Tuesday, July 28, 2015

UCF Awarded Department of Energy Grant to Inspire Collegiate Clean Energy Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Cleantech Innovation in the United States

To:  Florida Photonics Cluster members
A news announcement from one of our FPC members and great supporters that may be of interest to you and/or some of your colleagues.

Jim Pearson, FPC Executive Director


Good afternoon!
The University of Central Florida (UCF) has been awarded a grant from the Department of Energy (DoE) to help inspire the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs. UCF will serve as one of eight regional Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) competition sites and will facilitate a yearly collegiate challenge and cultivate an ecosystem to support clean energy entrepreneurs from Florida and across the Southeast United States. Additional funding details and program activities are anticipated to be announced soon. Please see the full press release below. Thank you and please contact me with any questions.
Best Regards,
Christa Santos


407-882-1576
July 27, 2015

News Release  
                                                                                          
For Immediate Release

UCF Awarded Department of Energy Grant to Inspire Collegiate Clean Energy Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Cleantech Innovation in the United States
University to serve as one of eight regional sites to support the Cleantech University Prize, a new DoE initiative
designed to cultivate an ecosystem of cleantech innovation and commercialization

(ORLANDO, FL) –The Central Florida region is on its way to becoming one of the country’s premier areas for the development of innovative clean energy technologies and solutions, due to the efforts of the University of Central Florida (UCF), with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).  UCF recently has been awarded a grant from the DoE to help inspire the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs and cultivate an ecosystem of innovation and commercialization in the region.

Through the recently launched Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP), a new DoE-supported initiative to accelerate the rate of clean energy innovation in the nation, UCF will serve as one of eight regional Cleantech UP competition sites and will facilitate a yearly collegiate challenge and cultivate an ecosystem to support the clean energy entrepreneurs from Florida and the entire Southeast United States.  Additional funding details and program activities are anticipated to be announced soon.  

“We are excited to be selected by the DoE to serve in a leadership role in driving clean energy innovation,” said Thomas O’Neal, PhD, associate vice president at UCF’s Office of Research and Commercialization.  “Cleantech UP is an exciting new effort that will allow us to continue the momentum in building a clean energy infrastructure within the region and inspiring students in this field.”

The UCF Office of Research and Commercialization (UCF ORC) has extensive experience coordinating cleantech-oriented programs and competitions and cultivating appropriate support networks and infrastructure. In addition, the university features a history of implementing high impact, entrepreneurially focused curricula.   Most recently, UCF worked closely with the DoE on implementing two cleantech focused efforts –an annual cleantech accelerator which was designed to identify and support promising cleantech technologies throughout the Southeast, and the Florida Cleantech Acceleration Network (FL-CAN), which created a statewide support network and “proof of concept” center for cleantech entrepreneurs.  These programs served more than 200 ventures that went on to raise more than $5M in follow-on funding on their paths to commercialization.

As a result of the success of these previous programs and its reputation within the regional cleantech community, UCF will soon launch its Cleantech UP effort, explained Jack Henkel, assistant director of the Venture Accelerator Lab within the (UCF ORC).

“Our annual collegiate clean energy competition through Cleantech UP will be branded Megawatt Ventures,” said Henkel, who is helping to coordinate the program.  “We’re going to draw upon our experiences and the best practices that we established with our previous efforts to successfully encourage student-led ventures to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency related technologies, to compete in this annual competition.”

Each year, the Megawatt Ventures competition will recruit ten collegiate teams from throughout the Southeast to compete for $50K in seed funding and an opportunity to advance to a national competition and earn additional funding. UCF will utilize its network of established relationships to promote the Challenge, gather industry and technology specific mentors and expand the network further to attract the most talented teams in the region.
Through their participation in the program, the teams will be provided educational and training materials to help commercialize their technology with a focus on startup and growth strategies for new energy ventures. Teams will receive personalized strategic business coaching, introductions to potential customers and partners, investment pitch guidance and technology transfer support services.

“A key aspect of Megawatt Ventures is its focus us on bringing together investors, experienced entrepreneurs, faculty-researchers, students, regional incubation programs and industry partners,” said Dr. O’Neal. “This aggregation of relevant stakeholders, combined with the seed funding opportunities, will increase the likelihood of success for the companies, and will create a sustainable support infrastructure for participants that will extend beyond the competition.”

UCF will work with the national Cleantech UP Hub, Spark Clean Energy, as well as the seven other regional Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions hosted by the California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Clean Energy Trust, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rice University, Rutgers and the University of California-Berkeley.
For additional information please contact Jack Henkel, MegaWatt Ventures coordinator atjack@ucf.edu or by phone 407-882-0663.

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About the UCF Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship:

The University of Central Florida Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (UCF CIE) is a university wide program consolidating and coordinating major innovation and entrepreneurship support activities with the objectives of: Education, Research and Outreach. Its goal is to leverage university and regional partnerships to create an effective entrepreneurial support infrastructure in the Central Florida Region, with a mission to promote innovation, wealth creation, and economic vitality. The UCF CIE programs include:  Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF, GrowFL, UCF’s Business Incubation Program, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Innovation Corps (I-Corps), Office of Technology Transfer, and the Venture Accelerator Lab.  Connect at cie.ucf.edu.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Seminar: "Threshold Power and Fiber Degradation Induced MI in High Power Fiber Amplifiers Based on LMA Fiber" by Nathan Kurz 7.24.15/1:00-2:00pm/ CREOL RM 103

Seminar: "Threshold Power and Fiber Degradation Induced MI in High Power Fiber Amplifiers Based on LMA Fiber" by Nathan Kurz
Friday, July 24, 2015 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
CREOL Room 103

Celebrating the International Year of Light 2015

Nathan Kurz
Lockheed Martin Laser Systems

Abstract: 
We report on two types of modal instabilities (MI) observed in high power Yb amplifiers based on Large Mode Area Fibers. The first MI is observed as a decrease in beam quality or reduced core light output as higher order modes leak into the fiber cladding.  The second type of MI is observed for certain cases where the fiber initially operates without any sign of MI but then degrades over an extended operating time. Experiments on degraded fiber show a wavelength dependent permanent change in the degraded fiber with a memory of the original operating wavelength.

Biography:   
Nathan Kurz received his PhD in 2010 from University of Washington working with laser-cooled trapped barium ions for quantum computation, followed by a post doc working on a high precision electric dipole moment search in atomic mercury.  He has been working at Lockheed Martin for three years in support of high power programs specifically focusing on improving the overall efficiency and robustness of fiber lasers for a fieldable beam-combined system.

For additional information:
Dr. Kenneth Schepler
Research Professor

Thursday, July 9, 2015

LPTH Press Release: LightPath Technologies Announces Major Growth for its Custom Designed Specialty Products

LightPath Technologies Announces Major Growth for its Custom Designed Specialty Products


Specialty Products group sales has more than doubled from prior year driven by demand for merchandise used in medical applications for laser cataract removal and other applications

For Immediate Release:

ORLANDO, FL – July 9, 2015 --LightPath Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPTH) (“LightPath,” the “Company” or “we”), a leading vertically integrated global manufacturerdistributor and integrator of proprietary optical and infrared componentsand high-level optical sub-systems, announced today that it has experienced significant growth as a result of  orders with several original equipment manufacturers to produce high volume custom designed optical lens products.  This recurring value added business has contributed to the growth of the Company’s Specialty Products segment which in 2015 has more than doubled in sales as compared to the same period in 2014.  The segment now accounts for more than $2.9 million in annual revenue. 

The three primary product segments for LightPath include Custom Design Specialty Products, Aspheric Molded Lenses and Infrared.  The growth of the Specialty Products group highlights LightPath’s capabilities, technical expertise and the positive effect of the change in sales strategy announced in February of this year. Sales of optical sub systems, mounted lenses, optical arrays, Gradium lenses and Fiber Delivery Systems, which comprise this segment, has grown 161% in annualized revenues for LightPath.

Jim Gaynor, President and Chief Executive Officer of LightPath, commented, “Due to the continued efforts to improve our sales strategy, ongoing product innovation and value added to our customers we are seeing the results of these energies in obtaining an increased number of orders with major defense, medical, scientific, laser tools and measurement system partners around the world.  Our total addressable markets have been expanding and new opportunities are being created for continued incremental growth.”

LightPath has been selected as the OEM optics design and manufacture partner for increasingly complex and challenging technical product developments and projects.  Offering a talented team of experienced optical designers and engineers, LightPath is able to provide lens design, prototyping, testing and precision lens manufacturing services of the highest quality and excellent value.  Smaller sized lenses are increasingly being sought after for confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, DNA sequencing, and medical imaging applications.  Based on research published in the Laser Focus World market report in April 2015, products developed for the medical industry alone have resulted in markedly increased demand for optical product technologies, which are available from LightPath from its operations in the United States and China.

LightPath continues to develop improved capabilities for its product line that will cover most requirements in the commercial and military high-volume and small-size application markets.  LightPath is working closely with customer partners to develop both build-to-print and custom optics for new markets.  Product descriptions and other information on these products can be found at www.lightpath.com (click here).

About LightPath Technologies:

LightPath Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPTH) provides optics and photonics solutions for the industrial, defense, telecommunications, testing and measurement, and medical industries. LightPath designs, manufactures, and distributes optical and infrared components including molded glass aspheric lenses and assemblies, infrared lenses and thermal imaging assemblies, fused fiber collimators, and gradient index GRADIUM® lenses. LightPath also offers custom optical sub-systems, including full engineering design support.  For more information, visit www.lightpath.com.


This news release includes statements that constitute forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding our ability to expand our presence in certain markets, future sales growth, continuing reductions in cash usage and implementation of new distribution channels. This information may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, factors detailed by LightPath Technologies, Inc. in its public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required under the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, we do not have any intention or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

TOMORROW!! Seminar: "The Photonic Lantern" by Dr. Sergio G. Leon-Saval 6.30.15/ 1:00-2:00pm/ CREOL RM 103

Seminar: "The Photonic Lantern" by Dr. Sergio G. Leon-Saval
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
CREOL Room 103

Celebrating the International Year of Light 2015

Sergio G. Leon-Saval

Abstract:
The photonic lantern is a low-loss optical waveguide device that connects one multimode waveguide to several waveguides that each support fewer modes. Further, photonic lanterns are mode convertors/transformers with low loss, that can also introduce mode selectivity, scale to many modes, and can be easily integrated with current technologies. In this talk we will review how photonic lanterns are made, how they work and some of the design principles to be understood in these type of devices.

Biography:
Sergio G. Leon-Saval was awarded his PhD by the University of Bath, UK, in 2006. In October 2007 he joined the Optical Fibre Technology Centre (OFTC) in Sydney, Australia. In 2009, he moved to the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS), University of Sydney, Australia where he is currently part of the IPOS Executive Committee; a faculty member of the School of Physics; and Director of the Sydney Astrophotonics Instrumentation Laboratory (SAIL). He has more than 12 years of experience in the area of photonic devices and astrophotonics; during that time he has been involved in several breakthroughs related to multimode photonics, optical fibre technology and astronomical instrumentation. He has direct experience on the fabrication, modelling, and development of optical devices and instrumentation, understanding both the theoretical and experimental aspects. Dr Leon-Saval has co-authored over 55 international refereed journals and more than 100 conference papers and two books chapters since 2004 with over 2661 citations, and a h-index of 25.

For additional information:
Dr. Rodrigo Amezcua Correa

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Seminar: "Pushing the limits in glass properties and structures for laser, sensing and nonlinearity applications by Dr. Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem 7.10.15/12:00-1:00pm/ CREOL RM 103

Seminar: "Pushing the limits in glass properties and structures for laser, sensing and nonlinearity applications by Dr. Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem
Friday, July 10, 2015 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
CREOL Room 103

Celebrating the International Year of Light 2015

 http://www.creol.ucf.edu/NewsEvents/Attachments/Events/1062/Professor%20Heike%20Ebendorff-Heidepriem.jpg
Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem
Associate Professor 
Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing,
The University of Adelaide, Australia 

Abstract
Speciality optical fibres are of growing interest for a diverse applications including lasing, sensing and nonlinear processing. Both glass properties and fibre structures are used to tailor the fibre properties. Hence, there is increasing demand for creating novel glass properties and new structures to improve and extend fibre performance. In addition to optical properties, thermomechanical properties play a key role in the suitability of glasses for practical applications. This talk reviews the progress in pushing the limits in glass properties and fabrication of fibre structures.
Depending on their glass composition, glasses exhibit a wide range of optical properties such as linear refractive indices of 1.4-2.8, nonlinear refractive indices spanning three order of magnitude over of 1017-1020 m2/W and transmission windows that are situated within 200nm – 20┬Ám. Recently, incorporation of nanocrystals such as nanodiamond has gained significant attention as a pathway to add functionality to glass.
The glass fabrication conditions have a significant impact on the material loss of glass. For example, large amount of research has been dedicated to reduce water content in heavy metal oxide glasses to access the intrinsic infrared transmission of these glasses.
A range of techniques has been used to fabricate nano/microstructured fibres. Recent progress in extrusion has extended significantly the range of fibre structures that have been made as well as the range of materials that have been exploited for fibre fabrication. In addition, ultrasonic drilling and milling of preforms opened up new structures. Another technique to create microstructure into glass is direct laser writing of regions with modified refractive index. This technique enabled creation of low-loss waveguide into ZBLAN fluoride glass.
The talk will also present opportunities of different glasses and structures for diverse range of applications spanning fluoroindate fibres for mid-infrared transmission, fluorozirconate waveguides as chip lasers, tellurite microspheres for nanoparticle sensing, heavy metal oxide glass fibres for nonlinear optical processing, suspended and exposed core fibres for different sensing platforms.

Biography
Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem received the Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of Jena, Germany, in 1994. She subsequently held two prestigious fellowships and was received the Weyl International Glass Science Award. During 2001-2004 she was with the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, UK. Since 2005, she has been with the University of Adelaide, Australia. Currently, she is one of the leaders of the Optical Materials & Structures Theme and the Deputy Director of the Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing. Her research focuses on the development of novel optical glasses, fibres, surface functionalization and sensing approaches.

For additional information:
Guang-Ming "Derek" Tao

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Seminar: "The Photonic Lantern" by Dr. Sergio G. Leon-Saval 6.30.15/1:00-2:00pm/ CREOL RM 103

Seminar: "The Photonic Lantern" by Dr. Sergio G. Leon-Saval
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
CREOL Room 103

Celebrating the International Year of Light 2015

Sergio G. Leon-Saval

Abstract:
The photonic lantern is a low-loss optical waveguide device that connects one multimode waveguide to several waveguides that each support fewer modes. Further, photonic lanterns are mode convertors/transformers with low loss, that can also introduce mode selectivity, scale to many modes, and can be easily integrated with current technologies. In this talk we will review how photonic lanterns are made, how they work and some of the design principles to be understood in these type of devices.

Biography:
Sergio G. Leon-Saval was awarded his PhD by the University of Bath, UK, in 2006. In October 2007 he joined the Optical Fibre Technology Centre (OFTC) in Sydney, Australia. In 2009, he moved to the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS), University of Sydney, Australia where he is currently part of the IPOS Executive Committee; a faculty member of the School of Physics; and Director of the Sydney Astrophotonics Instrumentation Laboratory (SAIL). He has more than 12 years of experience in the area of photonic devices and astrophotonics; during that time he has been involved in several breakthroughs related to multimode photonics, optical fibre technology and astronomical instrumentation. He has direct experience on the fabrication, modelling, and development of optical devices and instrumentation, understanding both the theoretical and experimental aspects. Dr Leon-Saval has co-authored over 55 international refereed journals and more than 100 conference papers and two books chapters since 2004 with over 2661 citations, and a h-index of 25.

For additional information:
Dr. Rodrigo Amezcua Correa

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

National Photonics Initiative

In this Issue

IP-IMI Progress

Advocacy on Capitol Hill


White House BRAIN Initiative

Leadership Changes
During the first half of 2015, the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) has had remarkable success in advancing the photonics agenda in Washington. The NPI walked the halls of Congress educating lawmakers about photonics and advocating for critical funding; members of the NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group were invited by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to present the group’s technology road map during a BRAIN Initiative meeting; and the Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IP-IMI), the culmination of over a year of work from the NPI, is expected to be announced this month.
Within the NPI, we welcome new leadership in Alan Willner following the conclusion of Tom Baer’s fantastic chairmanship in March. Alan has long served as a member of the NPI Steering Committee and brings to the NPI a wealth of photonics knowledge and passion. Tom will continue to serve the NPI as a member of the Steering Committee and chair of the Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group.
Progress on the Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IP-IMI)
The NPI eagerly awaits the final selection from the Department of Defense (DOD) for the consortium awarded the IP-IMI; the decision is expected to be announced in June. While the NPI did not endorse any specific IP-IMI proposal, we find all three finalists – led by University of Central Florida, University of Southern California and the Research Foundation for the State University of New York – to be excellent candidates and look forward to working with the awardee to help ensure its long-term success.

The IP-IMI is the culmination of over a year of work from the NPI which began with several iterations of a white paper and conversations with OSTP, the result of which was a recommendation made by the NPI to the administration for a photonics prototyping and advanced manufacturing facility. “Strategic Request: A National Photonics Prototyping and Advanced Manufacturing Facility to Ensure Economic Growth and National Security” was submitted by the NPI to OSTP in February 2014, and opened the door to conversations between the NPI and DOD.

In June 2014, DOD announced a Request for Information (RFI), the first step in the process of creating a new public-private innovative manufacturing institute (IMI) as part of the President’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). In the RFI, DOD listed technological areas under consideration, which included photonics for the first time. The NPI hosted a webinar that included a DOD official and spurred the optics and photonics community to respond. The RFI led to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to support the establishment of an IP-IMI to advance the design, manufacture, testing, assembly, and packaging of complex photonic integrated circuits that combine a variety of photonic and electronic components to achieve functionality.

The NPI and its supporting societies, the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), the Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), are prepared to support the IP-IMI, and by association work with the DOD, by leveraging the platforms, programs and resources of these societies. The NPI looks forward to continuing its role as an advocate for the photonics community and continuing to serve as a private sector resource for the DOD as it moves forward with its IP-IMI selection process.

Advocating for Photonics on Capitol Hill
National Photonics Initiative, the Hill fly-in
From right to left: Tom Battley, Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez, Filipp Ignatovich and Alexander Mitropoulos with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
For the second year in a row, the NPI participated in Congressional Visits Day (CVD) – a two-day event in March that brings scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, and technology executives to Washington to raise visibility and support for science, engineering, and technology. CVD is coordinated by coalitions of companies, professional societies and educational institutions and it is open to all who believe that science and technology comprise the cornerstone of our nation's future.

On behalf of the NPI, society members and volunteers fanned out across Capitol Hill to meet with and lobby lawmakers on the importance of photonics. Turnout this year was great with 30 individuals visiting over 50 congressional offices. Key messages discussed in congressional meetings included:
  • Reauthorize the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act, which invests in innovation through research and development and improves US competitiveness.
  • Support funding for the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act, which passed in 2014 and authorizes the establishment of several Centers for Manufacturing Innovation. The NPI asked Congress to support America’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem by providing $150 million in funding to NIST for the NNMI program for FY 2016.
  • Support the President’s budget request for science R&D funding within the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, as well as an overall funding increase for science and technology programs within the Department of Defense (DOD).
National Photonics Initiative, the Hill fly-in
From right to left: Krisinda Plenkovich, SPIE; Rich Vohanel, Corning; Farzan Ghaur, Vardex Laser Solutions; Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ); Naresh Chand, Huawei; and Tyler Morgus, Thorlabs.
We have already seen some quick results from discussions with lawmakers: in the House Energy Appropriations bill, it was included that DOE support, “Highly Integrated Photonics to accelerate computing research leading to exascale computing while reducing computing energy consumption by a factor of 100 or more;” in late May, the House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill which directs $675 million to NIST and $5.98 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF); and, in the House COMPETES bill, it was included that “Longstanding United States leadership in supercomputing, genomics, nanoscience, photonics, quantum physics, and other key technological areas is jeopardized if United States investments in basic research in the natural sciences do not keep pace.” The NPI will continue to work with our elected officials in Washington to push for the inclusion of photonics and photonics-related funding in current and upcoming legislation.
NPI Participates in White House BRAIN Initiative Meeting
National
Photonics Initiative, the Hill fly-in
Eugene Arthurs, SPIE CEO, Tom Baer, NPI past-president, and Elizabeth Rogan, OSA CEO, attended the White House BRAIN Initiative meeting on September 30, 2014.
On March 27, 2015, the NPI was invited to participate in another meeting of the White House Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group Chair Tom Baer was joined by other members of the NPI group including Steve Laderman of Agilent and Mark Schnitzer of Stanford University. The NPI was one of only a handful of non-funding agencies represented at the meeting. Funding agency participation included officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
During the meeting, the NPI provided industry and academia perspectives on the important role that optics and photonics will play in helping achieve the administration’s BRAIN Initiative goals. Tom Baer also presented a draft technology road map produced by the NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group. The final road map, presented to OSTP on May 1, 2015, detailed recommendations derived from in-depth discussions and information gathered from optics and photonics industry leaders, prominent researchers, and agency program managers who attended several NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group meetings over the course of the past six months. The NPI hopes the road map will launch public/private collaborations, provide insight from Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group industry partners on areas of technology development they are actively pursuing, and illuminate potential areas for economic growth within the US. To read NPI’s “A Technology Road Map for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative,” click here.
The NPI previously launched the Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group in 2014 alongside officials from the White House and OSTP in support of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative. The NPI Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group – consisting of top US industry leaders in optics and photonics including Accumetra, LLC, Agilent, Applied Scientific Instrumentation, Coherent, Hamamatsu, Inscopix, Inc., Spectra-Physics and THORLABS – announced that it is committing upwards of $30 million in existing and future research and development (R&D) spending over the next three years to advance optics and photonics technology in support of the BRAIN Initiative.
Under the leadership of the NPI, the industry consortium is working closely with national BRAIN Initiative leadership and neuroscience research communities to help achieve the administration’s objective of revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.
Leadership Changes at NPI
In March, Tom Baer stepped down from his role as the first chairman of the NPI Steering Committee. During his tenure, Tom built a stronger, more united optics and photonics community. His commitment launched the NPI, helped to shape the future IP-IMI and created a unique role for the optics and photonics industry in the White House BRAIN Initiative. Our community is deeply grateful for Tom's dedication, hard work, guidance and commitment to photonics. Tom will continue to serve the NPI as a member of the Steering Committee and chair of the Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group.

The NPI welcomes its new Steering Committee Chair Alan Willner, who has served on the committee since its inception. Alan currently serves as the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chaired Professor of Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC). Alan also serves as the Associated Director for the Center for Photonics Technology at USC, is a member of the Defense Sciences Research Council, a 16-member body that provides reports to the DARPA Director and Office Directors, and was co-chair of the US National Academies Committee on the Optics and Photonics Study (also called Harnessing Light II). In addition to experience serving on several scientific advisory boards for small companies and advising venture capital firms, Alan founded Phaethon Communications where he worked as CTO. Alan is currently serving as the President-elect of the Optical Society.

Along with Alan, the NPI Steering Committee is comprised of:

Eugene Arthurs – SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE)
Phil Bucksbaum – Stanford University
Tom Baer - Stanford University
Meredith Lee – Stanford University
Bob Lieberman - Lumoptix LLC
Jason Mulliner – Edmund Optics
Liz Rogan – The Optical Society (OSA)
Matt Weed – Open Photoincs, Inc.


Laura Kolton of OSA and Krisinda Plenkovich of SPIE are the committee staff liaisons.

Contact Us

The NPI is interested in hearing from you. Are you interested in joining our efforts? Do you have questions? Need additional information? Please contact Laura Kolton at (202) 416 1499 or lkolto@osa.org, or Krisinda Plenkovich at (360) 685 5518 or krisindap@spie.org.