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  • Carolinas Consortium Formed
Jun 2007
CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 29, 2007 -- Bridging the gap between research and commercialization is the goal of an agreement by members of the Carolinas Photonics Consortium (CPC): the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), North Carolina State University, Western Carolina University, Clemson University and Duke University.

UNCC said in a statement that more than $300 millions in state and federal funds has been invested in CPC over the last five years, making it the largest concentration of photonics-based resources in the country. The CPC Inter-Institutional Agreement is "the foundation for collaborative university work aimed at the commercialization of photonics or light-based technologies," it said.

Sarah Smith, director of sponsored programs for the University of North Carolina General Administration, said, "The Carolinas Photonics Consortium has been very active in involving researchers across the five campuses and has moved quickly in establishing a strong collaboration. The region will see significant new business creation as a result."

"There is a classic gap between great research and realization of the commercial opportunity," said Jeff Conley, interim director for the CPC. "CPC provides a bridge to move technology to the marketplace by engaging a world class collaboration of universities and providing some important seed money to get the commercialization process started."

"Photonics-based technologies are used in a wide array of everyday products, including: DVD players, long-distance communication, medical and dental surgeries, dashboard lighting, missile guidance and garage-door sensors. Photonic technologies are being used to complement or replace electronics in almost every facet of our lives. Recent advances include high-intensity lighting, biochemical detection, high-powered lasers for manufacturing needs and early cancer detection," the university said. 

Each of the five consortium members has programs in photonics. North Carolina State University’s strengths are in photonic devices, optoelectonic and semiconductor materials and information technology. The Center for Optoelectronics and Optical Communications at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a core competence in microoptics and modeling of optical systems. Western Carolina’s Center for Rapid Product Realization provides prototyping, testing and design expertise for new product scale-up. The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics at Duke has research programs in biophotonics, nano- and micro-systems, nanophotonics and quantum optics and information. Clemson’s Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET) is focused on the development of novel optical materials.

A project proposal program will be formally announced in August. The new program will provide seed funding for one photonics-based project from each campus over the next 12 months, with the goal of identifying top commercial prospects and awarding funds to competitively submitted proposals from the five campuses. Commercialization support and company development will be provided by the Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Program (TEC) at North Carolina State University.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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