NTU Singapore opens $30M Centre for Optical and Laser Engineering

April 17, 2013
Singapore--The Centre for Optical and Laser Engineering (COLE) has been launched by NTU Singapore to help local companies sharpen their edge in optical and laser engineering.

Singapore--The Centre for Optical and Laser Engineering (COLE) has been launched by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to help local companies sharpen their edge in optical and laser engineering (http://www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/print/volume-48/issue-04/features/how-to-begin-a-career-in-photonics.html) in the face of global competition. COLE will drive research with the aim of developing commercial applications for local small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses and has already secured industry and research funding of more than S$10 million bringing its total worth to S$30 million.

Projects at the new research center include new types of 3D measurement (http://www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/2011/11/3d-metrology-improves-form-accuracy-of-diffractive-optics.html) that are useful for structural engineering; new devices such as a patented "lensless" microscope (http://www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/2010/07/testing-ucla-lensless-cell-phone-based-microscope.html), and medical projects that improve resolution and lower the cost of medical imaging for tissue and cancer diagnosis. Currently, precision engineering contributes about 10% of the total output of the manufacturing sector, which currently makes up 22 per cent of Singapore's GDP and is set for further growth.

Having new innovations, streamlined processes and skilled manpower trained in optical and laser engineering will help local companies have a keen edge in this climate of global competition. At the launch of COLE, seven local companies and one multinational company came onboard as its first industry partners (Sunny Instrument, WaveLab Scientific, KLA Tencor, JM Vistec Systems, Life Technologies Holdings, Disco Hi-Tec, Opto-Precision, and Precision Optical Systems Singapore). This Industry Partnership Programme allows the companies to engage in collaborative industry and research projects with COLE’s researchers and scientists.

Located at NTU's School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, COLE has already secured four initial joint projects with industry with more to come. The center will have about 100 faculty and researchers when it reaches steady state and will focus its research on three key areas: computational optics; optical metrology and instrumentation; and laser processing and patterning.

Another mission of COLE is to develop a strong base of optical and laser engineers in Singapore. To this end, COLE is working closely with EDB to support the tuition fees of PhD students who are working on industry projects in home-grown and multinational companies through the existing Industrial Postgraduate Programme (IPP).

As demand for optical and laser engineers is growing, NTU has initiated a specialization in Optical Engineering as part of their Master's Degree program in Precision Engineering. Started in 2011, this course which is endorsed by the Optics and Photonics Society of Singapore already has 30 graduates, with 19 students enrolled currently at the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.

In addition, COLE also signed Memoranda of Understanding with three top optical engineering research centers from the USA, Germany and Japan. They are the Center for Laser Aided Intelligent Manufacturing from University of Michigan, USA; Institute of Technical Optics from the University of Stuttgart, Germany; and the Centre for Optics Research and Education (CORE) from Utsonomiya University, Japan.

SOURCE: Nanyang Technological University; http://media.ntu.edu.sg/NewsReleases/Pages/newsdetail.aspx?news=dcbb309d-beda-46ea-9f89-af7c07ac4249

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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