Optical Engineering

Optical engineering uses classical optics techniques to create novel devices and instrumentation, and the Wyant College of Optical Sciences leads the field in designing and fabricating highly specialized optics. OSC maintains state-of-the-art facilities and a superb technical staff for grinding, polishing, measuring and aligning the world’s most challenging mirrors — including those for astronomical telescopes. Students work side-by-side with experienced professionals on extensive, distinctive projects like the Giant Magellan Telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and OSIRIS-REx, an unmanned space probe that will launch in 2016, land on an asteroid and return to Earth with a material sample.

To view past updates, see the Research Updates Archive.


Optical Engineering Research Updates

1) Solidstate Laser Beam Steering Technology for Lidar

Date Published: June 21, 2022

A recent publication from Takashima Lab on LIDAR is address laser beam steering by motion-less and solid-state MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) device, Texas Instruments Phase Light Modulator (TI-PLM).

The research team demonstrated a quasi-continuous and multi-points beam steering by TI-PLM. The beam steering concept is expected to achieve more intelligent and adaptive lidar system by replacing a bulky thus slow scanning LIDARs with a fast and light ones with a mass produced Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) device.

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Long exposure of simultaneous scanning of two Region of Interests (ROIs)

Long exposure of simultaneous scanning of two Region of Interests (ROIs). With respect to the y-axis, ROIs are defined as (a) symmetrical with equal area, (b) asymmetrical with equal area, and (c) asymmetrical with non-equal area.

2) Optical Enhancement of Diffraction Efficiency of Texas Instruments Phase Light Modulator by Talbot Imaging-Based Pixel Matching for Infrared LIDAR Beam Steering

Date Published: February 22, 2022

Periodicity of the Computer Generated Holograms (CGHs) for beam steering makes it possible to utilize the Talbot self-phase-image of the CGH to enhance the diffraction efficiency in the infrared domain. First, the phase CGH pattern is displayed on Texas Instrument Phase Light Modulator (TI-PLM). The Talbot image formed by the periodic phase CGH is superimposed on top of the PLM itself by light recycling optics employing polarization. The architecture doubles phase modulation by a factor of two, which enables using TI-PLM designed for visible wavelength for infrared laser beam steering for lidar applications. View the Presentation at Photonics West 2022 here. Download the conference proceedings.

Authors include: Zhipeng Dong, Eunmo Kang, Jiafan Guan, Xianyue Deng, Chuan Luo, Yuzuru Takashima, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)

Schematic optical system to enhance diffraction efficiency by employing Talbot image and light recycling

Schematic optical system to enhance diffraction efficiency by employing Talbot image and light recycling.

3) Here's How OSC is Creating One of the Most Powerful Telescopes on Earth

Date Published: June 22, 2021

Researchers at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences (OSC) are helping to build what Daewook Kim, Ph.D., an OSC professor who specializes in optical engineering science, calls the “telescope of the future.” “We are trying to redefine what we can do on the ground in terms of looking at space,” Dr. Kim said. Intended to be one of the most powerful telescopes on Earth, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will have a primary mirror 24 meters across, and it will be about 100 times more powerful in terms of light collection capability and enable 10 times higher imaging resolution than the Hubble Space Telescope. It will be installed at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, a location with good viewing conditions more than 300 nights a year.

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Optics Site Image

Underneath the stands of the Arizona Wildcats Football Stadium, engineers of UArizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab manufacture the world's largest and most lightweight telescope mirrors. At the center of the process is a giant spinning furnace, the only one of its kind. Damien Jemison, Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

4) Gigapixel and 1440-Perspective Extended-Angle Display by Megapixel MEMS-SLM

Date Published: November 6, 2020

A recent publication from Takashima Lab., “Gigapixel and 1440-perspective extended-angle display by megapixel MEMS-SLM” demonstrates a drastic increase in pixel counts of a display device for AR/VR and lidar application. A novel time multiplexed and pulsed illumination method effectively squeezed giga-pixel (109 pixels) output from a commercially available mega-pixel (106 pixels) display device while routing image into different directions. The increased information and light routing mechanism enables high density image generation with lower power consumption and in a smaller form factor for AR/VR devices.

Additional Resources

Full Paper

Movie 1

Movie 2

Optics Site Image

 (a), (c) Angle-dependent 3D renders made in Blender; (b), (d) corresponding projections. Humanoid by Michał Hokiroya Korczyk (artstation.com/hokiroya), and tiger by Daniel Bystedt (artstation.com/dbystedt). Artwork used with permission.

5) Single-Chip Holographic Beam Steering for LIDAR by a Digital Micromirror Device with Angular and Spatial Hybrid Multiplexing

Date Published: July 27, 2020

A recent publication from Takashima Lab., “Single-chip holographic beam steering for lidar by a digital micromirror device with angular and spatial hybrid multiplexing” was selected as an Editors’ Pick of Optics Express, July 2020 issue 15. The team demonstrated a novel single-chip lidar system by using a mass produced display device, Digital Micromirror Device. The system captures object location and distance with a high frame rate of 7.8 fps, and is expected to realize a solid-state lidar by using well-developed and mass-manufactured display devices. Read the full article.

Watch the movies here: Movie 1 | Movie 2

Optics Site Image

A beam (colored green, not depicting wavelength) in incident onto a DMD, coarse-steered across 5 diffraction orders (colored red), and fine-steered by binary grating on DMD (not shown). The single positive cylindrical lens, filter array, and 3-element positive cylindrical lens array comprise the single-sideband filter. The final 5-element negative cylindrical array compensates for the FOV fill-factor 

Optical Engineering Faculty

Brandon Chalifoux

Assistant Professor of Optical Sciences

Olivier Guyon

Astronomer, Steward Observatory Professor of Optical Sciences

Daewook Kim

Associate Professor of Optical Sciences

R. John Koshel

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Professor of Practice

Meredith Kupinski

Assistant Professor of Optical Sciences

Tom Milster

Professor of Optical Sciences

Michael Nofziger

Professor of Practice Outreach Coordinator

Travis Sawyer

Assistant Professor of Optical Sciences

Jim Schwiegerling

Robert R. Shannon Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences Professor of Optical Sciences