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With applications in medicine, manufacturing, defense, aerospace, energy, communications and security, the field of optics and photonics brings a surge of high tech activity to the region. Home to one of only three degree-granting optics institutions in the United States and a host of specialized companies, the Corridor is at the heart of some of the world’s greatest advancements in the industry.
“At the university, we have more time to think about methods of improving technology. Our dream is to make the tunable lens. The first one will likely be a zoom lens in a camera or cell phone.”
Dr. Shin-Tson Wu, Optics Professor, Liquid Crystal Displays Lab at UCF’s CREOL – The College of Optics and Photonics
Growing out of military efforts and supported by Corridor universities, the Photonics industry has thrived in the Florida High Tech Corridor. The University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL), the only college-level program of its kind, serves as a center of excellence in research and education, as well as an economic driver for the industry. CREOL has produced numerous start-ups through its incubator as part of the internationally recognized UCF Business Incubation Program.
As the industry’s leading organization for the state, the Florida Photonics Cluster (FPC) brings the industry together by supporting the growth and profitability of photonics companies in Florida. The diverse and specialized companies throughout the Corridor represent a major portion of companies statewide and are leading the way in this high tech industry. For full information on the Florida Photonics Cluster, visit www.floridaphotonicscluster.org.
Big players such as Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, Lockheed Martin and DRS Technologies use photonics and optics across their manufacturing divisions, utilizing lasers and fiber optics in defense and communication application. With more than 90 companies employing nearly 3,000 people directly engaged in optics and photonics, the Florida High Tech Corridor is a bustling area of activity in this growing industry.