OPEN Optics and Photonics Education News
Newsletter of the Optics and Photonics College Network
December 2020
Supplying Light and Optics Experiment Kits to College Photonics Students
By April 2020, due to the spread of COVID-19, almost all OPCN colleges had transferred to a remote operation to ensure the safety of their students and co-workers. From multiple discussions with our instructors from many colleges, we learned that they all had one common challenge – there were no solutions for hands-on practice, which is traditionally facilitated in college laboratories with specialized parts, devices, and instrumentation.

LASER-TEC partnered with the NSF ATE Program to provide a free Light and Optics Experiment Kit (LOEK) to all OPCN students for home use. To provide financial support for this project, the Center has applied for and received a supplemental award from the NSF ATE Program.

We have assembled and distributed 220 kits to 14 educational institutions to sustain hands-on student learning when face-to-face lab work became unavailable. Read more about this project here.
LASER-TEC Resources
Whether you are looking for support with your college program's outreach, curriculum design, academic-business partnerships, or student placement, LASER-TEC has resources for you. Visit the Resources tab on our website to browse textbooks, kits, laboratory manuals, and informational and outreach materials. The current collection is comprised of both LASER-TEC and OP-TEC materials. Don't forget to check this page often, as we will constantly upload additional resources.
Featured College: Sussex County Community College (SCCC) - Newton, NJ
New Jersey is home to some of the fastest-growing optics and photonics companies in the nation and is nearby a multitude of well-established corporations throughout New York. Inspired by the incredible need for optics technicians, Sussex County Community College (SCCC) has developed a quartet of programs aimed to provide students with the knowledge, training, and experience required to excel in the field. Whether pursuing the two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or one of three one-year certificate programs, graduates can expect to learn from experts in the field while expanding their network in the industry. Partnerships with local optics manufacturers allow students to learn on industry-standard machines in the conditions they would expect to see daily while working as an optics technician.

All Optics Technology programs at SCCC are geared towards hands-on and experiential learning, giving the students a large amount of time on industry-standard machinery. Each of these programs are designed to lead the student to a successful career within the optics industry, often with one of our partner organizations such as Thorlabs, Inrad Optics, or Esco Optics.
Associate of Applied Science in Optics Technology

The A.A.S Optics Technology program gives students an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in the field of optical manufacturing, and complete integrated general education courses needed for the industry. Students will develop advanced skills in the comprehension of technical drawings, material handling, conventional grinding and polishing, optomechanical assembly, metrology, and quality control. Additionally, students receive training in programming, setting up and operating CNC grinding and polishing machines.
Optics Technology Certification: CNC Manufacturing

This program is designed to provide students with theoretical and hands on knowledge of the art and science of conventional manufacturing techniques and training in Computer Numeral Control Programing. 
Optics Technology Certification: Conventional Manufacturing

This program is designed to provide students with a theoretical and hands on knowledge of the art and science of conventional manufacturing techniques.
Optics Technology Certification: Metrology

This program is designed to provide students with theoretical and hands on knowledge of the science of optical metrology.
Notable Skills of SCCC Optics Technology Graduates
  • Employment of safety skills in industrial settings including – but not limited to – conventional machinery, CNC machinery, coating materials, and lasers
  • Knowledge and skills for both conventional and CNC polishing and grinding of optics
  • Production of parts meeting technical drawing specifications by utilizing both conventional and CNC methods
  • Experience on industry-standard machinery and with industry-standard manufacturing techniques and processes
  • Application of metrology skills for the purpose of first article inspection reports
  • Performance of setup procedures on CNC grinding and polishing systems
  • Performing assembly of multiple optical elements
  • Applying proper handing and cleaning skills of various optical elements
  • Utilizing military and ISO specifications to execute inspection plans
Contact Information
Name: Brian Lake
Title: Optics Technology Supervisor
Telephone: 908-914-7556
Address: 1 College Hill Rd, Newton, NJ 07860
How can I recruit from this college?
If you are interested in recruiting students from SCCC, please reach out to our program supervisor. Arrangements for in-person meetings can be made and virtual meetings are available. Internships for current students are always welcome and graduates are available each May.
OPCN Member Colleges

The Optics and Photonics College Network (OPCN) is an association of postsecondary photonics technician educators operated by LASER-TEC. To learn more about the OPCN and to view the list of member institutions, please visit
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OPEN is published by the LASER-TEC Center for Laser and Fiber Optics Education
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-1700352. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.