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Univ. of Central Florida Laser Center Awarded $4.5M

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ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 17, 2006 -- The University of Central Florida (UCF) laser research center received $4.5 million in funding and a designation as a state Center of Excellence on Thursday.

UCF’s Florida Photonics Center of Excellence (FPCE) laser technology initiative is one of six research centers approved unanimously by the state Board of Governors, which oversees Florida’s public universities.

The Laser Technology Initiative, located at UCF's main campus in East Orlando, builds on the base established by the FPCE, UCF said. Its focus on new compact and efficient high-power lasers, laser materials and laser-based technologies will make Florida the center for laser-based technologies and industries, said Eric Van Stryland, director of the FPCE and one of the initiative’s lead researchers with Martin Richardson, university trustee chair and Northrup Grumann professor of x-ray optics.

The center will focus on three areas: lasers for the defense and medical industries and on laser-manufacturing technologies.

“These awards were established to invest in programs that offer a significant return in terms of increasing technology-based companies and jobs in the state,” said M.J. Soileau, UCF’s vice president for research in a statement.

The Florida Legislature set aside $30 million for university-based centers of excellence as part of an effort to establish the state as a leader in key emerging technology areas. A separate proposal from the FPCE was the top-rated project funded in 2003, the first and last time the awards were given.

“The success of the Florida Photonics Center of Excellence in leveraging $10 million in state funding into $41.5 million of investment, including three new companies and 40 patent applications, is exactly the type of return the program was created for,” Soileau said.

Van Stryland said that, in addition to the latest and most efficient technology, the defense industry needs solid science to show what is possible and highly educated workers to run new equipment.

In medicine, the center will provide an interface between laser technologies that are already available for uses such as precision surgery, including endoscopy and new cardiovascular techniques, and the medical profession. New precision manufacturing techniques that can result in faster and more efficient computer chip production already exist at the FPCE.

“We’re very excited about this opportunity to help Florida pull ahead in these three prime areas for economic growth,” said Van Stryland, who is dean of UCF’s College of Optics and Photonics.

The other centers selected for funding are a biomolecular and therapeutic center at the University of South Florida, an ocean energy technology center at Florida Atlantic University, an energy technology incubator at the University of Florida, a center for nano-bio sensors at the University of Florida and a center in advanced materials at Florida State University.
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Nov 2006
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...
BiophotonicsdefenseEmploymentFlorida Photonics Center of Excellence Laser Technology InitiativeindustrialNews & FeaturesphotonicsSensors & DetectorsThe University of Central FloridaUCF laser research center

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