Giving to CREOL
CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics
Alumni Profiles
David Haefner
2010 PhD in Optics
XDavid Haefner
2010 PhD in Optics

Current Position: Electronics Engineer at Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD)

Modeling and Simulation Division; Modeling and Measurement Services Branch
• Technical lead of advance sensor evaluation facility (ASEF).
• Improved accuracy of standard imaging system measurement procedures (MTF, FOV, 3D Noise, spectral response)
• Developed VIS, NIR, and SWIR systems measurement capabilities
• Developed time constant and integration measurement capabilities
• Derived algorithms for NVLabCap measurement software
Modeling and Simulation Division; Sensor Performance Branch
Work included:
• Furthered NVESD models to include degradation of human performance in the presence of aliasing in sampled imagers
• Analyzed human performance in response color stimuli
• Assessed robustness of iris recognition algorithms through simulated camera degradations

How an Education from the College of Optics and Photonics has helped his career:

I am satisfied with how CREOL has prepared me.  Although my work is far from my dissertation research, the core classes provided me with a very solid foundation for future study.  More than anything, CREOL taught me how to systematically approach research questions, allowing me to find the solution quickly and accurately.

Advice for Graduate students:

My best advice would be to maintain the relationships with the faculty and their fellow students.  Diversify their experience by taking all the lab courses and try to collaborate outside their group whenever possible.  Invite others into their lab and explain their experiments, difficulties, and methods.

Vadim Smirnov
2000 MS in Optics
Gisele Bennett
1989 MS in Electrical Engineering
Umar Piracha
2012 PhD in Electrical Engineering
Hubert Seigneur
2010 PhD in Optics
Michaël Hemmer
2011 PhD in Optics
Felicie Albert
2004 MS in Optics
Gabriel Popescu
2002 PhD in Optics
Andrew Hunt
2012 MS in Optics
Yang Zhao
2008 MS in Optics

Optics & Photonics MS & PhD: Prospective Students

Welcome and thank you for your interest in our graduate programs! CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics offers Degrees at the Masters and Ph.D. levels. We are always looking for talented individuals who have an interest in Optics and Photonics and the graduate programs we offer. his part of the website is intended to provide prospective students with more information about the field of Optics and photonics, our graduate programs, and assistance to help guide you through the application process.

Who should apply?

There are no precise rules about this. Very few students get BS degrees in Optics, so most of our students come to us from other disciplines. As a result, our student population is very diverse, with backgrounds spanning from theoretical physics to materials science to engineering. Read more...

Why Photonics?

Since you are reading this, you may not need to be convinced that the field of Optics and Photonics is for you. However, Optics is a field that is rapidly growing and is becoming increasingly pervasive in many diverse fields of science and engineering. Just think of fiber optics and telecommunications, of medical imaging and cancer research, Defense and Homeland Security and of many consumer technologies such as digital cameras, high definition TVs and PDAs, which were made possible through optics and photonics research. For more examples, please visit the Optical Society of America web site.


CREOL was founded as the Center of Excellence in Research in Optics and Lasers at the University of Central Florida in 1985. The center rapidly grew in size and stature, eventually becoming the College of Optics and Photonics, with over 40 faculty, more than 60 research scientists and approximately 160 students specializing in all areas concerning the science and engineering of light. Read more...


CREOL Alumni have received the education to help them become leaders and innovators. Whether in industry or academia, our graduate students have gone on to invent new technologies, formed new companies, head research groups at the leading universities around the world, and held highly regarded positions in academia.

How to apply

We encourage all students who are interested in applying for admission to complete our pre-application process before they complete the UCF application. Our pre-application is required to apply for funding from the College. There is no separate application for funding.

Optics in Other Degree Programs at UCF

Students interested in optics but wishing to pursue related PhD degrees, such as electrical engineering, physics, mechanical engineering, etc., are encouraged to carry out their dissertation research in optics under the supervision of a College of Optics and Photonics faculty member. Such students are also encouraged to apply for our fellowships when applying for admission to UCF. Application for a fellowship should be initiated by filling out the Pre-Application

There is an undergraduate optics track in the physics BS degree program at UCF. Information on this track is available from the Physics Department.

Online Graduate Catalog

The Online Graduate Catalog serves the function of outlining policies and procedures that govern the academic process at UCF. The College handbook is an extension of graduate policy specific to the College of Optics and Photonics. For additional information, contact:
Office of Academic Programs
Tel: 407-823-6986
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