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A preview of the future in optics was shared over two days in April at the CREOL Industrial Affiliates Symposium.

The symposium attracted top talent from around the globe and at UCF to explore and discuss topics including augmented and virtual reality; liquid crystal optical elements; and highlights of the latest glass research. It was the first in-person return of the longstanding CREOL tradition in three years.

“Our laboratories on campus are home to amazing developments in optics and photonics, but we’re just one piece of a much bigger community,” said Dean David Hagan, Ph.D. “Networking and learning from our affiliates highlights the richness of that community.”

Representatives from BEAM Co., the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and Northrup Grumman opened the symposium for a half day of lectures on Thursday, April 7. Among the featured topics was a deeper look into the development of the James Webb Space Telescope, presented by Chief Mission Architect, Jon Arenberg, Ph.D.

UCF President Alexander Cartwright, Ph.D., opened the Friday symposium, which spanned a full day of presentations. The latest advances in AR and VR displays were shown by a representative of Meta Reality Labs, followed by presentations by CREOL experts. A panel discussion on the state of the photonics industry followed.

This year’s symposium acknowledged a special United Nations declaration of 2022 as the Year of Glass, dedicating the second half of Friday to the topic. Guest speakers included Pegasus Professor Kathleen Richardson, Ph.D., who, along with Professor Leonid Glebov, Ph.D., represented the university at an official UN kickoff in Geneva, Switzerland, in February.  Both Richardson and Glebov shared their insights into glass, followed by a student talk on “Optical Fibers for Extreme Performance: Shaping Glass Composition and Geometry.” The Optimax Grant for Research Award was next presented to Stephen Eikenberry, followed by student poster presentations and lab tours of the CREOL building.

“It was great to be reunited with old colleagues and make new friends,” Hagan said. “This event offered a lot of optimism and encouragement around the growth of our field, and the success of CREOL.”