Annual Stephen D Jacobs Memorial Talk: Kathleen Richardson, CREOL, U. Central Florida

  • July 30, 2019
  • 7:00 PM
  • Laboratory for Laser Energetics - East Lobby 240 East River Road, Rochester, NY, 14623


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Annual Stephen D Jacobs Memorial Talk

Optical nanocomposites: redefining the paradigm for optical glass property design

Kathleen Richardson,  CREOL, University of Central Florida


Optical designers tasked with the challenge of creating new, or enhancing legacy optical systems face the challenge of having a toolbox with a finite number of optical material candidates. Current material options are typically homogeneous solids, either crystalline or amorphous in nature, with a finite set of optical and physical properties that are fixed for a given temperature and defined optical transmission window. With the goal of developing flexible new broadband materials with tunable optical function, we have developed and characterized an unique range of infrared nanocomposites possessing tailorable optical functionality suitable for integration with conventional optical components. Refractive index and dispersion of the candidate material can be varied within a single glass forming composition, to realize tailored optical function, either as a homogeneous bulk optical component or in thin film form. Employing spatially selective nucleation and growth protocols, graded microstructured media can be formed with complex optical performance. Compatible with existing optics manufacturing methods, these novel materials expand the optical design space in applications related to integrated photonics and gradient refractive index optics. Results of their demonstrated performance and opportunities for their future potential, are presented.

Pre-talk dinner with guest speaker Kathleen Richardson will be held at 5:00 PM at Phillips European Restaurant, 26 Corporate Woods, Rochester, NY 14623, prior to the talk. Contact the House Committee by email for dinner reservations. Email:

About Kathleen Richardson

Dr. Kathleen Richardson is currently Pegasus Professor of Optics and Materials Science and Engineering at CREOL/College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central FL, where she runs the Glass Processing and Characterization Laboratory (GPCL). In 2018, she was appointed a Florida Photonics Center of Excellence (FPCE) professor for her ongoing commitments to education and research supporting industry. Prof. Richardson and her research team carry out synthesis and characterization of novel glass and glass ceramic materials for optical applications, examining the role of structure/property relationships on resulting optical function and performance in bulk, planar and fiber optical materials. Dr. Richardson’s group has extensive industrial and government supported research developing novel materials for gradient refractive index (GRIN) optics, precision molded optics, evaluation of complex multi-material interactions in next-generation integrated opto-electronic chip design, and in optical nano-composites for advanced chem-bio and detection applications. Prof. Richardson’s group is a leading source of global expertise in the design, fabrication and characterization of next generation materials for use in infrared components and systems based on diverse optical applications. She has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed publications, numerous proceedings and book chapters, has a broad portfolio of IP related to these advances, and has organized and chaired multiple domestic and international meetings within her discipline.

For more on Prof Richardson's affiliations and work, visit her website here.

About the Annual Stephen D Jacobs Memorial Talk

The Stephen D. Jacobs Annual Memorial Talk has been organized by the OSA-Rochester Section to honor the late Dr. Stephen D. Jacobs’s local and global contributions to the fields of optical materials, liquid crystals, optics manufacturing and educational outreach. Steve spent his entire career at the University of Rochester with appointments to the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), Institute of Optics, Materials Science and Chemical Engineering departments. His research included topics such as phosphate laser glass, frequency conversion crystals, liquid crystal laser optics, optical finishing of glass, ceramics and crystals, magnetorheological finishing (MRF), cholesteric liquid crystal flakes for display applications, and laser damage in multilayer dielectric coatings. In addition to his significant technical contributions Steve also had a passion for educational outreach. He volunteered as the educational outreach chair for the OSA-Rochester Section for over 15 years during which time he developed and organized the Optics Suitcase program that has been instrumental in introducing hundreds of thousands of young children to the fields of optics and materials science throughout the US and globally in over 40 countries. Steve Jacobs touched many lives. We are honored to have this annual lecture in memory of our great colleague, friend and mentor.
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