Robert Norwood

Professor of Optical Sciences
Robert Norwood Headshot

Meinel 533
Wyant College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
1630 E. University Blvd.
P.O. Box 210094
Tucson, AZ 85721-0094


  • University of Arizona:
    Wyant College of Optical Sciences, Professor, 2009 - present
    Wyant College of Optical Sciences, Research Professor, 2004-2009
    College of Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Enginieering, Professor, 2018-present
  • Photon-X:
    Vice President/Chief Technology Officer, 1999-2004
  • Allied Signal (Honeywell):
    Senior Technical Leader, 1998-1999
    Senior Project Leader, 1996-1998
    Senior Research Scientist, 1995 – 1996
  • Hoechst Celanese:
    Staff Physicist/Project Leader, 1993-1995
    Senior Research Physicist, 1990-1993
    Research Physicist, 1988-1990
  • Hoechst Japan:
    Supervisor, Advanced Technology Laboratory, 1992
  • Haverford College:
    Visiting Instructor, 1988
  • University of Pennsylvania:
    Research and Teaching Fellow, 1983-1988

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • American Chemical Society: Chemistry of Materials, Reviewer  
  • American Institute of Physics: Applied Physics Letters, Reviewer
  • American Institute of Physics: Journal of Applied Physics, Reviewer
  • American Physical Society: Member
  • APS Division of Laser Sciences/IEEE Photonics Society/OSA: Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, Program Committee, Member, 2002-2004 
  • IEEE: Member
  • IEEE: IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, Associate Editor, 2010-present
  • IEEE Communications Society/IEEE Photonics Society/The Optical Society (OSA): Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition, Program Committee, Member, 2003-2005 
  • IEEE Communications Society/IEEE Photonics Society/OSA: OFC, Subcommittee D Chair, Optical Switching and Wavelength Routing Devices, 2006 
  • National Science Foundation: Review Panelist, 2005
  • Organic Thin Films: Program Co-Chair, 1999-2000 
  • Organic Thin Films ’02 and Polymer Photonic Devices, Program Committee, Member, 1998-2002
  • OSA: Fellows Committee, Chair, 2010
  • OSA: Fellows Committee, Member, 2009
  • OSA: Journal of the Optical Society of America B: Reviewer  
  • OSA: Optics Letters, Reviewer 
  • OSA: Optical Materials Express, Associate Editor, 2011-present
  • SPIE:  Linear and Nonlinear Optical Properties of Organic Materials VI Conference,  Chair, 2004-2006
  • SPIE: Linear Optical Properties of Fibers and Waveguides Conference, Chair, 1999-2003

Awards and Honors

  • Optica: Fellow, 2008
  • SPIE: Fellow, 2008


  • OPTI 553 "Nonlinear Photonics"
  • OPTI 439A/539A "From Photonics Innovation to the Marketplace"

Specific Research Interests 

  • Polymer optical interconnects
  • Infrared optical materials
  • Silicon photonics
  • Polymer/nanoparticle composites
  • Solar energy systems
  • Fiber lasers
  • Liquid photonics
  • Plasmonics
  • Tunable optical filters
  • Mulitphoton microscopy
  • Nonlinear optical materials

Research Summary

The Photonic Materials and Devices Lab (PMDL) is dedicated to the development of new materials for photonics, with a focus on information technology. The next generation of photonic technologies will require new, low-cost, high-performance photonic materials for data communication, imaging and sensing — the PMDL and its principal investigator, Robert A. Norwood, have a long history of developing polymer-based photonics technologies, based both on passive optical polymers and advanced nonlinear optical polymers. Over the last five years the PMDL has focused primarily on novel chalcogenide polymer materials (developed by the Pyun group) with applications in infrared imaging and infrared integrated photonics, as well as photonic materials/technologies that enhance the silicon photonics platform. The lab receives funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Air Force Research Lab and major corporations, among other entities.


  • Ph.D., physics, University of Pennsylvania, 1988
  • B.S., mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1983
  • B.S., physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1983