest increases in funding can yield enhanced returns. Identification of these areas is best made by the agencies, through merit review of individual proposals and new programs. However, the panel notes that advances in technology have frequently triggered major advances in the science and thus recommends two areas of priority: the control and manipulation of atoms, molecules, macroscopic particles, and light,1 and the invention and development of new sources of light.2 In both of these cases, new technologies as well as new knowledge are likely outcomes. 1 "Control and manipulation" applies to internal states as well as energy, time, momentum, and position and includes the invention and development of methods to enable measurements of atoms, molecules, charged particles, and light at higher resolution. 2 "Invention and development of new sources of light" includes new types of lasers and related optical technologies but is not limited to these systems. The emphasis here is on new ways to produce light with well-defined characteristics—wavelength, power, pulse width, coherence, and other properties.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future In the areas of application of AMO science to national needs, it is understood that mission-oriented government agencies and industry will organize the science in terms of the applications that are envisioned. Basic science can and should be encompassed within such an organization to realize all the potential benefits of AMO science. Without the mission agencies' strong involvement in supporting this field, the U.S. core program would be much weaker, and many applications of the science would have been lost. The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have understood the need for this undergirding support for AMO science and have traditionally supported strong research programs, the products of which have led to applications to their respective missions. As the nation's concerns shift from defense requirements toward civilian needs such as economic competitiveness, national infrastructures, health care, energy, and the environment, it must be recognized that the products of AMO science may be even more valuable to these new goals than they have been to defense. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS During the course of this assessment of AMO science, the panel reached a number of conclusions concerning the vitality, character, and impact of the field and identified a number of concerns. These findings and concerns are presented here, together with the panel's recommendations and statement of priorities, which are intended to ensure that AMO science will continue to provide significant benefits to society. Further justification for these findings and recommendations can be found in Part II of the report. Findings Impact of AMO Science AMO science, a rapidly evolving basic science and a powerful "enabling" science, contributes to the fundamental knowledge base and supports important areas of science, engineering, technology, and applications. The nation's investments in AMO science research and education have yielded substantial economic benefits. The panel estimates that AMO science, through its applications to manufacturing, information technology and communications, semiconductors, and other commercial sectors, is an important enabling factor in industries accounting for about 9% of the nation's GNP. Overall, the products of AMO science influence over 20% of the GNP. AMO science is diverse, and the base of scientific knowledge, methods,
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future and technologies it provides plays a critical role in many areas of science and technology, including applications to industrial and information technology, energy and environment, health, space technology, defense, and transportation. AMO science has much to contribute to the federal strategic initiatives, including those related to advanced materials and processing; advanced manufacturing technology; global change research; high-performance computing and communications; science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education; and biotechnology research. Measurement techniques, sensors, and instrumentation based on AMO science are a central component of advanced manufacturing processes and contribute significantly to enhanced industrial output. They are also important to environmental monitoring, pollution control, and medical diagnostics and monitoring. Students educated and trained in AMO science acquire a broad range of knowledge and skills and are valuable contributors to many areas of science and technology. They are employed by industries that have contributed significantly to recent economic growth in the United States and that are likely to be important in sustaining its economic health. Character of the Field AMO scientists use experimental, theoretical, and computational methods to study matter at the atomic level. Their activities involve the control and manipulation of atoms, molecules, charged particles, and light, the measurement and calculation of their properties, and the generation of light with well-defined characteristics with the overall objective of understanding the structure and dynamics of atoms, ions, molecules, and light and the nature of their interactions. AMO science is ''small" science and is most often carried out by principal investigators and their co-workers in small groups, frequently in collaboration with other scientists and engineers. This scale of research has proved to be an excellent vehicle for creative and innovative science and has spawned notable achievements in the field. Clustering of small groups at "centers" and special facilities is sometimes necessary for interdisciplinary research and research needing special facilities that, for cost or other reasons, are difficult to duplicate. AMO science in universities and colleges and in government laboratories receives support from a range of federal agencies, reflecting the breadth and diversity of the field. Its advancement has been facilitated by the use of merit review to identify and fund the best research projects, resulting in a U.S. program that is, in many areas, the strongest in the world. AMO science is funded at substantial levels in federal research and development laboratories supported by DOE, DOD, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and in industry. The AMO scientists in these laboratories, their
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future knowledge and skills, and their experimental and computational facilities are a vital component of the national AMO science program. Several federal agencies have recognized the need to maintain a healthy AMO community and the importance of basic AMO research to mission objectives. This has resulted in a balanced AMO national program that has a tradition of innovative research, that has achieved a broad and impressive range of strategic goals, and that has trained many highly qualified young scientists. The panel found a strong belief among researchers familiar with foreign laboratories that the United States is falling behind in the quality of instrumentation in its academic research laboratories. Workers in the field indicated that updating of capital equipment continues to be a high priority. AMO science engages about 6,000 to 7,000 active PhD researchers. This number has remained essentially constant over the past decade, although there has been a redistribution of AMO scientists among areas of specialty, with many more scientists working in optical science than in the past. This shift is in part a response to industrial needs. The overall level of activity is adequate to sustain a strong and dynamic program, and there appear to be no compelling reasons for change in the immediate future. Areas of Concern Substantial support for basic AMO scientific research has come from DOD and defense areas of DOE. Despite the demonstrated application of the fruits of AMO research in areas such as medicine, environment, transportation, and commerce, there is a danger that the shift in federal funding from defense could result in serious erosion of basic research in AMO science. Industrial and federally funded laboratories have been an important component of the U.S. research effort in AMO science. Several of these laboratories at this time are undergoing major reorganizations and reductions that could be seriously detrimental to the U.S. program in AMO science. Many important practical applications of AMO science in areas such as remote sensing, atmospheric science and fossil fuel combustion, plasma processing, and medical diagnostics require a database of accurate quantitative measurements and calculations of atomic, molecular, and optical properties. Support for such essential core work in AMO science can be negatively affected in times of limited funding by pressure to support research in more exotic areas. Although the production of new PhDs in AMO science has been approximately constant for a decade, demand is down as it is in other fields and, despite their broad training, many young scientists are unable to find permanent positions. Although the U.S. core program in AMO science is strong, there is concern in the community that the U.S. program is losing ground relative to those in Europe and Japan.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future Recommendations Recommendations on Priorities The first priority is to maintain and enhance responsiveness of AMO science to national needs by assuring the vitality and diversity of the U.S. core program in experimental, theoretical, and computational AMO science in academic institutions, industry, and government. History has shown that many advances in AMO science and in its applications have been triggered by the invention and development of new techniques, instrumentation, and technology, the most notable by the invention of the laser. The second and third priorities focus on this enabling aspect of the field. The second priority is to promote research that promises new technologies through the invention and development of techniques and instrumentation to better control and manipulate atoms, molecules, charged particles, and light for a broad range of applications and for furthering studies of interactions at the atomic and molecular level.3 The third priority is to promote research that promises new and improved lasers and other advanced sources of light for a broad range of applications and for furthering studies of the properties of light and its interaction with atoms and molecules.4 Recommendations for the First Priority To achieve the first priority, the panel recommends several actions. The panel recommends that balanced involvement of the field in both basic and strategic research be maintained through the broad-based support structure that has developed for the field. The panel recommends that the responsiveness and value of the field be further strengthened by developing closer ties with those areas and agencies that benefit and stand to further benefit from AMO science but that have not traditionally had strong links with the field, such as health, transportation, and environment. Institutions and agencies concerned with progress in these areas should also participate in the funding of AMO science. The panel strongly recommends that support for basic research be maintained at least at the current levels. The ability of the field to make innovative 3 Control and manipulation apply to internal states as well as energy, time, momentum, and position and include the invention and development of methods to enable measurements of atoms, molecules, charged particles, and light at higher resolution. 4 New sources of light include new types of lasers and related optical technologies but are not limited to these systems. The emphasis here is on new ways to produce light with well-defined characteristics—wavelength, power, pulse width, coherence, and other properties.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future advances in strategic areas depends strongly on maintaining a healthy level of support for basic research. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized the support for basic research, including that in AMO science, as one of its primary responsibilities. DOD, NIST, and DOE also have maintained reasonable support levels for basic research in AMO science to ensure a flow of ideas and talent into their strategic missions. The panel recommends that specific priorities that guide the support of particular areas of AMO science continue to be based on intrinsic scientific and technical merit as well as on the strategic mission objectives of the agency, industry, or other organization funding the activity. Increased support of a particular area should reflect unusual promise to advance the science and/or its potential application to national needs. Because of the diversity of AMO science and of the areas that benefit, it is impossible to make a single, detailed, linearized list of priorities. The panel recommends that a series of workshops be held, perhaps under the auspices of the National Research Council (NRC), each focusing on the role of AMO science in addressing priorities associated with particular national goals, clarifying and making known the mission objectives to the community, and identifying the most important ways in which the community can respond. Such workshops could be held, for example, in industrial and manufacturing technology, high-performance computing and communications, energy, the environment, and health. The panel recommends that all the federal agencies that fund AMO science actively support and participate in an interagency advisory or coordinating committee to collect and disseminate information about AMO science and its role in federal strategic initiatives and other areas of application and to provide guidance to government, industry, academic institutions, and others in the AMO science community. This committee should work closely with program managers of the federal agencies and should include representatives from a variety of constituencies, including AMO scientists and the end users of the research in industry and government. Such a communications link is particularly important in a diverse field with multiple sources of support and a broad range of end users. This need could be satisfied by expanding the breadth of the membership and activities of the NRC Committee on Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Sciences (CAMOS). The workshops mentioned above could be a major tool of the committee. General Recommendations The panel recommends that the federal agencies emphasize support for single investigators and small groups and rely on merit review for exploratory as well as strategic, goal-oriented basic research. The panel recommends that academic institutions consider making changes
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future in the curricula, degree offerings, and advice they offer to students to make them more aware of and better able to respond to career opportunities and requirements in the many areas that are enabled by AMO science. Achieving this goal could be accomplished in part through greater interaction and cooperative programs with industry and government. Such changes should be designed to promote the interest of women and minorities in AMO science and increase their representation in the field. These issues, of course, transcend the particular field of AMO science and should properly be addressed more broadly. Given the narrow definition of optical science adopted in this study, the panel recommends that a more comprehensive assessment of the more broadly defined field of optical science, engineering, and technology be undertaken.5 5 The National Research Council has approved the conduct of a major study of the field of optical science and engineering.
Representative terms from entire chapter: