New photonics research and education centers opened this spring with the goal of helping their local economies while preparing students for a variety of jobs in optics and photonics.
The Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP) at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and the Centre for Optical and Laser Engineering (COLE) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore launched in April with strong support from industry, government, and academia.
Fraunhofer CAP, UK headquarters for Europe’s largest contract research organization, will provide laser R&D and associated technologies for a variety of sectors such as security, healthcare, energy, and transportation.
The center “will work closely with partners to solve global challenges, design and develop the products and services of tomorrow, and support the economy,” said Sir Jim McDonald, professor and principal of the University of Strathclyde.
Oliver Ambacher of Fraunhofer IAF and Fraunhofer UK; Martin Dawson, the head of Fraunhofer CAP; and Franke Treppe from Fraunhofer Zentrale at the CAP opening.
Tim Holt, executive director of Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd., added that the new center will also provide UK companies “with a supply of well-informed, knowledgeable, and practical recruits who understand what industry demands from them.”
Martin Dawson, a professor at the Institute of Optics at Strathclyde, was appointed head of the center.
Read more about Fraunhofer CAP.
Funding for laser engineering at NTU in Singapore
At NTU, the newly launched COLE has already secured more than $10 million (Singapore) in industry and research funding, bringing its total worth to S$30 million. The center’s research will be focused on developing commercial applications.
“In recent years, NTU has developed many new optical and laser technologies, such as a patented lensless 3D microscope which allows us to take a photo and focus on the details later,” said SPIE Fellow and COLE Director Anand Asundi. “We have also been successful in developing precision laser systems which improve emerging technologies, such as 3D printing and nano-patterning.
Anand Asundi, director of COLE (left), and his students use the patented Holoscope for 3D measurement of micro-objects.
“With COLE, we expect our successes in optical and laser engineering to grow further,” Asundi said, propelling the precision engineering and biomedical sectors to new heights in Singapore and beyond.
With demand for optical and laser engineers growing, NTU in 2011 initiated a specialization in optical engineering as part of a master’s program in precision engineering. The program, endorsed by the Optics and Photonics Society of Singapore, already has 30 graduates.
Read more about COLE.
New degree program at Florida's CREOL
A new undergraduate program approved in March at the University of Central Florida (USA) is aimed at helping the United States stay competitive in global technology as well as providing broader career paths for students.
The BS in photonics science and engineering was established by the College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL) and the College of Engineering and Computer Science. CREOL Director and SPIE Fellow Bahaa Saleh said the first classes of the new program will be offered this fall.
The curriculum will prepare students for a wide variety of jobs in optics and photonics and satisfy the requirements of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a federation of professional and technical societies that acts as the recognized accreditor for U.S. college and university programs in applied science, engineering, computing, and technology.
Students will receive knowledge and lab experience in geometrical optics, physical optics, optical materials, and photonics devices and systems, striking a balance between general engineering knowledge and practical skills for solving problems and designing and building working optical systems.
Read more about CREOL.
New center in U.S. for thin films
Four SPIE Fellows and two SPIE members are among the 10 researchers who will staff the new Center of Excellence in Thin-Film Research and Surface Engineering (CETRASE) at University of Dayton in Ohio (USA).
CETRASE researchers will focus on energy systems found in advanced medical imaging, cell phones, medical devices, and solar energy systems.
“We want to find ways to make better, more efficient, cost-effective sensors, electronics, electro-optics, and energy systems, and hopefully create new jobs for the region,” said SPIE member Guru Subramanyam, chair of Dayton’s electrical and computer engineering department.
The researchers, who come from the departments of electrical and computer engineering, materials engineering, biology, physics, the electro-optics graduate program, and the University of Dayton Research Institute, include SPIE member Andrew Sarangan as well as SPIE Fellows Partha Banerjee, Joseph W. Haus, Peter Powers, and Qiwen Zhan.
The new center is not a brick-and-mortar facility, but rather a reallocation of existing lab space at the university.
Photonics institute opens in Finland
The new Institute of Photonics at the University of Eastern Finland will promote international cooperation, transfer of research knowledge, and societal impact in the field of photonics.
Pasi Vahimaa, newly appointed director, said the institute is a network organization that would also enhance recruitment of master’s and doctoral students in photonics.
Timo Jääskeläinen, dean of the Faculty of Science and Forestry under which the institute will reside, is chair of the Board of Directors for the institute. Other board members from the faculty are Seppo Honkanen, Markku Hauta-Kasari, Markku Kuittinen, and SPIE member Jyrki Saarinen.