Faculty Directory
Allen Taflove

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (1975)

M.S. Electrical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (1972)

B.S. Electrical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (1971)

Research Interests

Since 1972, Prof. Allen Taflove has developed fundamental theoretical approaches, algorithms, and applications of finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) computational solutions of the fundamental Maxwell's equations of classical electrodynamics.  In July 2013, he was named the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Electromagnetics Award for his work in this area. 

Previously, in 2002, Prof. Taflove was named by the Institute of Scientific Information to its original listing of the most-cited researchers worldwide.  In 2010, Nature Milestones: Photons named him as one of the two principal pioneers of numerical methods for solving Maxwell's equations.  According to Google Scholar, to date his publications have received more than 25,000 citations, and the exact phrase "finite difference time domain" which he coined back in 1980 has appeared in over 64,000 search results.  Prof. Taflove's major publication, Computational Electrodynamics: The Finite-Difference Time-Domain Method, is the 7th all-time most-cited book in the history of physics according to the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics.

Currently, continuing a collaboration that began in 2003, Prof. Taflove is working with Prof. Vadim Backman of Northwestern's Biomedical Engineering Department.  Their research is aimed at the minimally invasive, early-stage detection of deadly cancers such as those of the colon, pancreas, lungs, and ovaries.  The techniques being pursued are based upon spectral analysis of light that is backscattered from histologically normal tissue located away from a neoplastic lesion in what has been termed the field effect.  This may lead to a new paradigm in cancer screening where, for example, early-stage lung cancer could be reliably detected by analyzing a few cells brushed from the interior surface of a person's cheek.

Selected Publications

    A. Taflove, A. Oskooi, and S. G. Johnson, editors, Advances in FDTD Computational Electrodynamics: Photonics and Nanotechnology.  Norwood, MA: Artech House, 2013.

    A. Taflove and S. C. Hagness, Computational Electrodynamics: The Finite-Difference Time-Domain Method, 3rd edition.  Norwood, MA: Artech House, 2005.

    J. H. Greene and A. Taflove, “General vector auxiliary differential equation finite-difference time-domain method for nonlinear optics,” Optics Express, vol. 14, pp. 8305-8310, Sept. 1, 2006.

    J. J. Simpson and A. Taflove, “A review of progress in FDTD Maxwell’s equations modeling of impulsive sub-ionospheric propagation below 300 kHz,” IEEE Trans. Antennas and Propagation, vol. 55, pp. 1582-1590, June 2007.

    H. Subramanian, P. Pradhan, Y. Liu, I. R. Capoglu, X. Li, J. D. Rogers, A. Heifetz, D. Kunte, H. K. Roy, A. Taflove, and V. Backman, “Optical methodology for detecting histologically unapparent nanoscale consequences of genetic alterations in biological cells,” Proc. National Academy of Sciences USA, vol. 105, no. 51, pp. 20124-20129, Dec. 23, 2008.

    A. Heifetz, S.-C. Kong, A. V. Sahakian, A. Taflove, and V. Backman, “Photonic nanojets,” J. Computational & Theoretical Nanoscience, vol. 6, pp. 1979-1992, Sept. 2009.

    S. Yang, A. Taflove, and V. Backman, “Experimental confirmation at visible light wavelengths of the backscattering enhancement phenomenon of the photonic nanojet,” Optics Express, vol. 19, pp. 7084-7093, April 11, 2011.

    L. Cherkezyan, I. Capoglu, H. Subramanian, J. D. Rogers, D. Damania, A. Taflove, and V. Backman, "Interferometric spectroscopy of scattered light can quantify the statistics of subdiffractional refractive-index fluctuations," Physical Review Lett., vol. 111, 033903, July 19, 2013.