Scott Carney

Professor of Optics
Director of the Institute of Optics
PhD in Physics, University of Rochester, 1999

113 Wilmot Building
(585) 273-0113
Fax: (585) 244-4936

Short Biography

P. Scott Carney is the 11th Director of The Institute of Optics, effective July 2017.  He earned a PhD in Physics (1999) from the University of Rochester; his advisor was Professor Emil Wolf.  Scott’s early career included an internship at the Rome Air Development Center Photonics Lab at the now-closed Griffiss Air Force Base, classes taken at Hamilton College, and a bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics (1994) from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  After a post-doc at Washington University in St. Louis, he returned to his undergraduate alma mater as faculty in ECE at Illinois where he taught for 16 years.

Scott has an established record of commitment to creating opportunities for students at all levels and from all backgrounds.  At Illinois, he oversaw the expansion of their senior capstone course to more than 400 students per year, while maintaining individual excellence and a high level of personal attention to each student.  He was the Rose Education Innovation Fellow, in which capacity he led and participated in multiple teaching initiatives to improve writing and presentation skills, develop communities of practice and mentor new faculty.  He served as Interim Director of the new degree program, Innovation, Leadership, and Engineering Entrepreneurship (ILEE) at Illinois, creating a new paradigm for engineering education and the way we frame what an engineering career looks like.

Serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Optical Society of America A, Scott is active in the Optical Society.  Together with Urs Utzinger from our great sister school, the University of Arizona, Scott was the 2014 Program and 2016 General Co-chair of Frontiers in Optics.  He continues to support both OSA meetings, such as Mathematics in Imaging, as well as non-OSA meetings, such as Near Field Optics.

In addition to his academic and societal endeavors, Scott cofounded Diagnostic Photonics, Inc., a medical device company bringing to market some of the innovations to come from his university research.  Diagnostic Photonics makes a hand-held surgical microscope that renders 3-D views of tissue at the cellular scale.  They recently published results of a clinical trial in which the instrument was used to inspect the margins of excised breast tumors.

Research Overview

Scott is primarily an applied theorist, but will do experiments in a pinch.  He considers himself a generalist, but is lately focused on problems in computed imaging, spectroscopy, and coherence theory.  His major career accomplishments include modeling of tip-sample interactions in near-field microscopy and the solution of related inverse problems, solution of the inverse problem for optical coherence tomography (OCT) and the subsequent invention of interferometric synthetic aperture microscopy (ISAM) and the recent development of synthetic optical holography (SOH).  He has made contributions to spectroscopy and the correction of spectroscopic data to account for the effects of scattering and propagation.  In addition to ongoing interest in all of these areas, he also maintains focus on problems in nonlinear enhanced spectroscopy.