Five research projects at universities in the Carolinas will receive a total of $50,000 in funding as well as business and marketing support from the Carolinas Photonics Consortium.

"The five winning programs are excellent examples of photonics-based technologies which will address immediate needs in widely varying markets," said Jeff Conley, the interim director of the CPC. "The process of selecting the five winners was very difficult as we had 28 deserving proposals.”

Photonics, such as lasers and high-intensity lighting, are used in a wide variety of light-based technologies. The CPC is seeking to help commercialize advances being made by researchers across the Carolinas. Members of the CPC include UNC Charlotte, Duke, Clemson, N.C. State and Western Carolina.

The projects, with descriptions provided by the consortium, include:

  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte: Dr. Mike Fiddy: “Sub-Wavelength Optical Scalpel” – Novel optical designs can lead to smaller spot sizes for delivery of power for high precision surgical or industrial needs.
  • Western Carolina University: Dr. Pat Gardner: “Interferometric Imaging and Rapid Prototyping of Podiatric Arch Supports” – Utilization of two optical technologies could lead to customized orthopedic devices with improved fit and reduced turn-around time.
  • Clemson University: Dr. Phil Brown: “Light Emissive Nanocomposite Fiber” – Incorporating specific nanoparticles into unique fiber structures could produce fibers with optical properties that have applications in textile authentication and security system products.
  • Duke University: Dr. Quincy Brown: “Illuminus” – This proposal plans to develop a non-invasive and quick optical spectroscopy of potentially cancerous breast tissue.
  • North Carolina State University: Dr. Mark Johnson: “Integrated Cooling Device for High-Power Semiconductor Lasers” – Removing heat from semiconductors is a major issue which causes inefficiencies and additional cost in existing light emitting devices used in numerous markets.

N.C. State’s College of Management will provide business and market development support through its Technology, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization initiative.

More than $300 million in state and federal funds have been invested in the photonics-related programs at the five consortium members over the past five years.