Precision Optics

Education and Training for Precision Optics Technicians

Precision optics is a critical U.S. industry from both an economic and security perspective, and precision optics technicians (POTs) are vital to the quality and future growth of this industry. THese technicians produce, test, and handle optical components that are used in laser and sophisticated electro-optical systems for defense, homeland security, aerospace, biomedical equipment, remote sensing, alternate energy production, and nanotechnology. Precision optics technicians also measure quality, add coatings and integrate optical components into electro-optical systems.

In 2009, the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC) conducted a study of POT employers to project the demand for the new precision optics technicians. The finding of this study showed that 6019 POT technicians were currently (2009) employed, and that the demand in five years would increase by 3100 additional precision optics technicians.

Contributing Factors:

1) Loss of experienced POTs in the United States
2) Only a few colleges created programs in Optical Fabrication
3) No known educational programs in two-year colleges still prepare new POTs
4) Precision Optics education/training is much more than just a “craft worker apprenticeship” experience
5) United States military, defense and homeland security rely on a domestic source for Precision Optics

OP-TEC Initiative:

Through funding provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF), OP-TEC has quantified how many POTs are needed, determined what knowledge and skills these technicians should possess, identified teams of colleges and employers willing to initiate educational programs to prepare POTs, designed a comprehensive initiative that would encourage and support colleges to develop the capacity for preparing POTs, and secured sufficient funding to carry out the developmental effort.

In 2012, OP-TEC updated and produced the second edition of the National Precision Optics Skill Standards for Technicians. The Standard provides the precision optics community and educators an updated listing of what technicians working in the precision optics industry should know and be able to do. It was developed from an extensive and comprehensive review process involving precision optics industry professionals and academic representatives, and has recieved endorsements from the American Precisions Optics Manafacturers Association (APOMA), Colorado Photonics Industry Association, New Mexico Optics Industry Association, and the Rochester and Florida Photonics Clusters. This Standard has formed the basis for the deisign of OP-TEC’s AAS degree POT curriculum. It also provides the “industry specifications” for developing these instructional materials.

Two of the courses in the curriculum are Quality Assurance of Precision Optics (QAPO) and Interferometry and Metrology. These courses can be infused into OP-TEC’s Photonics Technician curriculum to prepare technicians to measure the quality of precision optics and integrate them into laser and other electro-optics systems. The full AAS degree POT curriculum is built on a manufacturing technology core, and prepares technicians who can not only perform the tasks described earlier, but also fabricate precision optics components.

OP-TEC Precision Optics Technician Education Resources:

The National Precision Optics Skill Standards for Technicians, 2nd Edition (OP-TEC/UCF 2013). Please click here to for more information, to download a free copy of the standards or to request a complimentary bound copy!

Order Precision Optics Curriculum Series Materials

View Letters of Support for this Initiative:

Colleges

Center for Advanced Photonics Technology Laborator at University of Colorado Denver (CO)
Community College of Denver (CO)
Indian River State College (FL)
Monroe Community College (NY)

Industry Associations

American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association
Colorado Photonics Industry Association (CO)
Florida Photonics Cluster (FL)
Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (NY)

Employers

AccuCoat, Inc. (NY)
Angstrom Precision Optics, Inc. (NY)
Apollo Optical Systems (NY)
ASE Optics, Inc. (NY)
Corning Tropel (NY)
CVI Melles Griot (NY)
G-S Plastic Optics (NY)
Infotonics Technology Center, Inc. (NY)
ITT Geospatial Systems (NY)
JENOPTIK Optical Systems, Inc. (FL)
JK Consulting (NY)
JML Optical Industries, Inc. (NY)
Kessler Optics & Photonics Solutions, Ltd. (NY)
Lumetrics, Inc. (NY)
New Scale Technologies, Inc. (NY)
Northrop Grumman Laser Systems (FL)
Optimax Systems, Inc. (NY)
OptiPro Systems (NY)
Optics Technology, Inc. (NY)
Photon Gear, Inc. (NY)
Qioptiq, Inc. (NY)
Rochester Precision Optics (NY)
SCHOTT North America Advanced Optics (FL)
Semrock, Inc. (NY)
Sydor Optics, Inc. (NY)
Syntec Optics (NY)
Tower Optical Corporation (FL)
VLOC (FL)

Midwest Photonics Education Center

Indian Hills Community College
626 Indian Hills Drive
Ottumwa, Iowa 52501
Mr. Greg Kepner
Director
Office: 641-683-5284
E-mail: greg.kepner@indianhills.edu
Website: http://www.midwestphotonics.org
Specialization: Photonics in Manufacturing

×
Laser and Fiber Optics Regional Education Center

Indian River State College
3209 Virginia Avenue
Fort Pierce, FL 34981
Dr. Chrys Panayiotou
Director
Office: 772-462-7621
E-mail: cpanayio@irsc.edu
Website: http://www.laser-tec.org
Specialization: Fiber Optics

×
Texas State Technical College

3801 Campus Drive
Waco, Texas 76705
Mr. John O. Pedrotti
Department Chair, Lasers & Nanotechnology
Office: 254-867-3173
E-mail: john.pedrotti@tstc.edu
Website:http://www.tstc.edu/programs/LaserElectroOpticsTechnology
Specialization: Photonics in Opto-Electronics / Nano-Technology

×
Irvine Valley College / Advanced Technology and Education Park (IVC / ATEP)

15445 Lansdowne Road
Tustin, California 92782
Brian Monacelli
Office: 949-282-2706
E-mail: IVCphotonics@IVC.edu
Website: http://academics.ivc.edu/physci/photonics
Specialization: Photonics in Education/Training for Employed Technicians

×
Camden County College

200 College Drive
Blackwood, New Jersey 08012
Dr. Fred Seeber
Professor Emeritus, Physics and Photonics
Office: 856-227-7200 (ext. 4475)
E-mail: fseeber@camdencc.edu
Website:http://www.camdencc.edu/academics/departments/photonics-laser-electro-optic-tech/

×
New York Photonics

Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster
Thomas Battley, Executive Director
1565 Jefferson Rd, #420
Rochester, New York 14623
Phone: 585-329-4029
E-mail: tbattley@newyorkphotonics.org
Website – New York Photonics: www.newyorkphotonics.org

×
New Mexico Optics Industry Association

Jim McNalley, Chairman
851 University Blvd., SE
Suite 203
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106
Phone: 505-767-1200
E-mail: info@nmoia.org
Website: www.nmoptics.com

×
Florida Photonics Cluster

Florida Photonics Cluster
James E. Pearson, Executive Director
12424 Research Parkway, Ste. 100
Orlando, Florida 32826
E-mail: jpearson@creol.ucf.edu
Website: www.floridaphotonicscluster.org

×
Colorado Photonics Industry Association

Garry Gorsuch, Director
5733 Central Ave.
Boulder, Colorado 80301
Phone: 303-834-1022
E-mail: exec@coloradophotonics.org
Website: www.coloradophotonics.org

×
Carolinas Photonics Consortium

Jeff Conley, Director
1754 Woodruff Rd., Ste. 101
Greenville, South Carolina 29607
Phone: 864-325-4700
E-mail: jcon@charter.net
Website: www.carolinasphotonics.com

×
Optics Valley

c/o Arizona Technology Council
John Dennis, Chair
9070 South Rita Road, #1550
Tucson, AZ 85747
E-mail: Chair@OpticsValleyAZ.org
Website: www.OpticsValleyAZ.org

×
Indian Hills Community College

626 Indian Hills Drive
Ottumwa, Iowa 52501
Mr. Greg Kepner
Department Chair, Industrial Technology
Office: 641-683-5284
E-mail: gkepner@indianhills.edu
Website: http://www.indianhills.edu/courses/tech/laser.html
Specialization: Photonics in Manufacturing

×