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Alan Bristow

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR / Associate CHAIR of physics and Astronomy

Condensed Matter Experiment / Photonics / Light-Matter Interactions



Prof. Bristow received his Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield in 2004. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto from 2003 to 2006, a Research Associate at JILA from 2006 to 2010 and an Adjunct Instructor at the Colorado School of Mines in 2009. He joined the department in 2010 and is currently serving as the Associate Chair (2019-2021).

Prof. Bristow was on sabbatical at the Technical University of Dortmund in 2017 and 2018. He has been an Associate at National Institute of Standards and Technology since 2017 and an Associate Editor for Optical Materials Express since 2018. He is a member of the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society.


Prof. Bristow has taught the following courses:

  • PHYS-112 – University Physics II (with calculus)
  • PHYS-211 – Introduction to Mathematical Physics
  • PHYS-321 – Optics
  • PHYS-333 – Electricity & Magnetism I
  • PHYS-479/779 – Laboratory Research (in the Ultrafast Nanophotonics Group)
  • PHYS-771 – Introduction to Solid State Physics
  • PHYS-772 – Semiconductor Physics
  • PHYS-774 – Optical Properties of Solids
  • PHYS-791 (Special Topics) – Laser Physics and Quantum Optics

In addition to teaching lecture courses, Prof. Bristow mentors undergraduate and graduate students in research activities. He has graduated Ph.D. students whom have gone on to be postdoctoral researchers at top-tier research schools, visiting professors at liberal arts colleges, and employees in industrial and government lab positions.


Prof. Bristow leads the Ultrafast Nanophotonics group, using short laser pulses to determine coherent and dynamic properties of electrons in condensed matter. Light-matter interactions provide insight into new physics at the nanoscale and are useful characterization tools for materials and structures that have potential for electronic, photonic, spintronic and energy-harvesting applications.


Noble and Precious Metals: Properties, Nanoscale Effects and Applications,” M. S. Seehra and A. D. Bristow (Eds.) IntechOpen (July 4th 2018)

Selected Journal Publications (full list @ google scholar)