Welcome to CREOL

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. World- renowned for their scholarly contributions to fundamental and applied optics and photonics, the faculty have published a total of 34 books and more than 4,200 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 205 different industrial members since its founding. The faculty have produced 309 patents, and spun off 28 photonics- based companies involving a wide variety of technologies.

Highlights of 2018 include the recruitment of Dr. Miguel Bandres whose appointment as Assistant Professor began in January 2019. Dr. Bandres received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Technion in Israel. His research interests include novel optical beams and topological photonics. Sasan Fathpour was promoted to Full Professor, and Romain Gaume and Mercedeh Khajavikhan were promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

Sadly, 2018 witnessed the passing of Emeritus Professor Boris Zeldovich at the age of 74. Zeldovich made outstanding contributions in research and education in optics and photonics and has been a great asset to the College for more than two decades.
The BS program, which began in Fall 2013, and received accreditation from ABET in 2017, continues to grow. In AY 2017- 18, a total of 140 undergraduate students were enrolled in the program. Graduate enrollment was 132, and 12 Ph.D. degrees and 21 M.S. degrees were awarded. Graduate students continue to receive national scholarships, fellowships, travel grants, and best papers/poster awards.

In 2018, Demetrios Christodoulides received the OSA Max Born Award. At the university level, Aristide Dogariu received the University Trustee Chair award and Kathleen Richardson received the Pegasus Professor award. In addition, Rodrigo Amezcua Correa received the Reach for the Stars Award.


At the college level, Patrick LiKamWa received the Teaching Incentive Award and the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. Stephen Kuebler received the Research Incentive Award. The Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award went to Shin-Tson Wu and the Excellence in Research Award to Rodrigo Amezcua Correa. Ayman Abouraddy, Zenghu Chang, Patrick LiKamWa and Bahaa Saleh 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, 189 journal papers, including 18 papers in Nature journals, 2 in Science and 7 in Optica. In FY 2018 research and educational programs were funded by contracts and grants totaling approximately $17M. Our tradition of innovation has also continued, and the faculty and students were issued 14 patents.

Partnership with industry continues to be strong. Approximately $4.4M 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 2018 Industrial Affiliates Day events were attended by 293 guests and 21 exhibitors; the students presented 30 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 2018 is the Florida Science Olympiad, which was held at UCF in March and CREOL was a key participant.

This annual report provides an overview of the education, research, and partnership activities of the faculty, staff, and students in 2018. Key data are also compared to previous years to show progress and identify trends. Academic data are reported for the academic year AY 2017-2018 (Summer 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018). Fiscal data, grants, and patents are reported for the fiscal year FY 2018 (July 2017–June 2018). Publications are reported for the 2018 calendar year. The report also highlights a number of selected research contributions. Information on more recent activities are reported regularly in the College’s website. We hope you can find the information you need in this Annual Report or on the website.