Graduate Student
California Institute of Technology
Biophotonics Laboratory

roarke (at) caltech (dot) edu

Short Biography

I am currently a graduate student in Caltech’s Electrical Engineering department. My primary field of study is in the area of optics, although my research also touches on subjects including algorithm design and optimization. Right now, I work on three primary topics: the design of a "computational" microscope, methods to securely store cryptographic keys, and understanding how light scatters through materials like tissue.

Prior to coming to Caltech I was a graduate student at MIT, where I was mostly interested in computational ways to design light in three dimensions. Before that, I worked at The MITRE Corporation, where I helped make a couple of pretty cool cameras. Please check out some of my papers and presentations in the "research" section linked above.

My research, animated!

Here are a couple video clips that I was fortunate enough to help out with. The first is a recent segment about my research on cryptography featured on the Science Channel show, Through the Wormhole, with Morgan Freeman. Check out my explanation of how one-time pads and physical unclonable functions work!

The second is a great educational tutorial on how a camera works, created by Stephanie Li Xian Seo and her team for young and curious students at If anyone else would like to animate any other optics-related subjects, please let me know!