Ann Silversmith


phone: (315)859-4704

fax: (315)859-4807



Ph.D. in physics from the Australian National University, January 1986. Thesis title: "High Resolution Laser Spectroscopy of Trivalent Europium Centers in Crystals".

M.Sc. in physics from the University of Wisconsin, May 1982.

A.B. from Oberlin College, May 1978. Majored in physics. Graduation with high honors.


PROFESSOR (2002-; chair 2004-08, F10), ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR (1995-2002), ASSISTANT PROFESSOR (1989-95), Department of Physics Hamilton College.

Research in the field of laser spectrocopy of solids. Current project involves the synthesis and spectroscopic characterization of rare-earth based sol-gel glasses.

VISITING FELLOW (Jan.1998-May 1998), Laser Physics Center Research School of Physical Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T., 2601, Australia.

Research involving spectroscopy of rare earth doped sol-gel glass, holeburning and optically detected nuclear magnetic resonance of Europium doped fluoride crystals, and laser-induced upconversion in Er:KLiYF5.

VISITING SCIENTIST (Feb. 1986-May 1987) IBM Almaden Research Center 650 Harry Road San Jose, CA 95120-6099.

Research in the field of high resolution holeburning spectroscopy, and research and development of upconversion-pumped lasers.

GRADUATE STUDENT (Sept. 1982-Dec. 1985) Research School of Physical Sciences The Australian National University. Canberra, A.C.T., 2601, Australia.

GRADUATE STUDENT (Sept. 1979-May 1982) Department of Physics University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin 53706.

For more information and photos, follow this link.

Research In Laser Spectroscopy of Rare Earth Based Solids

When I arrived at Hamilton, I concentrated most of my effort on the spectroscopy of upconversion laser materials. I got into this field as a post-doc at IBM. I was a member of the Optical Storage group there that was working on the development of compact blue laser devices. An Upconversion Laser produces laser light at a higher frequency than the pump light - hence the name - and is one possible way of creating a blue laser using readily available infrared diode lasers as excitation sources. Our group at IBM built the first continuous upconversion laser and then developed several more lasers before I left in mid-87. Since then, the field has grown and many groups all over the world are working on upconversion.

For some time now I have been working on synthesis and spectroscopy of Rare Earth doped sol-gel glasses. I collaborate on this project with Karen Brewer in the chemistry department here, Dan Boye from Davidson College, and Kurt Hoffman from Whitman College. Dan has put together a web site where you can read about our students, papers, and presentations. We've had funding from Research Corporation and Petroleum Research Fund to support the project and have had many students make valuable contributions to the work. Dan and I presented posters on RE-based sol-gels at the Dynamic Processes Conferences in Christchurch (2003) and Segovia (2007) and at ICL '08- International Conference on Luminescence - in Lyon, France. Our group presented 3 posters and one talk at DPC '10, held at Argionne National Lab and a poster at ICL '11 in Ann Arbor. We presented 2 posters at ICL '14 in Wroclaw, Poland last summer.

Recent Research Students and their Projects

Courses Taught

Over the years I have taught introductory physics for science majors and pre-meds, Quantum Physics, Classical Mechanics, and have directed senior research projects. Last fall I taught Physics190, our course for entering physics majors.This year I'm returning to Quantum Physics, then in the spring I have a junior-level advanced lab course designed to prepare students for their senior research projects.

Several years ago I taught a sophomore seminar with Ella Gant of the Art Department. It was called Art and Physics of the Image and was a lot of fun.

Publications - since 2000 (* denotes student author)

Physics People