A new group of laser-photonics technicians and community college students will be graduating at the end of the spring semester and summer months, infusing new talent into the photonics advanced technology industry. National consortia groups, like Center for Laser and Fiber Optics Education (LASER-TEC), invite hiring managers to recruit students and arrange tours to visit prospective employers, in-person and virtually. LASER-TEC is supported through the United States National Science Foundation (NSF), grant ‘DUE-1700352.

Over the past few months LASER-TEC has also announced an updated series of modules in biomedicine, scholarships for technicians, a new Quantum Photonics Lab, and information about academic/technology exchange conferences. To learn more, visit: www.laser-tec.org

Lasers in Biomedicine: A Series of Educational Modules for Colleges & Industry

Modern medical treatments are extensively enabled by photonics, lasers, optics, and fiber optics technologies. Nowadays, medical personnel in dermatology, stomatology, ophthalmology, cardiology, urology, and neurosurgery routinely use various lasers and optical delivery systems for thermal coagulation, ablation, and vaporization of both soft and hard tissue.

This enabled the most recent growth in the demand for biomedical optoelectronics technicians who are versed in maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing medical equipment. To address this need, LASER-TEC has been updating and developing new content for the series of educational modules in biomedicine to simplify the integration of these topics into college photonics curricula or industry continuing education and training programs.

The module “Lasers in Medicine and Surgery” has been completed and is an open educational resource, which can be requested by email or by visiting the LASER-TEC website.

Currently, the consortium is finalizing the second module in this series, “Therapeutic Applications of Lasers”. This module consists of 11 chapters and covers the fundamentals of laser-tissue interactions, beam delivery methods, and therapeutic laser applications in a variety of medical fields. The module is supplemented with student-learning and pedagogical tools: introduction-motivation, learning outcomes, self-tests for each section, glossary, student assessment, answer keys, and a PowerPoint presentation.

If you have questions about LASER-TEC’s modules in biomedicine, contact Chrys Panayiotou, LASER-TEC Executive Director, at cpanayio@irsc.edu.

LASER-TEC is offering a series of education modules for biomedical optoelectronics technicians to stay versed in maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing medical equipment. Photo credit: istock

Industry & Colleges Work Together to Facilitate Student Employment

It is the perfect time for photonics colleges and industries to collaborate and employ job-ready graduates with hard-to-find technical skills in optics, lasers, fiber optics, photonics, and electronics. This summer, over 300 college students will be graduating and looking for jobs in this field. Many companies, like PCS Fiber, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation, Jenoptik Optical Systems, National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Renesas Electronics, and Florida Metrology (to name a few), have been working together with Indian River State College, North Carolina Community College, Gallatin College, Indian Hills Community College, and others to find qualified technicians.

The companies conduct in-person and virtual meetings and tours of their facilities, and many of them have already hired students before they graduated.

If you are a photonics company looking for new employees, please visit www.laser-tec.org to find colleges with active photonics programs and advisors’ direct contact information.

Springfield Technical Community College student measures laser beam characteristics. Similar training and skill-set courses are now being offered in a hybrid model. Photo Credit: LASER-TEC

Training & Professional Development Courses in Laser and Photonics Technologies

LASER-TEC offers courses in optics, photonics, fiber optics, and lasers, which are available in a convenient online or hybrid format. Whether you are an educator or industry professional looking for upskilling or changing your career, these courses will help you stay current on the development of photonics technology, gain new skills and knowledge, and meet your certification requirements.

Currently, enrollment is open for the following courses: Introduction to Photonics; Geometrical and Physical Optics; Fundamentals of Fiber Optics; and Laser Systems and Applications.

The courses are self-paced, provide full instructional support, and have options for completing practical, hands-on activities. For more information about course descriptions, registration, schedules, and options, contact: info@laser-tec.org

Indian River State College (IRSC) Established Quantum Photonics Technology Lab

From communication, encryption, and computing, to the semiconductor industry and metrology, quantum optics technology has created a substantial impact on commercial landscape. In addition to R&D, a large portion of quantum-related jobs is in tech support and operations. With the extremely competitive global race for the lead position in quantum technologies, the importance of introducing fundamentals and applications of quantum optics in two-year colleges is becoming more evident. Planning for the near quantum future and the demand for technical talent, Indian River State College (IRSC), FL, has established the Quantum Photonics Technology Laboratory.

In this laboratory, students will conduct experiments that illustrate various fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics. Many experiments will involve exploring the physics of a single photon, some will explore entanglement which involves 2 photons. Alignment and parametric down-conversion, single-photon interference, quantum eraser, delayed choice are some of the experiments that will be available in this lab. For this project, Dr. Mo Hasanovic of IRSC is collaborating with Dr. Enrique (Kiko) Galvez, the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Colgate University, NY. The quantum labs will be set up to be operated and controlled locally and remotely.

Electronics Engineering Technology students and faculty at Indian River State College (IRSC) had the opportunity to tour JENOPTIK Optical Systems in Jupiter, FL, and even heard from graduates working at the facility on the transition process from student to professional. Photonics credit: LASER-TEC

Save the Date: High Impact Technology Exchange Conference

The High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) will be hosted in a virtual format on July 21-22, 2021. For many years, HI-TEC has been supported by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program and is advanced technological education conference where secondary and postsecondary educators, counselors, industry professionals, trade organizations, and technicians can expand their professional knowledge and skills. Charged with preparing America’s skilled technical workforce, the event focuses on the preparation needed by the existing and future workforce for companies in the high-tech sectors that drive our nation’s economy.

HI-TEC explores the convergence of scientific disciplines and technologies including: Advanced Manufacturing Technologies; Bio and Agricultural Technologies; Energy and Environmental Technologies; Engineering Technologies; Information, Communications, and Geospatial Technologies; Learning, Evaluation, and Research; Micro and Nanotechnologies; Security Technologies; and Workforce Diversity.

HI-TEC 2021 Virtual will feature live keynotes,sessions, and panels on Wednesday and Thursday, July 21–22, beginning at Noon EDT. The conference will also feature 50+ on demand, pre-recorded sessions. These can be viewed at your convenience and will be available for six months beginning on July 21. Awardees will be recognized on July 22.

HI-TEC has been a successful platform for bringing educators, counselors, industry, and trade professionals together to exchange ideas and upgrade knowledge and skills. Visit the HI-TEC website to learn more about the conference: www.highimpact-tec.org