The City University of New York (CUNY) – the nation’s leading urban public university – has joined SATOP as an Alliance Partner. CUNY’s renowned Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) in Ultrafast Photonics will provide SATOP requestors with free advice on optics design and materials, as well as offer leading-edge technical recommendations.

A partnership with NASA is nothing new to CUNY: one of the university’s colleges, the City College of New York (CCNY), has been awarded a $6 million, five-year NASA grant to establish a Center for Optical Sensing and Imaging (COSI).

“The mission of the CUNY CAT is to enable collaborations between New York companies and CUNY researchers, especially in photonics,” said Alan Doctor, CUNY CAT’s business development manager. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with SATOP to offer our expertise to small businesses in need of technological assistance.”

Photonics, the study of light, has wide-ranging applications that include computer devices, displays, cell phones, cancer diagnostics, optical communications, optical imaging and remote sensing. A growing industry nation-wide, it is probable that in the 21st century photonics systems will be replacing many electronic systems as well as serving as the basis of new applications not possible with electronics.

“Ultrafast photonics for real-world applications” is the central theme of the CUNY CAT, which was designated in 1993 as a New York State Center for Advanced Technology and is currently one of 15 CATs overseen by the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research (NYSTAR).

Since its inception, the center has worked with high technology companies to advance the state of the art. The CAT helps companies to reduce expenses, increase productivity and efficiency, improve staff capabilities, and create and retain jobs. To accomplish this, the CAT conducts high-level research, establishes technology transfer mechanisms and provides the photonics industry with access to CUNY technology, research equipment, testing facilities and faculty expertise.

The CAT also trains workers for the photonics industry, works with other organizations to promote New York as an attractive home to photonics-based companies and their employees, and assists companies to obtain grants and start-up funds. The economic impact has meant millions of dollars annually in increased revenues, cost savings and new job creation.

A broad-based, interdisciplinary center, the CAT draws faculty from several CUNY colleges (City College, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Hunter College, the College of Staten Island, and Queensborough Community College) and from diverse disciplines, including physics, electrical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry. Center research encompasses a number of cutting edge technologies in photonic materials, devices and applications.

Core research areas of the CAT include: ultrafast tunable laser development; photonic-based medical applications; optical imaging in turbid media; semiconductors and semiconductor structures; nanoscale studies and microscopies; photonic materials development; and optical environmental monitoring.

“The CAT’s expertise in ultrafast photonics provides SATOP with an important resource to offer to small businesses facing challenges in that technological niche,” said Ryan McLaughlin, SATOP New York Engineering Manager. “The Center for Advanced Technology is an exciting new Alliance Partner for SATOP and it is gratifying to know that we share a common basic goal: to encourage economic development through technology.”