headshot of Mark A. Foster

Mark Foster

Cross Cutting Research Initiative Coordinator

Internal (URA) Collaborators

Mark Foster is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research focuses on the development of practical optical systems for ultrahigh-speed signal processing.

Foster’s work lies at the intersection of photonics and electronics. His lab melds state-of-the-art photonic devices with modern information theory to produce cutting-edge technologies that advance the performance of imaging and sensing systems. Applications of his research include future optical communications systems, ultrawide-bandwidth microwave photonics, and high-throughput optical imaging.

Foster develops practical photonic techniques for the manipulation of signals on the fastest of time-scales, from hundreds of picoseconds to a few femtoseconds. By using encoded laser pulses to reconstruct objects, Foster’s lab pioneered one of the fastest imaging systems in the world, with line rates in the tens of MHz.

The National Science Foundation has funded a number of Foster’s research projects, including the development of an integrated platform for quantum optical systems and an ultrahigh-speed imaging system with frame rates beyond a terahertz. He has also received funding from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and NIH National Eye Institute. His research has been published in more than 200 papers and has led to the creation of at least eight unique patents.

His awards include a Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award, NSF CAREER award, DARPA Young Faculty Award, and a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. In addition to his primary appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, he serves as a fellow for the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute.

Foster has reviewed manuscripts for a number of prominent academic journals, including APL Photonics, Applied Physics Letters, Journal of Biomedical Optics, Nature Communications, Optics Express, Optics Letters, PLOS ONE, and Scientific Reports. He also chaired the Baltimore chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society from 2011 to 2014.

Foster received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 2003, 2007, and 2008, respectively. He worked as a postdoctoral associate at Cornell before joining Johns Hopkins in 2010.

Awards and Honors

2012: ONR Young Investigator Award

2011: DARPA Young Faculty Award


Focus Areas