Amy Spivey

Photo of Amy Spivey


Professor Spivey teaches a wide range of courses, from introductory physics to upper-level physics courses for majors such as Analytical Mechanics, Electromagnetic Theory, and Statistical Mechanics.  She also teaches the Circuits and Electronics course for physics majors and a first-year seminar entitled “Empowering Technologies – Energy in the 21st Century”.


Professor Spivey’s research interests lie in the areas of optical and materials physics.  In her graduate research at JILA at the University of Colorado, she used short-pulse laser systems to study how excitons in GaAs-based semiconductors behave on sub-picosecond time scales.   She also did some work with terahertz pulses.  Her post-doctoral research at the University of Alabama in Birmingham explored the intensity-dependent absorption of nanosecond and picoseconds pulses in organometallic molecules. 

In her research laboratory at Puget Sound, she studies the optical properties of materials using white light interferometry and involves undergraduate students in that work.

Selected publications

A.G. VanEngen Spivey and Nathanael Seid, "Group velocity dispersion of dyes in solution measured with white-light interferometry," Applied Optics 50, 194-202 (2011).

A.G. VanEngen Spivey, C.N. Borca, and S.T. Cundiff, "Correlation coefficient for dephasing of light-hole excitons in GaAs quantum wells," Solid State Communications 145, 303-307 (2008). 

A.G. VanEngen Spivey and S.T. Cundiff, "Inhomogeneous dephasing of heavy-hole and light-hole exciton coherences in GaAs quantum wells," Journal of the Optical Society of America B 24, 664-670 (2007).

Other professional activities

Professor Spivey currently serves as a Member-At-Large on the Executive Committee of the Northwest Section of the American Physical Society and served for five years as newsletter editor for the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society.  Recent issues of the newsletter can be viewed here.  She is also active in American Associate of Physics Teachers and the Optical Society of America.  She regularly reviews articles submitted for publication to the American Journal of Physics, Optics Letters, and Optical Materials Express.


Professor Spivey lives in Tacoma with her husband, Mike, and their three children.  In her occasional free time, she enjoys reading fiction, seeing films, and being outdoors.

 Curriculum vitae