Planning Grant: I/UCRC for Freeform Optics

  • Marsh, Eric Russell (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Planning Grant for an I/UCRC for Freeform Optics (CeFO)

1238264 University of Rochester; Jannick Rolland

1238278 University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Angela Davies

1238271 Pennsylvania State University; Eric Marsh

The proposed Center for Freeform Optics aims to advance research and education on the science, engineering and applications of freeform optics through a dedicated, continuing industrial partnership. The research efforts will be anchored by the University of Rochester (UR) as the lead institution, partnered with the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC).

The proposed Center will focus on three main research thrusts that include: Fundamentals of Freeform Optics, Advanced Materials for Fabrication and Manufacturing of Freeform Optics, and Optical Testing for Freeform Optics. This Center constitutes a unique research environment combining the strengths of three top-tier research universities with the experiences, insights, and needs of international industrial talent specialized in building systems supporting the manufacturing, integration, and implementation of advanced optical systems.

Optical systems with freeform surfaces will usher in the next generation of innovation in sensing, imaging, visualization and diagnostic instrumentation by directing light in not 1-D, but 3-D. Novel designs with 3-D light paths will allow compact optical systems to replace the current in-line designs (packaged by flat fold mirrors) using freeform optics. Applications are emerging that require innovative surface geometries with tight form-accuracy to increase imaging and sensing capabilities and overall optical performance. The participating universities in CeFO are dedicated to the recruitment and retention of female and students from under-represented groups. The aggressive recruitment of students from under-represented groups is one of the Center's top priorities. The primary goal of active student involvement in the Center's research activities is to accelerate the understanding of this new horizon in optical technology by advancing research and education on the engineering and science of freeform optics. Students will work directly with Center industrial members to communicate and transfer key enabling technologies including design, fabrication, assembly, testing, and integration.

Effective start/end date8/1/127/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $11,500.00


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