The Center for Freeform Optics (CeFO) is an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) focused on the vertical integration of mathematics, optics, optical science, materials science, optomechanics, precision optical manufacturing and testing, and instrument design to transform the optics industry in the 21st century by enabling freeform optics to permeate optical technologies of the future. This center constitutes a unique research environment for advanced technologies combining the strengths of two top-tier research universities with the experiences, insights, and needs of international industrial talent specialized in innovation supporting the manufacturing, integration, and implementation of advanced optical systems.
This is a critical time for the creation of a Center for Freeform Optics. Apart for a few pioneering special cases, it is only in the last five years that industry has accomplished the manufacture of the first generation of freeform surfaces. With NSF’s support, it was only in 2012 that our understanding of aberrations of fully non-symmetric optical systems and surfaces emerged. In combination, these two events create a 100-year opportunity. The first fundamental understanding of the design and fabrication of optical lenses came in 1885 when Schott, Zeiss, and Abbe joined forces to combine emerging understanding in the science of glass and aberrations with new applications, microscopes and cameras. The creation of CeFO will create a fertile, dynamic, inclusive multidisciplinary environment to move this technology to the forefront.
The University of Rochester and UNC-Charlotte are equal-opportunity institutions. Your partnership with CeFO will produce immediate access to advanced techniques to design, fabricate, test, and assemble the freeform optics systems of the future. It will support the training of future engineers and scientists, who will themselves soon be mentors in a world where the impact of science and engineering has no boundaries.