THE INTERSECTION OF BUSINESS AND PHOTONICS TECHNOLOGY
MILTON CHANG of Incubic Management was president of Newport
and New Focus. He is currently director of mBio Diagnostics and Aurrion.
He is a Trustee of the California Institute of Technology and has served on
the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies and the
Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology of the National Institute of
Standards and Technology, and the authoring committee of the National
Academies’ Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation.
Chang is a Fellow of IEEE, OSA, and LIA. Direct your business,
management, and career questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and check out his book Toward Entrepreneurship at www.miltonchang.com.
Joining research, teaching,
and entrepreneurship to advance
I interviewed Dr. Bahaa Saleh because he heads one of major optics
and photonics teaching colleges in
the U.S. He is dean & director, professor of optics at the
College of Optics and
at the University of
Central Florida (UCF).
Prior to CREOL, he
was the chair of the
department of electrical and computer engineering (ECE)
at Boston University
and deputy director
of the Bernard M. Gordon Center
for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging
Systems. His current research is in statistical and quantum optics and image science.
Milton Chang: Tell us about
CREOL and UCF.
Bahaa Saleh: What you may not
know is that UCF is the second
largest public university in the
U.S. with over 60,000 students.
CREOL started in 1987 as the
Center for Research and Education
in Optics and Lasers and became
the College of Optics and Photonics
in 2004. It is home to the Florida
Photonics Center of Excellence
(FPCE), the Townes Laser Institute
(TLI), and the Institute for the
Frontier of Attosecond Science and
Our principal function is to educate and train the workforce that meets
industry needs at a local and national level and keeps industry growing. The
College (CREOL) has 31 faculty members, 55 research scientists, 158 graduate students, and 40 undergraduate students; it graduates about 20-25 PhDs
and 20 MS students annually. Last year, we started a new BS
program in Photonic Science and Engineering (PSE).
MC: An engineering degree in photonics?
BS: The purpose of this new engineering degree program
is to prepare the next generation of engineers for the growing optics and photonics industry, which, as you know, has
a broad set of applications. We have structured the curriculum to be a partnership with the College of Engineering and
Computer Science, and it is expected to be accredited as an
MC: What would a degree in photonics add? Most of us do not feel handi-
capped coming from electrical engineering and physics areas.
BS: The degree gives students the breadth of a general engineer with some specialization in optics and photonics. In the first two years, we introduce students to courses in electromagnetics, electronics, communication, and signal
processing. Building upon this knowledge, in the junior and senior years, the
students will be introduced to optics, optoelectronics, optical fiber communication, and 2D signal processing (imaging), and lasers.
One of our key strategic goals is to develop and grow this nascent BS program. We will promote a BS-MS degree aiming at providing industry with a
professional engineer with optics expertise. A side benefit is an increase in MS
students, which will also increase the number of PhD students to meet the
planned growth of our research.
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