OPEN Optics and Photonics Education News
Newsletter of the Optics and Photonics College Network
November 2020
Time for Students to Apply for Scholarships - Deadlines Approaching Fast
Despite all of the hardships many have experienced this year, it could be one of the best times to start pursuing a college degree. Many states have launched a more flexible path to public college entrance exams, waiving certain placement tests, and providing financial tools to minimize expenses. Many colleges received funding to help those who were misplaced by the pandemic get back in the saddle and obtain new skills through fast-track credentialing programs. The U.S. Department of Education announced temporary 0% interest rates on all of its loans.

Encourage your prospective and current students to learn about all programs (federal, state, and private) available to them. In addition to multiple opportunities available through college financial aid and foundation offices, optics and photonics- specific opportunities are available through SPIE (deadline Feb. 15th) and OSA (deadlines vary).

The Federal Student Aid website provides a great toolkit about different kinds of aid, eligibility, and the application process.
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: The Puerto Rico Photonics Institute (PRPI) - San Juan, PR
The Puerto Rico Photonics Institute (PRPI) is an initiative of the School of Science, Technology and Environment at the Universidad Ana G. Mendez (UAGM), Cupey Campus. PRPI is the only institute of its kind in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. It is dedicated to education and training, research, outreach, and workforce development for industries in Puerto Rico that utilize lasers, fiber optics, imaging systems and other optics and photonics technologies. PRPI’s laboratories are located in the business incubator at the Barceloneta Science Park in the municipality of Barceloneta, about a 30 minute drive west of San Juan. Academic activities are at the Cupey Campus, just south of San Juan within the metropolitan area. 

In addition to the academic program (which we describe in more detail below), PRPI conducts a variety of research activities. We work in lidar remote sensing for both atmospheric research and, more recently, hard target detection and dynamics measurements. We work on photonic inertial sensor research and electromagnetic wave propagation from first principles (available on our website).
Associate in Engineering Technology Degree in Photonics and Lasers

PRPI’s main program is an Associate in Engineering Technology Degree in Photonics and Lasers. The curriculum aligns with the knowledge, skills and abilities requirements of local industry. It consists of a general optics course, two lasers courses, two electronics courses, a photonics-enabled technologies course, and a fiber optics course. In addition, a course in entrepreneurship and business development is also required. Students receive instruction in the following technologies:
1.      Optical instruments
  • Power meter
  • Spectrometer
  • Wavemeter
  • Spectrum analyzer
  • Beam profiling
  • M2 measurement
  • Power vs. current measurement

2.      Lasers
  • HeNe
  •  Nd:YAG
  •  Semiconductor
  • Fiber
  •  CO2
  •  Argon
  • Laser Safety

3.      Photonics-enabled technologies
  • Optical coating design and deposition
  • Laser engraving
  • Optical dimensional metrology
  • Specify and installation of a photovoltaic system backup power
  • 3D printing
  • Safety
4.      Electronics
  • National Instruments Elvis platform
  • Introductory LabVIEW®
  • DC and AC circuits
  • Oscilloscope
  • Digital multimeter
  • Safety

5.      Fiber optics
  • Theory
  • Safety
  • Overview of fiber optics telecommunications systems
  • Terminations
  • Measurements (power, attenuation, OTDR)
  • Inspection, cleaning and maintenance
  • Splicing
  • Certification FOI from ETA-International.
Knowledge and skills of graduates:
·        General optics
·        Lasers
·        Electronics
·        Fiber Optics
·        Photonics Enabled Technologies
·        Safety
·        Business management
Contact Information
Name: Jonathan Friedman, PhD, Director
Telephone: 787-766-1717 x6617
Address: 1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14623
Program Website

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube): @prphotonics
How can I recruit from this college?
Industries can meet our students at the annual Jobs Fair at our university, usually held in March. To be notified about this event, companies can contact our Employment Center (Centro de Empleo) at 787-766-1717 x6524 or

In addition, PRPI faculty maintain contact with our graduates and provide notifications of employment opportunities. Companies can contact us directly at the email addresses below. We welcome companies to invite our students for information and interview sessions, and we are working with some local companies to do mock interview sessions to help prepare our students for job hunting.

Our students graduate in early June and prospective graduates complete their spring course work by mid-May. Some start to work part-time before graduation.
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.