Edmund Optics has announced the recipients of its 2015 Educational Award, a prize which recognises outstanding undergraduate and graduate optics programmes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at non-profit colleges and universities worldwide.
Over 800 applications were dwindled down to 45 global finalists by the Educational Award Team. Projects ranged from a vision system for the early detection of forest fires and optical techniques to investigate alternative energy sources, to non-invasive methods for pneumothorax diagnosis in premature babies and the development of a smartphone spectrometer for real-time environmental monitoring or health diagnostics such as Ebola detection.
More than US$85,000 in EO products have been awarded to the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners in the Americas, Asia, and Europe, in support of their research.
In the Americas, the Gold Award was presented to Jarred Swalwell and his team at the University of Washington, for the development of flow cytometers for marine research with an optical technology that makes it possible to perform continuous flow cytometric analysis on sea water without the need for clean water.
The Gold award for Asia was awarded to Dr Masahito Yamanaka of Nagoya University, in Japan, for developing super resolution 3D imaging technology which uses the high-brightness of rare-earth metals and nanoparticles along with highly nonlinear optical emissions. Yamanaka's project looks deep inside biological samples with the production of customised high contract, low S/N fluorescence imaging system.
In Europe, the Gold award went to Outi Supponen Supponen from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, of Switzerland, for research which focuses on the dynamics of collapsing cavitation bubbles for such applications as needle-free injections, microfluidic pumps, new printing technologies, and transportation.
‘We continue to be extremely impressed by the ingenious use of optics in these highly technical, life-changing applications,’ commented Kirsten Bjork-Jones, director of global marketing communications. ‘It is very satisfying to help support cutting-edge research and recognise the researchers dedicated to furthering optical innovation.’
The Silver award for the Americas went to Vira Oleksyuk of Temple University, Philadephia, for non-invasive breast cancer diagnostics by a multimodal imaging system combining tactile and hyperspectral capabilities to discern malignant and benign tumours.
Dr Dasol Lee of Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea was given the Silver award for Asia for research into the development of an optical microscope system with a resolution of less than the diffraction limit achieved through a hyperlens made of metamaterial. The microscope would be used to predict and cure numerous diseases in real time monitoring.
The Silver award for Europe was given to Peter Christian Bakker from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands for research on internal combustion engines, specifically the burn-out phase. Ultimately, the outcome of this research will help to increase the energy efficiency of diesel engines and will be used by one of the major oil companies to re-design their diesel fuel.
The Bronze awards were presented for the Americas, Asia and Europe for: in the Americas, the development of a device that uses both infrared structured light and visible green structured light to sense and highlight hazards for the visually impaired; in Asia, for research into in Laser Speckle Imaging (LSI) of renal, brain, and retinal blood flow; and for Europe, the development of a smartphone spectrometer which utilises a UV LED integrated onto the phone.
In November, Edmund Optics will also be presenting the Norman Edmund Inspiration Award, where $5,000 in EO products will be presented to a project that best embodies the legacy of Edmund Optics' founder Norman Edmund.