CREOL celebrates its 25th Anniversary
Attendees at the Banquet
On March 15-16, the CREOL faculty, students and staff were treated to a wonderful show. It was the 25th
Anniversary of the founding of CREOL – and what a celebration! A technical symposium was attended by 280 people including industrial affiliates, exhibitors, guests from industry and academia, and representatives from optics and photonics professional societies (OSA
, and LIA
From left to right: Eric Van Stryland (Former Dean), Martin Richardson (Director of Townes Laser Institute), Nobel Laureates Charles Townes, Nico Bloembergen, John Hall; Bahaa Saleh (Dean), MJ Soileau (Vice President, Research and Commercialization)
Nobel Laureate Jan Hall
in the conference keynote address described the incredible array of applications of optical frequency combs, from ultra-precise clocks to super-resolution telescopes. Nobel Laureate Nico Bloembergen
gave some history of nonlinear optics (NLO), which now allows, e.g., the production of attosecond pulses and controls telecommunication systems. Fourteen distinguished speakers from the US and Europe and nine speakers from CREOL described advances in optics and photonics in areas in which the CREOL faculty members are performing state-of-the-art research. Six technical sessions covered the following topics:
- Ultrafast Optics: this covered among other topics, ultrastable microwaves, tabletop production of coherent X-rays, optical signal processing, and attosecond sources.
- High Power Lasers: as part of the Townes Laser Institute 5th year anniversary we had a summary of progress to date by the Director, Martin Richardson. Talks discussed work on fibers, ceramics lasers, additive manufacturing, volume holograms and Bob Byer discussed the history leading to these advances.
- Imaging and Display: bio-imaging, organic solar cells and 3D display technologies were discussed.
- Nonlinear Optics: besides hearing about the origin of NLO from Nico Bloembergen, we heard about NLO in microstructured media, using wide-gap semiconductors for IR detection via 2-photon absorption and how special light beams can go around corners.
- Semiconductor Lasers: talks covered polariton lasers, quantum-dot laser diodes and mode locking and nano VCSELS.
- Fiber Optics: David Payne discussed some history of optical fiber technology and what to expect in the future, and other talks discussed fiber sensors, 40 years of fiber innovations and the next challenge in keeping up with bandwidth requirements, i.e. multi-core and multi-spatial modes.
In addition to these technical talks, Jim Pearson
, who was one of CREOL’s initial Industrial Affiliates when he was at United Technologies
, and later worked in the CREOL administration, talked about our commitment to industrial relevance and partnership. Several current industrial affiliate members described how their partnering with CREOL has helped their company.
MJ Soileau, UCF Vice President for Research and Commercialization and Founder of CREOL speaking at the banquet
One of the highlight’s of the event was the banquet held on the March 15 evening and attended by 333 people, including President Hitt and Provost Waldrop and many of CREOL’s affiliates and long-time supporters. Senator Bill Nelson
made some recorded congratulatory remarks
. CREOL’s founding Director, M.J. Soileau
, gave us an entertaining history of the trials and tribulations of developing a program that eventually became the first College devoted to optics and photonics in the United States. He also reminded us of the fun of those early days when we were all focused on starting a new
‘center’ devoted to optics research and education. Ron Phillips
, who played a large role in creating CREOL and hiring MJ as its first director, was unable to attend but provided a video recording
also reminisced about the very early days. We also heard from several of our CREOL alumni about how their time at CREOL has influenced their careers. It was great fun for us to watch the video recordings.
We also celebrated the 5th
anniversary of the founding of the Townes Laser Institute
and, happily, Nobel Laureate Charles Townes
himself, at the age of 96 made a surprise trip across the country to wish us well. What a wonderful testament to crown our celebration!
Finally, Dean Bahaa Saleh
discussed what the future of CREOL may look like, and how bright it is likely to be! The future, of course, depends on the research of exceptional students such as Student-of-the-Year Nazanin Hoghooghi
and Best-Poster-Award winner Thomas Kohlgraf-Owens
. The students of today become the alumni of tomorrow; the career success and accomplishments of alumni such as Distinguished Alumni Award winner Jason Eichenholz
of Ocean Optics
, is a case in point.
All in all, everyone (that means 280 conference attendees, 333 people at dinner, and 23 exhibitors) had a great time, and we all went away with an increased knowledge of optics and photonics as well as a better appreciation of what we have here at CREOL. We thank Senator Bill Nelson for his kind remarks about our progress and thank both the OSA and SPIE for sending representatives to congratulate us on our progress. We all look forward to the next 25 years! And to more Spring Things at MJ Soileau’s “Soggy Acres” for more roast pig, alligator and libations!
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012
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