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David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering

Institute of Optics
2014 Xerox Research Opportunities


Prof. Robert Boyd
Institute of Optics

Research Project: Quantum cryptography using the orbital angular momentum states of light
In this project, we will encode quantum information single photons of light. This means of transmitting information is highly immune to interception by an eavesdropper, because the information is impressed on a single photon. Any attempt to measure the properties of this photon would necessarily modify its quantum state. A specific goal of our approach is to encode many bits of information onto each photon. In this way the data transmission rate can exceed the photon transmission rate. We will encode this excess by making use of the transverse structure of the electromagnetic field and specifically by making use of states that carry orbital angular momentum, such as the Laguerre-­-Gauss modes of the field.


Prof. Duncan Moore
Institute of Optics

Research Project:
Professor Moore's major areas of research are in gradient-index materials, computer-aided design (including design for manufacturing methods), the manufacture of optical systems, medical optics (especially optics for minimally invasive surgery), and optical instrumentation. His most recent Ph.D. thesis student topics hav e been: very high efficiency solar cells; polymer gradient index optics; built-in accommodation system for the eye; terahertz imaging; generalized three-dimensional index gradients; single-point diamond turning of glass; design methods for gradient-index imaging systems; effect of diffusion chemistry on gradient-index profiles formed via sol-gel; quantitative phase imaging in scanning optical microscopy; integration of the design and manufacture of gradient-index optical systems; and interferometric characterization of the chromatic dispersion of gradient-index glasses.


Prof. Jannick Rolland
Institute of Optics

Research Project #1: Imaging and Sensing with Laser Light  
The objective of this project is to bring biophotonics technology developed in our laboratory known as Gabor Domain Optical Coherence Tomography to the clinic and show clinical value of the images acquired for various clinical applications. Main applications of focus are Mohs surgery, a surgical procedure performed in dermatology to remove cancer, and non invasive corneal imaging for Ophthalmology. Part of this project is to decide how the system may also need to be changed to best serve the work flow in the clinic. The research thus involves planning the engineering of the next system generation, while starting to collect ex-vivo and in-vivo clinical data. This project would be a really good fit for a student in BME with a minor in optics.

Research Project #2: Metrology of Freeform Optics
The objective of this project is to analyze a current optical setup developed to perform metrology of freeform optics. While we recently demonstrated that the shape of wild freeform surfaces may be acquired , key to the success of this emerging technology is to understand what limits accuracy. This project will involve fabrication of freeform optics using state of the art fabrication equipment of the R.E. Hopkins Center and Mechanical Engineering. The motto is "If you can't measure it, you can't make it".


Prof. Nick Vamivakas
Institute of Optics

Research Project #1: On-chip quantum photonics  
Recent advances in material science have made it possible to engineer physical structures with characteristic length scales of a few to tens of nanometers. The ability to tailor a structure’s geometry and material composition at these lengths directly influences the exhibited optical, electrical and mechanical properties ushering in an era where it is necessary to consider the quantum behavior of a material’s excitations in device design and development. Quantum dots are nanostructures that result when a semiconductor’s elementary electronic excitations, excitons (Coulomb bound electron-hole pairs), are confined in all three dimensions to a size that is comparable to the exciton’s effective Bohr radius – just a few nanometers. The confinement is typically introduced by embedding one semiconductor material into a second semiconductor with a larger bandgap. A manifestation of the quantum confinement is a discrete spectrum of optical transition energies, observable both in optical absorption and emission, resulting in quantum dots being referred to as artificial atoms. The objectives of this project will be accomplished by marrying state-of-the-art resonant optical spectroscopy techniques with advanced nanoscale fabrication procedures to realize quantum dot devices exhibiting controlled quantum mechanical behavior in geometries suitable for on-chip quantum photonics. The student will be involved in device design aided by computer simulations and optical characterization of the fabricated devices.

Research Project #2: Optomechanics with optically levitated nanocrystals
Experimental progress in the optical control of mechanical systems has reached a degree of sophistication where it is now possible to observe truly quantum effects. To date most investigations have focused on mechanical resonators that are rigidly clamped to a support structure. We are currently pursuing a different approach where the mechanical oscillator is an optically levitated nanocrystal situated in the focus of a high numerical aperture objective. By removing the support typical of clamped mechanical resonators the oscillator is freed from decoherence and thermalization imparted from the support. Remarkably these mechanical resonators exhibit quality factors that can approach ~1012 and sub-aN/√Hz force sensitivities. We are looking for a summer student to assist in one of two aspects of the project. We are interested in developing an approach to engineer the wavefront of the optical beam used to form the optical trap. Spatial light modulators will be used as a means to modify the beam’s spatial profile. Exotic landscapes for particle levitation will be designed and implemented. The student will be responsible for computer control of a spatial light modulator, modeling of generated focal field distributions, and laboratory implementation of the optical trap.


Prof. Geunyoung Yoon
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Optics, and Center for Visual Science

Research Project #1: Myopia Progression: Role of Optical Quality of the Eye
Myopia is one of the leading causes of visual impairment worldwide and is linked to severe eye diseases such as maculopathy, retinal detachment and glaucoma. The overall prevalence of myopia has increased substantially in recent years. With higher levels of myopia becoming a significant public health concern, it is of crucial importance to find effective treatments to slow myopic progression in children. Among many potential factors such as genetics, visual environment, accommodative ability, our research focus is on understanding how optical quality of the eye impacts on the progression of myopia. Our hypothesis is that non-optimal ocular optics e.g. wavefront aberration can cause myopia and the progression can be controlled by optimizing image quality across a wide range of retinal eccentricity. A high-resolution ocular wavefront sensing and advanced vision correction technology will be used to quantify an aberration profile and its impact on retinal image quality in myopic eyes compared to normal eyes. It is also our interest to perform a longitudinal study where the changes in the optical profile of the eye over a long period of time will be determined to investigate their relationship with refractive error development.

Research Project #2: Multimodal Tear Imaging for Dry Eye Research
Dry eye is a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface and tears, resulting in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance, and instability of the tear film with the potential for ocular surface damage. It is recognized as one of the most common ocular disorders affecting many patients aged 50 years and older. Current clinical measurement techniques used for dry eye evaluation is a critical barrier to effectively diagnosing and treating the disease because they are often invasive and ineffective to comprehend the complex interplay between tear film, ocular surface and environmental variations.  We use the state-of-art multimodal tear imaging technology developed in the laboratory for the accurate and objective assessment of the tear parameters and their response to controlled environmental changes. The multimodal tear imaging technology such as tear surface topography/wavefront sensor, ocular surface optical coherence tomography, imaging ellipsometer and thermal imaging will be used to characterize the tear. The project also involves development of various computer algorithms to analyze tear images automatically.


Prof. Xi-Cheng Zhang
Institute of Optics

Research Project: 
Please visit here for a description of current research.





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FEBRUARY 14, 2014