AIO 2016: Focus on Dr. Garrett Cole, Crystalline Mirror Solutions LLC, US

By Dr. Garrett Cole

What do you think people will learn from your talk as a take-home lesson?
I aim to give an overview of the (admittedly short) history of my startup company, Crystalline Mirror Solutions (CMS). The take home messages would be: 1) That fundamental research can produce viable application-driven startups such as CMS and 2) That there are unique opportunities in pursuing the development of seemingly niche high-technology products. Both of these "themes" are unique aspects of CMS.

What do you spend most of your time doing?
Sitting on a plane as I am doing now. Unfortunately my time has become less and less "hands on" and I find myself increasingly outside of the lab. My main focus is on customer development and overseeing our ongoing projects. I guess I am a professional juggler now, trying to push forward as many topics as possible, be they technically focused, marketing related, administrative, etc. I try my best to focus on our core technology and continuing to develop this further as much as possible. At least that is what I would like my priority to be...

When are you most fully yourself?
After a couple of beers, again a lame joke, I have a bad habit of doing that. I guess when I am explaining our technology to others, either at conferences, workshops, seminars etc. in the form of a "formal"  presentation, or even better during face-to-face or one-on-one phone conversations with potential customers or collaborators.

Where would you like to see your research in 5 years?
To be clear I wouldn't use the term "research" here. Changing the wording a bit, I would like to see our technology i) applied in the the next generation of gravitational wave detectors, ii) redefining the performance of optical atomic clocks (via ever-more-stable lasers that lie at the hear of these systems), iii) employed for ever more sensitive optical trace gas detection systems, iv) integrated into advanced laser machining and high-power short-pulse lasers, and v) revolutionizing completely new areas I haven't yet considered.

Which companies should be interested in your research and why?
Anyone looking for the "best" optical coatings should be talking to us. Defining our key selling points, we can offer coatings with the lowest mechanical loss (and thus lowest Brownian noise for high-stability interferometers), the lowest mid-infrared losses, and the highest thermal conductivity (coupled with our ultralow absorption). Beyond companies interested in these topics this would also include national labs and university groups.

Is there a single word or phrase that would describe you?
I'm sure it depends on who you ask ;)  In all seriousness I think that I am a nice and gregarious guy, it would be fun to see the results of a poll asking my colleagues, customers, and collaborators this question. 

What motivates you to do what you do?
Science. I simply want to push the boundaries of what is possible. Of course as a single person I can only make a limited impact, so my niche is apparently in semiconductor-based direct bonded optics, stemming from an odd path of prior experience. Given the successes so far I am curious to see how far this can be pushed. An equal driver for me is my family. Of course I want the best for them, though that unfortunately now means a large chunk of my time is spent on the road. In the end, even if no significant material return comes from this, I want them to be proud of the fact that I did my absolute best.

Where does your passion come from?
This sounds extremely lame, but I would say it comes from doing something I truly enjoy (at least most of the time) and continuing to learn new and exciting things. That is what keeps pushing me forward.

What do you think makes AIO meeting a remarkable meeting? Why do you think AIO is a useful meeting to attend?
To be honest I am not completely familiar with the meeting. I was invited for the 2016 edition and this will be the first year that I am attending the conference. I am very curious to see how it goes...

What is the question that you wish the attendees asked you after your talks and they never ask?
What can we do to work together and find something mutually beneficial for the both of us?



Posted: 29 June 2016 by Dr. Garrett Cole | with 0 comments

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