New Resources for Educating Precision Optics Technicians

Daniel Hull and John Souders

The National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC), a National Science Foundation Center of Excellence, has always been committed to building the capacity of U.S. community colleges in order to provide more highly skilled photonics technicians—and in 2012 it expanded that mission to include precision optics technicians.


figureA precision optics technician loads a double-sided polisher.

The fabrication and use of precision optics is critical to U.S. defense, laboratories and commercial markets. Technicians who work in this area are vital to the viability of the industry. They produce, test and handle optical components that are used in lasers and other sophisticated electro-optical systems for defense, homeland security, aerospace, biomedical equipment, remote sensing, alternate energy production and nanotechnology. They also integrate, align and maintain the components of these systems.

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