The Center for Freeform Optics
An Industry/University Cooperative Research Center

Center for Freeform Optics awarded another five years of NSF funding through August 2023

Led by Jannick Rolland, the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering at the Intitute of Optics, University of Rochester, the Center for Freeform Optics is a collaboration involving researchers at our Institute of Optics and Department of Mechanical Engineering, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and 17 companies and research institutes. The goal is to advance the use of lenses and mirrors with freeform surfaces to create optical devices that are lighter, more compact, and more effective than ever before.

Achievements during the first five years include:

  • A new methodology, published in Nature Communications, that removes much of the guesswork in designing freeform optics.
  • Two hardware prototypes completed.
  • Seven patents awarded.
  • Total annual revenues in excess of $1 million.
  • An increase in participating companies and institutes from an initial 8 to 17.

It is also worth noting that over 40 percent of the students involved in the center are women.

Information on the NSF awards for each site can be found here: UR and UNC Charlotte.