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CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics
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Bahaa Saleh

Message from the Dean

CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, is one of the world’s foremost institutions for research and education in optics and photonics. It started in 1987 as the Center for Research in Electro- Optics and Lasers (CREOL) and became a College in 2004, the first such college in the US. The College is home to the Florida Photonics Center of Excellence (FPCE), the Townes Laser Institute, and the Institute for the Frontier of Attosecond Science and Technology (iFAST).

During the last 29 years, CREOL has graduated 283 PhD and 387 MS students. World-renowned for their scholarly contributions to fundamental and applied optics and photonics, the faculty have published 30 books and more than 2,100 journal papers with close to 48,000 citations.

The college has been an exciting place for students to have an outstanding educational experience and to engage in research in a broad spectrum of programs covering materials, devices, and systems, using technologies including lasers, optical fibers, optoelectronics and integrated photonics, nonlinear and quantum optics, and imaging, sensing and display. These technologies have applications in manufacturing, communication and information, biology and medicine, energy and lighting, and homeland security and defense. Advanced topics such as nanophotonics, attosecond optics, plasmonics, and biophotonics are embraced as areas of strength and future growth. We are well positioned to take advantage of the revolution that is taking place in several fields enabled by optics and photonics.

CREOL was initially founded to promote growth in optics and related fields here in central Florida and has maintained this tradition over the years. We provide the well-trained workforce that keeps the industry growing and we partner with the Florida Photonics Cluster to coordinate this industry’s efforts and needs. We also receive strong support from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and Enterprise Florida. The CREOL Industrial Affiliates Program has attracted more than 170 industrial members since its founding. The faculty have produced close to 280 patents, and spun off 26 photonics-based companies involving a wide variety of technologies. Four companies are incubated within the CREOL facilities.

Highlights of 2015 include the addition of five new junior faculty members. Dr. Shuo (Sean) Pang, who received his PhD from California Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University, started in January 2015 and is pursuing research in optical imaging and microscopy. Drs. Kyle Renshaw and Ryan Gelfand joined the college in Fall 2015. Renshaw, who received his PhD from the University of Michigan and had an appointment with Northrop Grumman, is active in organic photovoltaics and optical sensor arrays. Gelfand’s research area is nanophotonic biosensing. He received his PhD from Northwestern University and was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Victoria. Joining the college in Spring 2016 are Drs. Kye Young Han and Luca Argenti. An expert in fluorescence nanoscopy, label-free single-molecule and live-cell RNA imaging, Han received his PhD from Seoul National University and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Argenti, who received his PhD from Scuola Normale Superiore diPisa, Italy, and was a faculty member with the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, is active in theoretical attosecond science. These five appointments are envisioned to fill important needs in applied optics and image science, and to strengthen our programs in integrated photonics, nanophotonics, biophotonics, and attosecond optics.

Another key highlight is the award of our first BS degree in Photonic Science and Engineering. This new undergraduate program, which began in Fall 2013, continues to grow. In 2015, 13 courses and 5 labs were offered. Current enrollment is approximately 100. In AY 2014. 2015, 121 graduate students were enrolled, and 18 PhD degrees and 17 MS degrees were awarded. Graduate students continue to receive national scholarships, fellowships, travel grants, and best papers or poster awards.

The CREOL faculty continue to receive prestigious national and international awards and honors. Aristide Dogariu received the 2015 SPIE Stokes Award in recognition of his work on the polarization properties of light-matter interaction. Guifang Li was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and Martin Richardson was elected Fellow of AAAS. Peter Delfyett was elected Fellow of SPIE and Fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists. He was also elected Vice-Chair of the APS Division of Laser Science. Mercedeh Khajavikhan received an NSF CAREER award. At the university level, Sasan Fathpour received the UCF Reach for the Stars Award and Ayman Abouraddy received the UCF Research Incentive Award.

The research conducted by the CREOL faculty, students, and scientists was disseminated nationally and internationally in 5 book chapters, 171 journal papers, 169 conference papers and presentations, and 22 invited lectures. This year, 14 papers were published in Nature journals, and one in Optica. Research and educational programs were funded by contracts and grants totaling approximately $14.7M in FY 2015. Our tradition of innovation has also continued. In 2015, the faculty were inventors or co-inventors of 15 issued patents.

Our partnership with industry continues to be strong. Approximately $2.1M were received from industry or from federal grants flow through industrial partners, a connection that gives our students experience and a leg up on industry positions after they graduate. Several companies donated equipment for our laboratories. The 2015 Industrial Affiliates Day events were attended by 240 guests and 25 exhibitors, the students presented 39 posters, and four short courses were offered. CREOL maintains an ongoing relation with its alumni and holds regular alumni reunions at key conferences. Achievements of our successful alumni are highlighted in newsletters and on the CREOL website. This year’s recipient of the Professional Achievement award is Frank Effenberger, Ph.D.’95, Vice President and Fellow at Futurewei Technologies, and a world expert in the field of fiber access networks.

The CREOL Association of Optics Students (CAOS) has maintained its strong involvement in outreach and professional development. This year, a new undergraduate student organization, the Society of Optics Students (SOS) joined CAOS. Another highlight of 2015 is the Florida Science Olympiad, which was held at UCF in March and in which CREOL was an important participant.

The year 2015 was very special for the worldwide optics and photonics community since it was the International Year of Light. A number of special public events were organized, including public lectures at the 2015 Industrial Affiliates Symposium, STEM teachers workshop, Optics Day, and a photo contest.

Bahaa Saleh
Dean

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