NC State Joins Carolinas Photonics Consortium

June 26, 2007

Reprinted with permission from Engineering News

Carolinas Photonics Consortium
Carolinas Photonics Consortium

Getting photonics (light-based) technologies to the marketplace has just gotten easier.

 The Carolinas Photonics Consortium (CPC) announces the signing of the CPC Inter-Institutional Agreement by North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Western Carolina University, Clemson University and Duke University.

The agreement provides the foundation for collaborative university work aimed at the commercialization of photonics or light-based technologies. Photonics-based technologies are used in a wide array of everyday products, including: DVD players, long distance communication, medical and dental surgeries, dash board lighting, missile guidance, and garage door sensors. Photonics technologies complement and leverage advances in electronics to transform almost every facet of our lives, taking these vibrant and growing industries into the next decade. Recent advances include high intensity lighting, biochemical detection, high powered lasers for manufacturing needs, and early cancer detection. One of the primary goals of the CPC is the commercialization of photonics-based research by awarding funds to competitively submitted proposals from the five campuses.

"There is a classic gap between transformative research and realization of the commercial opportunity. CPC provides a bridge to move technology to the marketplace by engaging world class collaboration of universities and providing some important seed money to get the commercialization process started," said Jeff Conley, Interim Director for CPC.

"The Carolinas Photonics Consortium has been very active in involving researchers across the five campuses and has moved quickly in establishing a strong collaboration. The region will see significant new business creation as a result of CPC," notes Sarah Smith, Director of Sponsored Programs for the University of North Carolina General Administration.

What's Next?

A project proposal program in August, 2007 will provide seed funding for one, photonics-based project from each campus over the next 12 months. The goal of the program is to identify top commercial prospects and provide some initial funding to move the concepts down the path of commercialization. Commercialization support and company development will be provided by the Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Program (TEC) at NC State. The successful program has been supporting technology migration from bench to market domestically and internationally for thirteen years with proven tools and techniques.

What is CPC?

Each of the five consortium members has nationally respected programs in photonics: NC State's strengths are in photonic devices, optoelectronic and semiconductor materials, and information technology. The Center for Optoelectronics and Optical Communications at UNC at Charlotte has a core competence in microoptics and modeling of optical systems. Western Carolina's Center for Rapid Product Realization provides prototyping, testing and design expertise for new product scale up. The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics at Duke has research programs in biophotonics, nano & micro systems, nanophotonics, and quantum optics & information. Clemson's Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET) is focused on the development of novel optical materials. Over $300M has been invested from state and federal funds over the last five years, making CPC the largest concentration of photonics-based resources in the country.

More Information:

Technical Contacts:
Jeff Conley - CPC - (864) 325-4700,
Dr. Leda Lunardi, Department of Electrical Engineering, NC State University, (919) 513-7362,

Media contact:
Jennifer Weston, Engineering Communications, NC State University, (919) 515-3848,

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