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Washington State University Applied Sciences Laboratory

Principal Researchers

Hergen Eilers

Senior Scientist and Associate Director, Applied Sciences Laboratory

(509) 358-7681

Scientific Interests and Current Work

Dr. Hergen Eilers’ areas of expertise are optical properties of materials and related sensor applications, including sensors for the detection of chemicals, electromagnetic radiation, environmental conditions, and material properties. Dr. Eilers works with a variety of materials including inorganics, metals, organics, and composites, at the nanoscale as well as at the macroscopic scale. A wide range of lasers are used to characterize the structure and dynamic properties of these materials. Practical applications of his work include developing advanced sensors for applications in national security such as sensors to measure and record temperatures under extreme conditions, a new technique to sense Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and a new approach to nuclear radiation sensors.


Dr. Eilers joined Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA as a Postdoctoral Associate after earning his Ph.D. in Solid State Laser Physics. In 1995, he and some colleagues started their own company, Quantum Vision, Inc. (QVI) in Palo Alto, California. At QVI, Dr. Eilers performed research on thin-film phosphors embedded in resonant microcavities for display applications.

Dr. Eilers’ interest in start-up companies led him to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA), which he received in 2000 from Golden Gate University. Subsequently, he joined Gemfire Corp. as a Product Manager and Product Marketing Engineer for a thermo-optic polymer-based Variable Optical Attenuator (VOA) for optical telecom applications.

In 2003, Dr. Eilers started his own company, NovaCera, with SBIR funding from the U.S. Air Force. He synthesized nanophase yttria particles for “Windows Materials for Airborne Directed Energy Applications.” In 2004, Dr. Eilers joined the Institute for Shock Physics at Washington State University.


  • M.B.A., 2000, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California
  • Ph.D. (Physics), 1993, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • M.S. (Physics), 1990, University of Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany
  • B.S. (Physics), 1987, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

Representative Publications

  1. T. Myint, R. Gunawidjaja, and H. Eilers, “Light-induced structural changes in Eu-doped (pb,La)(Zr,Ti)O3 ceramics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 171906 (2011).
  2. R. Gunawidjaja, T. Myint, and H. Eilers, “Synthesis of silver/SiO2/Eu:Lu2O3core-shell nanoparticles and their polymer nanocomposites,” Powder Tec. 210, 157-166 (2011).
  3. H. Wei, Z. Cleary, S. Park, K. Senevirathne, and H. Eilers, “Fluorescence lifetime modification in Eu:Lu2O3 nanoparticles in the presence of silver nanoparticles,” J. Alloys Compd. 500, 96 (2010).
  4. L. Scudiero, H. Wei, and H. Eilers, ”Photoemission Spectroscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy Investigation of Vapor Phase Co-Deposited Silver/Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Composites,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2009, 1 (12), pp 2721–2728
  5. H. Wei, L. Scudiero, and H. Eilers, “Infrared and Photoelectron Spectroscopy Study of Vapor Phase Deposited Poly (3-hexylthiophene),” Appl. Surf. Sci. 255, 8593 (2009).
  6. H. Eilers, “Effect of particle/grain size on the optical properties of Y2O3:Er,Yb,” J. Alloys Compd. 474, 569-572 (2009).
  7. H. Wei and H. Eilers, “Electrical conductivity of thin-film composites containing silver nanoparticles embedded in a dielectric fluoropolymer matrix,” Thin Solid Films 517, 575-581 (2008).
  8. H. Eilers, “Synthesis and characterization of CO2-laser-evaporated ZnS:Mn thin films,” Mater. Lett. 62, 967-969 (2007).
  9. H. Eilers, “Fabrication, optical transmittance, and hardness of IR-transparent ceramics made from nanophase yttria,” J. Europ. Ceram. Soc. 27, 4711-4717 (2007).
  10. H. Eilers, A. Biswas, T. D. Pounds, M. G. Norton, and M. ElBahri, “Teflon AF/Ag Nanocomposites with Tailored Optical Properties,” J. Mater. Res. 21, 2168-2171 (2006).
  11. Biswas, H. Eilers, F. Hidden Jr, O. C. Aktas, and C. V. S. Kiran, “ Large broadband visible to infrared plasmonic absorption from Ag nanoparticles embedded in a Teflon AF matrix,“ Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 013103 (2006).
  12. H. Eilers “Synthesis and characterization of Nanophase Yttria co-doped with Erbium and Ytterbium,” Mater. Lett. 60 (2006) 214.
  13. B. Bihari, H. Eilers, and B. M. Tissue, “Spectra and Dynamics of Monoclinic Eu2O3 and Eu3+:Y2O3 Nanocrystals,” J. Lumin. 75, 1 (1997).
  14. H. Eilers and B. M. Tissue, “Laser spectroscopy of nanocrystalline Eu2O3 and Eu3+:Y2O3,” Chem. Phys. Lett. 251, 74 (1996).
  15. H. Eilers and B. M. Tissue, “Synthesis of nanophase ZnO, Eu2O3, and ZrO2 by gas-phase condensation with cw-CO2 laser heating,” Mater. Lett. 24, 261 (1995).
  16. H. Eilers, U. Hömmerich, S. M. Jacobsen, W. M. Yen, K. R. Hoffman, and W. Jia, “Spectroscopy and dynamics of Cr4+:Y3Al5O12,” Phys. Rev. B 49, 15505 (1994).
  17. W. Jia, H. Liu, Y. Wang, U. Hömmerich, H. Eilers, K. R. Hoffman, and W. M. Yen, “Stress effects on the fluorescence spectra of tetravalent chromium in some crystalline hosts,” J. Lumin. 59, 279 (1994).
  18. H. Eilers, W. M. Dennis, W. M. Yen, S. Kück, K. Petermann, G. Huber, and W. Jia, “Performance of a Cr:YAG Laser,” IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics29, 2508 (1993).
  19. H. Eilers, K. R. Hoffman, W. M. Dennis, S. M. Jacobsen, and W. M. Yen, “Saturation of 1.064 μm absorption in Cr,Ca:Y3Al5O12 crystals,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 61, 2958 (1992).
  20. H. Eilers, E. Strauss, and W. M. Yen, “Photoelastic effect in Ti3+-doped sapphire,” Phys. Rev. B 45, 9604 (1992).

Professional Affiliations, Honors and Recognition

  • Member of American Physical Society
  • Senior Member of Optical Society of America
  • Member of Materials Research Society
  • Granted permanent U.S. residency under the Extraordinary Abilities / Outstanding Researcher program, 1997