to the optics guys

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Kevin_Spradley, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Kevin_Spradley

    Kevin_Spradley Stunt Coordinator

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    Instead of stealing Dave_F tool buying thunder by asking him optic questons, I thought I would start a new thread. My question to the optics professionals out there, "What do you know about the Huntsville optics community?" Several of us optics professionals in Huntsville are trying to take an informal survey on the nation's view of Huntsville's optic's programs and companies. This is due in large part to the city itself not promoting our technology well enough. Everybody knows we are an advanced technology center with NASA and DOD work, but nobody seems to know about the incredible optics work that is happening in Huntsville. Only people in the optics community seem to be familar with UAH as a top optics school, whereas non-optics people seem to know that Arizona, Rochester, and CREOL, etc. are great optic schools.

    Thanks for you input.
     
  2. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    Kevin,
    I responded in the other thread. I work for J&J in R&D for a contact lens manufacturer. I haven't heard much about the program out there. Most of our work is done with the University of Florida. Tell me more about it.....When your ready to send out resume's make sure you send one here...
     
  3. Kevin_Spradley

    Kevin_Spradley Stunt Coordinator

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    John, thanks for the offer to send a resume that way. I will definitely keep you in mind should I decide to change jobs. I should have clarified some things in the other thread. I have 5 years of experience in laboratory research with my first company and am doing grad school part time. I am now to the point of writing my thesis, and plan on staying in Huntsville due to my connections and relationships I have developed. Most of our optics work in Huntsville is government funded for defense applications and space applications. We, the group I work with, just changed to a new company to build their optics capabilities. We used to focus on polarimetry but we are expanding our customer base to include non-polarimetric projects. We had a small contract a couple of years ago doing some research on contact lenses. It was pretty cool, but never went past phase 1.

    Anyway, I just saw some other optics guys on here and wanted to start a small discussion on optics across the nation.

    thanks,
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Hello fellows optics folk! [​IMG]

    You're right, Huntsville is not well know in the optics world, either academically or professionally. I'm not aware of any particular reputation for UAH's graduate program in optics. From talking to friends that went to school there, it sounds like a good program, and is one a person would quickly find if they were interested in graduate work in optics.

    As for the optics businesses, I'm most familiar with NASA Huntsville. I've recently learned about the huge amount military work that is also done in that area. But Huntsville does not come to mind if I'm thinking "optics".

    As you know, the reputed centers of optical sciences are The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, and the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona.

    For optics work, I'd first think of Rochester NY, Tucson AZ, SoCal, Boston, and then some other scattered areas.
     
  5. Kevin_Spradley

    Kevin_Spradley Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies. Hopefully there are some others on this board that will contribute to the discussion. Several of us are trying to start an optics "cluster" like the larger optic communties. Do you know of optic "clusters" in your communities that help promote optics growth? What did each of you specialize in during your graduate studies?

    I personally took more of a design route on way to my Masters. I took lots of optical and opto-mechanical design, and testing type classes. However, I did not very many communication type classes. The most useful class I had was a radiometry class. I define useful as helpful to my understanding of problems in the workplace.
     
  6. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    UAH? University of Austin-Healey?
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Sounds like a good idea. The more optics is promoted, the better for us optics guys. And it's good to have more options in locations to work. Rochester is an optics town, but I don't think they proactively advertise it as such. Tucson has specifically promoted itself as a venue for optical industries, but I think they're struggling right now, having a hard time keep businesses. (Not that Rochester is sailing smooth seas, either.)

    I did my Ph.D. in GRIN (gradient-index optics). I currently work in metrology, working with instrument testing and test-set development.
     
  8. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Not sure what I can contribute, but I just so happen to be an Optics undergrad at the University of Rochester. A freshman, but an optics major nonetheless!

    Thought I'd throw that out.
     
  9. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    Do you work for a company that develops them for others? The company I work with mostly is Zygo Corp. out of Conn. And Rotlex.
     
  10. Kevin_Spradley

    Kevin_Spradley Stunt Coordinator

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    I mentioned earlier that we are trying to expand our capabilities at my current employer. Currently, we have tons of experience with imaging systems and testing polarization optics. We would like to move into the metrology side of things for minor testing of windows, filters, etc. for our systems (nothing to the extent of Dave). From what we have noticed, it is hard to trust manufacturer's specs, especially when dealing with polarization optics. Sometimes the fast axis of a retarder will be 40-60 deg off of the manufacturers mark. Same goes for polarizers. This is from reputable manufacturers also. Anyway, back to the metrology, are used Zygos a good way to get into the metrology? We just will not have the money to purchase a brand new system, because we are spending lots of money on infrared collimators and blackbodies. The Zygo I used in college had a 4" exit aperture and the wavelength was ~632nm. I assume Zygo has tons of other products beside the one I mentioned, but I haven't done the research to find out.

    Thanks, this is enjoyable being able to talk a little optics with people I do not work with everyday.

    to morgan, enjoy your study of optics, I really enjoy what I do, it is just plain fun.
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I work for ITT Space Systems Division. I work on internal projects. I don't do commercial product development like you're thinking of. But I do have an acquaintance working for Zygo, doing new product development. It sounds like a neat gig.
     
  12. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    DaveF-

    Tom Brown is my academic advisor!

    What company do you work for? I remember one of the senior undergrads giving a quick lecture about a company he worked for in the area that uses lasers to pick up imperfections on computer chips. He couldn't go into too much detail, but I know that the company is local.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I was with Kodak, but they sold my division to ITT Industries. Same office, same work, new corporate overlord. [​IMG]

    I don't know which company does the work you describe. My first guess would be Corning Tropel, since they make lithographic lenses and metrology (measurement) equipment for such hardware. Another local company, Chapman Instruments, makes surface profilers used to check roughness of silicon wafers (used in computer chip fabrication) and harddrive platter inspection. But there are various other small companies around here that I don't know about.
     
  14. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I think it might have been Chapman, because the guy described them checking silicon wafers specifically. Nonetheless, the brief description he did of what the company does was really interesting.

    I'm really happy I'm going into this field.
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I spent six months at Chapman Instruments. It was a good group of people and the president is a really nice guy.

    A bit of advice: The optics community is small so take the opportunities to interact with the people in it. If you stay in optics, it's not impossible that Kevin, John, or I could be interviewing you for a job in four years. Or some of the upper classmen or graduate students at the UR. (I've been interviewed by friends and classmates. And I've failed to make connections at times and almost burned a friendship once, foolishly.)
     
  16. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Yeah, one of the things they keep mentioning is that you should try to network at various events (such as when the OSA is in town). Getting to know the professors better helps, too, seeing as how their networks can sometimes help us land summer jobs/internships that could lead to real work.
     
  17. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    If your intrested in coming to Florida for the summer we have a very large internship program.
     
  18. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I'm in my first semester of my freshman year, so I don't have enough experience and whatnot in my studies to really contribute much, but after sophomore year I'd like to do something over the summer. One thing the upperclassmen liked to point out was how nice the weather was in certain places (one girl went to LA, for example) compared to the tundra that Rochester becomes.
     
  19. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    We pick up people in their freshman year. It's not all about experience as much as it is about exposing you to the technology and hands on experience in hopes that we get good prospects when they graduate. You'll be doing more grunt work than anything...[​IMG]
     
  20. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Sounds good, but for at least this upcoming summer I want to keep my job at the movie theater (it's owned by Cablevision so I get free cable). This will also be one of the last summers I'll get to spend with my friends (some of whom will have just graduated High School) so I'm going to keep this summer open.

    Thank you for the mention of it, though. I might take you up on it in the future.
     

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