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Professor John Caraher

John Caraher is the newest addition to the department’s full-time faculty. The University of Michigan has pledged not to award him any more degrees given the size of his collection (B.S. 1987, M.S. 1997, PhD 2005), and he has turned away from the Dark Side of the Monon Bell rivalry force after two years of teaching at Wabash College.

After spending his first three years as an undergraduate majoring in aerospace engineering, Dr. Caraher completed his B.S. with a philosophy and physics double major. After graduation, he worked with the UM spin physics group at Brookhaven National Lab’s Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS), then accepted a job operating the cyclotron for Michigan’s Positron Emission Tomography (PET) center. Over the course of seven years he moved from radioisotope production to PET imaging, maintaining the research and clinical PET scanners, helping plan and execute imaging studies for research, and investigating the quantitative interpretation of dynamic cardiac PET scans.

Dr. Caraher next began full-time graduate study under the supervision of Dr. Phil Bucksbaum. He studied entangled rotational-Rydberg wavepackets in sodium dimers using ultrafast lasers. Dr. Caraher’s current research explores new applications of quantum-entangled photons in atomic and molecular spectroscopy. In particular, he and his undergraduate colleagues (DUAMOP) are investigating the experimental feasibility of Virtual State Spectroscopy, a technique that would allow scientists to probe a large number of atomic or molecular energy levels simultaneously. Dr. Caraher is also interested in the application of shaped ultrafast laser pulses for molecular coherent control experiments.

DeCCaPh collaborative work ranges from the development of laser-based instrumentation to plans for possible future efforts in ultrafast spectroscopy and coherent control experiments.

Dr. Caraher currently resides in Crawfordsville with his wife, Lynn (holder of 2/3 of the family’s UM B.S. degrees with one in zoology and one in electrical engineering) and their sons Jim (star student and athlete specializing in track (800 m) and soccer) and Brian (family artist and computer game designer). Away from DePauw Dr. Caraher’s interests include playing defense for the Indianapolis Hockey Club "Wiseguys," watching hard-hitting political reporting and commentary on "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," and plotting the overthrow of dictatorships.