OSA-RS Speaker Series Annual Student Talks: Nick Takaki,UR and Justin Gallagher, RIT

  • February 25, 2020
  • 7:00 PM
  • Laboratory for Laser Energetics - East Lobby 240 East River Road, Rochester, NY, 14623


Registration is closed


Every year, OSA-RS hosts two local student speakers on one night to share current research with the community.  This year, we welcome speakers from University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology to give talks about optimal representation of freeform optical surfaces and characterization of room-temperature, photon-resolving detectors.

Improved freeform surface manufacturability estimates enabled by orthogonal polynomials in design

Nick Takaki, University of Rochester


In this paper, orthogonal polynomial freeform surface descriptions are leveraged to constrain manufacturability estimates of freeform surfaces during design. The mathematical construction of this constraint is shown in general for orthogonal polynomials and in particular for both Zernike polynomials and Forbes 2D-Q polynomials. Two design studies are then explored with this optimization constraint: an unobscured, ball geometry three-mirror telescope for use in LWIR imaging and a freeform prism combiner for use in AR/VR applications.

About the speaker

Nick Takaki is a Ph.D. candidate in his fifth year at the Institute of Optics, working with Professor Jannick Rolland on the mathematics of freeform optics in design. Nick’s research focuses on understanding the role of orthogonal polynomials and base surfaces in describing freeforms, and on leveraging that understanding to design freeform surfaces that are easier to measure and test. Prior to studying at the Institute of Optics, Nick received a Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree with honors in Computational and Applied Mathematics in 2015, from Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh.

Characterization progress of a room temperature Photon-Number Resolving Detector

Justin Gallagher, Rochester Institute of Technology


The Quanta Image Sensor (QIS) is a photon-number resolving Megapixel detector designed by Dr. Eric Fossum (Dartmouth). Unlike other single photon sensing detector arrays, such as those based on avalanche photodiodes, its pixels have high fill factor and can distinguish photon number. It also operates at room temperature, unlike superconducting single photon sensing detectors. I will present a brief description of the device, the current progress in device characterization, demonstrate the photon-number resolving capability, and discuss the potential applications for such a device.

About the speaker

Justin Gallagher is a fifth year BS/MS student at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) pursuing a Master of Science in Astrophysical Sciences and Technology in conjunction with a Bachelor of Science in Physics. Justin is a graduate researcher at RIT's Center for Detectors (CfD) under the guidance of Dr. Donald F. Figer. His research primarily focuses on the characterization and demonstration of detectors for Astrophysics. His current work is centered around the Quanta Image Sensor, a photon-number resolving detector at room temperature. Justin's past research includes work on the comparison and evolution of High-redshift galaxies and their relationship between Star Formation Rate (SFR) and local environment.

Pre-talk dinner 

Pre-talk dinner with guest speakers Nick Takaki and Justin Gallagher will be held at 5:00 PM at King and I Restaurant, 1455 E Henrietta Rd, Rochester, NY 14623, prior to the talk. Contact the House Committee by email for dinner reservations. Email: house@osarochester.org

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