Martin Fischer

Martin Fischer

Associate Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry

Associate Research Professor of Physics (Secondary)

Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Office Location: 
2216 French Science Center, 124 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Box 90346, Durham, NC 27708-0346
(919) 660-1523


Dr. Fischer’s research focuses on exploring novel nonlinear optical contrast mechanisms for molecular imaging. Nonlinear optical microscopes can provide non-invasive, high-resolution, 3-dimensional images even in highly scattering environments such as biological tissue.

Established contrast mechanisms, such as two-photon fluorescence or harmonic generation, can image a range of targets (such as autofluorescent markers or some connective tissue structure), but many of the most molecularly specific nonlinear interactions are harder to measure with power levels one might be willing to put on tissue. In order to use these previously inaccessible interactions as structural and molecular image contrasts we are developing ultrafast laser pulse shaping and pulse shape detection methods that dramatically enhance measurement sensitivity. Applications of these microscopy methods range from imaging biological tissue (mapping structure, endogenous tissue markers, or exogenous contrast agents) to characterization of nanomaterials (such as graphene and gold nanoparticles). The molecular contrast mechanisms we originally developed for biomedical imaging also provide pigment-specific signatures for paints used in historic artwork. Recently we have demonstrated that we can noninvasively image paint layers in historic paintings and we are currently developing microscopy techniques for use in art conservation and conservation science.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin 2001

  • M.A., University of Texas, Austin 1993

Fischer, M. C., et al. “FM spectroscopy in recoil-induced resonances.” Journal of Optics B: Quantum and Semiclassical Optics, vol. 3, no. 4, IOP Publishing, Aug. 2001, pp. 279–87. Crossref, doi:10.1088/1464-4266/3/4/313. Full Text

Wilkinson, Steven R., et al. “Experimental evidence for non-exponential decay in quantum tunnelling.” Nature, vol. 387, no. 6633, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, June 1997, pp. 575–77. Crossref, doi:10.1038/42418. Full Text

Fischer, Emma P., et al. Low-cost measurement of facemask efficacy for filtering expelled droplets during speech. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Crossref, doi:10.1101/2020.06.19.20132969. Full Text

Madison, K. W., et al. “Observation of the Wannier-Stark fan and the fractional ladder in an accelerating optical lattice.” Physical Review A, vol. 60, no. 3, American Physical Society (APS), pp. R1767–70. Crossref, doi:10.1103/physreva.60.r1767. Full Text

Madison, K. W., et al. “Dynamical Bloch Band Suppression in an Optical Lattice.” Physical Review Letters, vol. 81, no. 23, American Physical Society (APS), pp. 5093–96. Crossref, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.81.5093. Full Text

Fischer, M. C., et al. “Observation of Rabi oscillations between Bloch bands in an optical potential.” Physical Review A, vol. 58, no. 4, American Physical Society (APS), pp. R2648–51. Crossref, doi:10.1103/physreva.58.r2648. Full Text

Fischer, M. C., et al. “Observation of the Quantum Zeno and Anti-Zeno Effects in an Unstable System.” Physical Review Letters, vol. 87, no. 4, American Physical Society (APS). Crossref, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.87.040402. Full Text