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Undergraduate Programs

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Nano-, Bio-, and Quantum Photonics at University of Rochester

REU photonics
The program “REU Site: Nano-, Bio-, and Quantum Photonics at University of Rochester” aims to create a well-defined pipeline to a career in photonics for REU participants.  There is a particular focus on underrepresented demographics, undergraduates from colleges without strong photonics research programs, and community college students—all of whom might not otherwise recognize photonics as a possible career path.

This program will engage participating students in the frontiers of photonics research in nanoscience, bioscience and quantum science while at the same time providing them with experiences to recognize the excellent career opportunities, both academic and industry based, available in photonics.  The host department is the university’s world-renowned Institute of Optics, located in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  REU participants will benefit from the Institute’s Summer School, its Industrial Associates program, and its strong ties with the local Rochester photonics industry.

Programming for the Nano-, Bio-, and Quantum Photonics REU is coordinated by the University’s David T. Kearns Center, home to a vibrant community of undergraduate summer scholars. REU students will spend nine weeks living with and learning among 60-70 other undergraduate researchers. You will conduct 300 hours of research under the guidance of one or more of the University of Rochester’s premier faculty members, attend several seminars and workshops that discuss in-depth research techniques, complex problems and finding unique solutions, as well as career opportunities and preparation. You will create academic presentations and present a final poster at the end of the summer. In addition, you will visit and enjoy the summer scene of Rochester, NY and spend time bonding with new friends. Click here to view application requirements.


REU students will experience multiple layers of mentoring.  In their research, studentwill will work closely with a faculty member and an assigned graduate student.  In addition, each REU research cohort (nano, bio, and quantum) will meet regularly with a dedicated graduate student mentor assigned to their area to discuss the broader picture.  Additionally, REU participants will also serve as mentors themselves during their summer experience, as part of a one-week summer program hosted for local high school students.  


The primary mission of the REU program is that each participant has a meaningful research experience in one of the host faculty laboratories. The assembled faculty mentor team is already active in sponsoring productive undergraduate research, with the 12 participating faculty sponsoring a total of over 110 undergraduate researchers in the past 5 years, resulting in over 20 papers.

Program Dates: May 29 to July 30, 2018

Students should review the eligibility and application requirements before applying to the program

If you have questions about this Photonics REU program, you can contact Prof. Andrew Berger at   For details about the application process or about the general REU experience at the University of Rochester, we encourage you to visit our FAQs page (covering all REUs).

2018 Research Opportunities

Faculty member
Project area (detailed descriptions here)
Andrew BergerBiomedical optics and spectroscopy
Nick VamivakasQuantum light-matter interfaces
Miguel AlonsoModeling of novel wave phenomena
Robert BoydQuantum communication
Jake BromageUltra-high power pulsed laser systems
Thomas BrownNanoscale polarization
Jaime CardenasIntegrated nanophotonics
Qiang LinNano-optomechanics
Jannick RollandOptical coherence tomography
Ben MillerNovel biosensors
James ZavislanImage-based medical instruments
Xi-Cheng ZhangQuantum terahertz (THz) light sources

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To be eligible, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Be majoring in the physical sciences or engineering with at least one year left to complete the undergraduate degree

Participants are selected based upon academic achievement and scientific interests. This project places emphasis on recruiting low-income and underrepresented minority students, students from community colleges, and student from 4-year colleges that lack comparable summer research opportunities.  

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Application Requirements

All of the following must be submitted to be considered:

  • Completed 2018 REU Online Application [Application closes February 15, 2018] (Please note that the application cannot be saved and resumed. You will need to complete it in one sitting.) (Preview application PDF)
  • Statement of purpose indicating how participation in the REU experience will fit into your long-range academic and professional goals.
  • A copy of your current resume/CV
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation

You are welcome to mention which projects seem most interesting to you, but we will understand if you feel that all of the projects sound great, too!  We will make the matches before extending offers.

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