Edmund Optics awards 2010 Higher Education grants

Edmund Optics (EO; Barrington, NJ, USA), provider of optical components to industry and academia, has announced the winners of its 2010 Higher Education Grant program. Selected from more than 250 applicants, the first-, second-, and third-place finalists receive grants of $10,000, $7500, and $5000, respectively, in EO products to support their research and educational activities. An additional 11 finalists will receive matching grants of $500 for purchase of EO products.

The 2010 Grant program made its initial selection of 14 finalists by evaluating applications for the innovation, technical impact, industry benefit, and educational benefit of their projects. In-depth personal interviews resulted in the final selection of Lori Goldner, professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Armand R. Tanguay, Jr., professor of electrical engineering, materials science, biomedical engineering, and ophthalmology at the University of Southern California (USC); and Corey Shemelya, a graduate student in electrical engineering at Tufts University, as the top three "Optics Superheroes" for this year's grant.

Third-place award recipient Shemelya is working on the development of optical tools for the evaluation of materials used in photovoltaic and thermophotovoltaic power generation. The tools will support his research into material selection and processing for the fabrication of these two different device structures.

Tanguay is developing an ultra-miniature camera that can be implanted in the human eye and connected via a microelectrode array to the retina, with the ultimate goal of restoring sight to the blind. The degree of camera miniaturization required is made possible by studies of the visual psychophysics of human vision in the low resolution limit, which in turn relaxes key imaging constraints. This project involves an interdisciplinary collaboration with retinal surgeon Dr. Mark S. Humayun at USC.

First-place recipient Goldner is developing state-of-the-art optical equipment that allows microscopic examination of single biomolecules and their interactions with their environment. Tightly focused laser beams serve as "optical tweezers" to position sub-micron-sized droplets of fluid that contain the molecule, acting as a tiny test tube. Goldner can then investigate the structure and actions of the molecule using a confocal fluorescence microscope. Ultimately, the studies will aid in the development of more effective drugs and advanced nanofabricated materials.

SOURCE: Edmund Optics

-- Posted by Carrie Meadows, Vision Systems Design

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