Giving to CREOL CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics
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 and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) and became a graduate 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).

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, as well as imaging, sensing and display. These technologies have applications in manufacturing, communication, biology and medicine, energy and lighting, and defense. Advanced topics such as nanophotonics, attosecond optics, plasmonics, and biophotonics are embraced as areas of strength and future growth. World-renowned for their scholarly contributions to fundamental and applied optics and photonics, the faculty have published 34 books and more than 4,000 journal papers with more than 100,000 citations. Many are recipients of prestigious national and international awards.

CREOL was initially founded to promote growth in optics and related fields 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 support from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and Enterprise Florida. The CREOL Industrial Affiliates Program has attracted 201 different industrial members since its founding. The faculty have produced 307 patents, and spun off 28 photonics- based companies involving a wide variety of technologies.

Highlights of 2017 include the addition of new faculty members. Dr. Xiaoming Yu joined the college as Assistant Professor in Spring 2017. He received the Ph.D. from Kansas State University and his research focuses on laser-based advanced manufacturing, particularly ultrafast micro- and nano-fabrication. Dr. Ronald Driggers joined the faculty at the rank of Professor, with a part- time appointment at IMEC. Prior to coming to UCF, he was Superintendent of the Optical Sciences Division at the Naval Research Laboratory. An expert in electro-optical and infrared imaging system, and Founder and CEO of St. Jones Optical Systems, Driggers is Fellow of OSA and SPIE, and has been Editor- in-Chief of Applied Optics since January 2015. Kumar Patel joined the faculty as University Distinguished Professor (part time). Patel has made outstanding lifelong contributions to laser science and technology including the invention of the CO2 laser.

The BS program, which began in Fall 2013, received accreditation from ABET. In AY 2016-17, 106 undergraduate and 132 graduate students were enrolled, and 15 Ph.D. degrees and 16 M.S. degrees were awarded. Graduate students continue to receive national scholarships, fellowships, travel grants, and best papers/poster awards. Ayman Abouraddy and Patrick LiKamWa were promoted to Full Professor.

In 2017, Aravinda Kar became member of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Kathleen Richardson received the George W. Morey Award from the American Ceramic Society, and the Sir Richard Brook International Award from the European Ceramic Society. Sasan Fathpour became Fellow of OSA. At the university level, David Hagan received the Pegasus Professor Award, and Mercedeh Khajavikhan received the Reach for the Stars Award. At the college level, Khajavikhan received the Teaching Incentive Award and Sasan Fathpour received the Research Incentive Award, as well as the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. The Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award went to Axel Schülzgen and the Excellence in Research Award to Kathleen Richardson. Dennis Deppe and Winston Schoenfeld became members of the UCF Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.

This year, the research conducted by the CREOL faculty, students, and scientists was disseminated nationally and internationally in 3 book chapters, 201 journal papers, 23 papers in Nature journals, 2 in Science and 6 in Optica. Research and educational programs were funded by contracts and grants totaling approximately $12M in FY 2017. Our tradition of innovation has also continued. In 2017, the faculty were inventors or co-inventors of 14 issued patents.

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 a leg up on industry positions after they graduate. The 2017 Industrial Affiliates Day events were attended by 275 guests and 23 exhibitors; the students presented 27 posters, and 4 short courses were offered. CREOL maintains an ongoing relation with its alumni and holds regular alumni reunions at key conferences. The CREOL Association of Optics Students (CAOS) has maintained its strong involvement in outreach and professional development. Another highlight of 2017 is the Florida Science Olympiad, which was held at UCF in March and in which CREOL was a key participant.

Bahaa Saleh

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