News & Events


Doctoral Student Wins Kidger Award

May 18, 2017

Jonathan PapaCongratulations to University of Rochester PhD student Jonathan Papa, recipient of the 2017 Kidger-Moore Outstanding Achievement Award. This prestigious award will be presented to Jonathan at the International Optical Design Conference (IODC) in Denver in July for his outstanding achievement in optical design. The Michael J. Kidger Memorial Scholarship was established in 1998 to honor Michael Kidger, a well-respected teacher and member of our technical community. This award is an independent scholarship overseen by a select committee of leading individuals in lens design and the Michael Kidger family. It is intended for students in the field of optical design working towards a master’s degree or doctorate.


Institute Graduate Justin Schultz Wins 2017 Dissertation Award

May 3, 2017

Justin SchultzJustin Schultz, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute, was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Dissertation Award for Engineering at the University of Rochester.  In addition to the recognition of an outstanding dissertation is a monetary award of $1000.  Schultz was advised by Professor Nicholas Bigelow of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute of Optics.  His dissertation research was in the field of Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs).


Institute Startup Highlighted in Science Coalition Report

April 26, 2017

Krystel Huxlin and Wayne KnoxA new report from the Science Coalition, “American-Made Innovation Sparking Economic Growth,” highlights one of the many ways investments in basic scientific research benefits the overall economy: the formation of new companies.   One of the startups featured in the report, Clerio Vision, was founded in 2014 by Researchers Wayne Knox (right) and Jon Ellis with the Institute of Optics, and Krystel Huxlin (left) with the Flaum Eye Institute in the Medical Center.


Jonathan Ellis Wins Major NSF Award for Freeform Optics

April 17, 2017

Jonathan EllisProfessor Jonathan Ellis of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Institute of Optics,  and the Center for Freeform Optics was recently awarded an NSF CAREER award in the amount of $500,000. The award is part of the NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development Program. “The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.1”  Prof. Ellis’s proposal was on “Breaking the freeform optics metrology barrier with synthetic wavelength interferometry.” The project will empower optical designers and manufacturers with metrology methodologies that can measure advanced freeform optics.


Femtosecond Video Imaging

March 30, 2017

Electron microscope images of a metal surfaceInstitute of Optics researchers Chunlei Guo, Anatoliy Vorobyev, and Ranran Fang have developed a technique to create video images of the changes on a metal surface as they are bombarded by femtosecond laser pulses.


2016 - The year in review

January 3, 2017

Waving the Institute flag at commencement 20162016 has been a year of achievement with research awards, fellowships, special workshops, and even sporting events.  As we begin 2017 with excitement, the Institute Director, Xi-Cheng Zhang, reflects on the many exciting events of 2016:


Researchers Explore Regeneration in Critical Layer of Cornea

December 12, 2016

3D image of a human corneaOn the back side of the cornea is a single layer of cells that play an all-important role, maintaining just the right fluid balance to keep the cornea transparent so light can enter the eye.


Undergraduate David Lippman Learns Optics and Culture in Germany

December 5, 2016

David Lippman, class of 2018Undergraduate David Lippman ’18 of The Institute of Optics spent this past summer as an intern at Arnold & Richter Cine Technik (ARRI) in Munich, Germany.  The 100-year-old company engineers and manufactures movie cameras, lenses, lights, and other motion picture technology.  David was able to do both lab research and computer programming — and came back with some new ideas about what he might do with his career.  Read more here.


Robert Boyd Named IEEE Fellow

November 28, 2016

Robert Boyd demonstrating the Robert Boyd, professor of optics, has been elevated to Fellow of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the world’s largest association of technical professionals.  The distinction is reserved for select IEEE members for extraordinary accomplishments in their field.  Boyd’s citation is for contributions to the fields of nonlinear optics and photonics.  Professor Boyd is also a fellow of the Optical Society of America and a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Professor Boyd joined the faculty of the Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester in 1977 and is presently Professor of Optics and Professor of Physics.  He has published approximately 350 research papers, holds nine US patents and has supervised the PhD theses of 33 students.

In 2010, Boyd was awarded a highly competitive Canada Excellence Research Chair at the University of Ottawa.  He currently directs a major research center at the University of Ottawa while still maintaining a significant research presence at the University of Rochester.

He received a bachelor of science degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in 1977 received a PhD degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley.  His PhD thesis work was supervised by Professor Charles Townes and involves the use of nonlinear optical techniques for infrared detection.


Stronger Terahertz Waves Allow Safer Detection of Hidden Objects

September 1, 2016

Terahertz waves penetrate a teapotKang Liu, a PhD student in optics, and Xi-Cheng Zhang, the M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics and director of the Institute of Optics, collaborated with Tzortzakis Stelios' group in Greece on an ingenious way to extend the "reach" of terahertz waves with an unconventional laser beam, called a ring-Airy beam. “It makes possible the remote sensing of chemical, biological, and explosive materials from a standoff distance,” Xi-Cheng explains, making this a promising tool for Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies. Read more here.


A Welcome from the Director

August 30, 2016

Xi-Cheng Zhang, Director of the InstituteAs we start the 2016 fall semester, it is my pleasure to welcome all new and returning students, faculty, staff and members of The Institute.  The Institute of Optics was founded in 1929 as the first Optics education program in the United States of America. Here we continue to educate generations of leaders in the ever-growing field of Optics, and provide unparalleled advancements through research. Whether you are new, or a returning member of The Institute, I congratulate you on the decision to pursue your dreams and aspirations here. While you are here, The Institute of Optics is your home, and you will now always be a part of a strong academic community.


Professor Nick Vamivakas Awarded Tenure

August 30, 2016

Nick studied electrical engineering at Boston University and received his PhD in 2007.  During this time he developed high resolution microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to study the electro-optic properties of individual nanostructures.  Following his PhD, he was a postdoctoral fellow from 2007-2011 in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.


'Optical spring' detects single molecules

August 30, 2016

Image from the Yu et al. paper.


High School Students Explore and Create at the 2016 Photon Camp

July 19, 2016

High school student presenting her poster.Local high school students had a fun and educational week at the 2016 Photon Camp.  Photon Camp is a free, one-week program where rising high school juniors and seniors can explore the growing field of optics and optical engineering.  Students spend the week attending faculty lectures, visiting local optics industry sites, and working in the Institute of Optics laboratories.


Mandel Fellowship Awarded to Nick Vamivakas for Quantum Optics

July 14, 2016

Professor Nick Vamivakas in his labProf. Nick Vamivakas has been awarded the two-year Leonard Mandel Faculty Fellowship from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, where Nick has a secondary appointment.  This fellowship was founded in honor of Professor Leonard Mandel (1927 — 2001) by many of his former students and colleagues worldwide.  It recognizes excellent work on the topics within quantum and classical optics which were most important to Mandel, with the goal of encouraging more work, especially among our junior faculty.


Master’s Program Propelled Amy Frantz's Career in New Directions

July 8, 2016

Amy FrantzWhile pursuing a master’s degree at The Institute of Optics, Amy Frantz learned real-world skills -- and made connections that landed her a job with a leading producer of optics, imaging and photonics technology.