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 July 29, 2013

New University/Industry Partnership Will Advance Optical Science and Engineering

Jannick Rolland optical partnershipA new center led by the University of Rochester will receive over $4 million in combined federal, industry and academic funding to advance the emerging area of freeform optics. Freeform optics could transform 21st century optical science. It could allow for a wider range of shapes for lenses and mirrors, which until recently had been mostly limited to spherical shapes, and they could be targeted to their use. Although the production of freeform surfaces became possible just a few years ago, researchers have already identified broad applications, including mobile displays, LED lighting, remote sensing devices and astronomical instrumentation.

"Freeform optics research is applied research and is best done in collaboration with industry - the new center will make this possible," said Jannick Rolland, director of the center and the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering at Rochester, and BME secondary professor. Rolland also stressed the role that the center will play in educating optics graduate students. "Innovation in this area will require industry to have well-trained employees who can understand the fundamental research and also how to apply it."