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CLA Faculty Research

Diverse sponsored research activities, an attractive student-to-faculty ratio, and outstanding facilities combine to offer unique learning opportunities.

Research Areas

The CLA’s mission is to conduct research in the application of lasers and associated technology to bio/nanophotonics, materials science, laser materials interaction, energy/power and spectroscopy. These focus areas of specialization were selected to correspond to known areas of scientific and engineering challenges and to areas of development and regional and national needs.

Students or potential collaborators interested in a particular research topic are encouraged to contact our faculty to learn more about current and future opportunities.

Student working in bioengineering lab


  • Devices for cellular chemotaxis
  • Single-molecule detection, spectroscopy, and control; micro/nanofluids
  • Storage phosphor materials for mammography
  • MEMS/NEMS, micro/nano fluidics
Student working on computer in lab

Laser Materials Interaction

  • Laser cladding and femtosecond laser machining
  • Femtosecond laser processing of diamonds and glass devices
  • Laser-based heating of material samples for high-enthalpy flows
  • Laser ablation dynamics and modeling of laser ablation for space propulsion
  • Micro/nano manufacturing multifunctional materials
Student working with materials

Materials Science

  • Phase transformations, laser cladding and modeling of direct metal deposition
  • Glasses and glass ceramics for radiographic imaging and dosimetry
  • Development of glass imaging material
Research intern working with laser

Non-Equilibrium Fluid Physics

  • Diagnostics development for hypersonic flows
  • Plasma physics and combustion
  • Laser-plasma physics, combustion and fluid phenomena and computational modeling
  • Hypersonic flow and reaction
Research student fixing equipment for research



CLA actively collaborates with the Center for Industrial Services to provide studies for Tennessee industries, with numerous national and international universities, and with the nearby Arnold Engineering Development Complex. CLA has also formed long-term research partnerships with regional and national industries.


CLA research programs are sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and other federal agencies.