Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Laser professionals, build your skills with Laser Pronet

Seeking to provide a "productive laser workforce," as more than 90% of laser and photonics industry incumbents do not have academic/professional credentials in their field, according to founder Sydney Sukuta, Ph.D., partners with laser companies to arm professionals with the tools they need to become certified. The tools aim to yield greater efficiency, client engagement, and a competitive edge in product knowledge.

The tools in Laser Pronet's arsenal to certify employees include webinars, employee screening exams, short courses, and a free employee referral list for companies seeking qualified employees (as opposed to placement agencies, which can cost beaucoup bucks).

Sukuta, who also serves as Laser Pronet's lead instructor, has taught at Fresno State University, University of Nevada-Reno, University of Phoenix, and San Jose City College, among others. He also delivers laser courses at the Photonics West and LEOS Annual conferences, and has worked for some laser manufacturers in Silicon Valley, where he saw firsthand the issues they encounter on a daily basis, he says. So he developed prescriptive short courses to help absolve most of these issues.

For more information, please visit

Monday, April 9, 2012

LASER Classroom brings STEM curriculums to light

LASER Classroom (Minneapolis, MN), touted as the Classroom Laser Resource, recognizes that few Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics (STEM) K-12 educators--even those with physics backgrounds--have experience with photonics.

To tackle this, the company plans to offer a three-volume curriculum for high-school classes that engages students by getting them excited about light and lasers (for me, any reference to Star Wars--an icon of my 1980s childhood--would've gotten my attention) and makes connections to STEM areas. In science, the lessons in the curriculum teach about lighting concepts, while the math lessons allow students to apply those concepts appropriately. It's not available until October of this year, but the company offers a free sample of Volume One that's available now.

With the goal of bringing safe laser technology to K-12 classrooms, the company created Laser Blox to enable easy, safe classroom demonstrations and student activities. To become available this month in red, green, and violet wavelengths, the laser modules are magnetic, stackable, and won't roll off surfaces when set down. In the classroom, the violet version can be used to explore fluorescence--by shining it through a bottle of tonic water, students can watch its quinine (a white, crystalline alkaloid that provides the beverage's flavoring) glow. And stacking three green Laser Blox allows students to create a ray box.

For more information, check out

Monday, March 12, 2012

OP-TEC provides lots of OP-portunity

The National Center for Optics and Photonics Education--known as OP-TEC--is a consortium of two-year colleges, high schools, universities, national laboratories, industry partners, and professional societies funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF's) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. Located at the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD; Waco, TX), OP-TEC formed to meet the constantly growing need for technicians in optics and photonics, according to the organization.

OP-TEC serves secondary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs and postsecondary programs devoted to lasers, optics, and photonics technologies. It provides support through curriculum, instructional materials, assessment, faculty development, recruiting, and support for institutional reform; offers teaching materials; encourages more schools and colleges to offer programs, courses, and career information; and helps high school teachers and community and technical college faculty members develop programs and labs to teach technical content.

The organization prides itself on its ability to bring optics and photonics outreach to people of different walks of life as well, again noting its overall goal of making the study of optics and photonics more widely accessible.

For more information, please visit

Friday, March 2, 2012

Start your business plan off with a 'bang'

UC Davis' Graduate School of Management (Davis, CA) hosts an annual competition, Big Bang!, to foster student entrepreneurship--perfect for photonics and biophotonics research and development (R&D).

Run by MBA students at the university, Big Bang! is an educational experience that begins in October and lasts until May each year. Teams consisting of various technical and business disciplines and/or mentors found in faculty, alumni, and other community professionals use the entire period to develop their business plan. During the period competitors have access to workshops that help to get their plans going, too.

It's surprising to see that more universities aren't doing this, especially with the surge of biophotonics R&D right now working towards smaller, cheaper devices and higher-resolution imaging techniques to save more lives. Helping to commercialize these technologies faster is key, and Big Bang! could help to make them known.

While it's too late to join this year's competition, keep it in mind for next year. For more information, please visit

Friday, January 27, 2012

OSA helps put interns to work

The OSA recently launched an “Internship Gateway” on its resource, which allows students seeking internships with optics and photonics companies to upload their résumés, browse available job listings, and even create custom job searches to find the job that best suits them. If hired as interns, students can gain valuable experience before entering the workforce—preparing them to understand the day-to-day of an office routine, the lab, or the manufacturing floor.

Companies also benefit from the site, too: They can submit internship openings, search an extensive database of student résumés to find ideal candidates, and evaluate students as potential full-time employees.

For more information, please visit

Thursday, January 19, 2012

OSA Foundation, Edmund Optics team to support student chapters

Through the OSA Student Chapters, bright, energetic, and highly motivated students get involved in academic and professional networking activities and lay a foundation for successful careers in optics. The chapters, located at more than 250 leading institutions around the world, conduct a wide range of programming, including youth education outreach to local communities.

To encourage strong relationships between OSA Student Chapters and the corporate sector, the OSA Foundation (OSAF) created the "Adopt a Student Chapter Program." By "adopting" student chapters, organizations support the academic and professional endeavors of post-secondary and graduate students and help them to become the professional and philanthropic leaders of tomorrow. To learn more about the program, please contact OSAF (see contact information below).

One participating company, Edmund Optics (EO) - a producer of optics, imaging, and photonics technology for over 70 years - is providing financial support to four student chapters in China and India. They are:

Fudan University, China
Hyderabad Central University, India
Tsinghua University, China
Zhejiang University, China

OSA's "Adopt-a-Student Chapter" Program complements Edmund's professional outreach program. In 2011 Edmund awarded $60,000 in grants to universities across the globe and started its "Optics Superhero" program designed to recognize the contributions of outstanding professionals in optical design, engineering and applications.

Last August, EO's Clark Harris presented a talk on careers in optics at the highly successful CIOMP/OSA International Summer Session: Lasers and Their Applications on the campus of the Changchun Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (Changchun, China). Approximately 100 students representing 13 countries took part in the week-long experience that included lectures, networking opportunities, and poster presentations. Video-recorded lectures from the CIOMP event can be freely viewed online.

Edmund Optics is a global optics and imaging company that manufactures and supplies the worldwide technical community with precision optical components and subassemblies. Led by a staff of skilled optical engineers and scientists, EO is application-focused and pursues new ways to implement optical technology, enabling advancements in semiconductor manufacturing, industrial metrology, and medical instrumentation. EO's precision products improve efficiencies and yields and are used in test and measurement quality assurance applications, the automation of manufacturing processes, and research.

Since its founding in 1942 as a supplier of optics and other science items for hobbyist and educational use, EO has become well known as a catalog-based distributor of industrial optics and related products, as well as a source for much more- including application integration, custom lens and coating design, and OEM services. EO's contributions have advanced a range of fields from semiconductor manufacturing and industrial metrology to medical instrumentation, telecommunications, and biometrics.

Headquartered in Barrington, NJ, EO maintains an Arizona research and design center, as well as New Jersey and Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities that support the company’s expanding international presence that includes sales offices, procurement offices, manufacturing facilities, or representatives in: Japan, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Singapore, South Korea, Israel, and Switzerland.

The OSA Foundation (OSAF) was established in 2002 to support philanthropic activities that help further the OSA's mission by concentrating its efforts on programs that advance youth science education, provide optics and photonics education to underserved populations, provide career and professional development resources, and support awards and honors that recognize technical and business excellence. The grants funded by the OSAF are made possible by the generous donations of its supporters, as well as the dollar-for-dollar match from the OSA. For more information, visit

GRACE KLONOSKI is the Senior Director, Foundation, Membership & Education Services for the Optical Society of America, 2010 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036; email:;

Monday, January 9, 2012

Education in all things photonic

Welcome to our education addition to the OptoIQ website.

OptoIQ ( now offers a gateway for anyone interested in pursuing education in all aspects of optics and photonics, from the basics of lasers and detectors to next-generation optical communications, super-resolution microscopy, and ultrafast materials processing.

This addition to the site brings together news from universities and student research groups, regular blogs from our staff and the community, current grants and awards announcements, and links to resources such as directories of photonics programs and lists of job openings.

Professionals working in the field will be able to learn about further training in optical technologies and products, prize opportunities, and best practices and standards.

We’re very excited about this new photonics education site and have many plans for its future. Please let us know what you think of it and how it can serve the community.