Orlando is the tourist capitol of the United States. Attracting over 72 million visitors a year, Orlando is most famous for being home to Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. Orlando is also known for its sunny weather and close proximity to a number of beaches. As many in Orlando will tell you though, that’s only the half of it.
Central Florida, where Orlando is located, is also a hotbed for optics and photonics, the space industry, and defense. There are 95 optics and photonics companies in the Central Florida region which along with other companies in the area employ roughly 15,000 employees in optics and photonics and contribute about $2 billion to the local GDP. The East coast of Florida has also been nicknamed the Space Coast. Florida’s geography makes it a favorable location for rocket launches and as a result it is home to several space programs, such as NASA, SpaceX, and Blue Origin. Lastly, Florida is a hub for defense companies. There are 20 major military installations in Florida and the state is ranked 5th in DoD contract awards.
For more information about Orlando, visit Orlando’s tourism website.
CREOL Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers
CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida, is one of the world’s foremost institutions for research and education in optical and photonic science and engineering. CREOL started in 1987 as the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers, and became a College in 2004 offering graduate degrees in Optics and Photonics. An undergraduate Photonic Science and Engineering program began in 2013 in partnership with the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
The College includes 35 faculty members, 17 faculty with joint appointments, 7 emeritus professors, 66 research scientists, 145 graduate students and 100 undergraduate students. Faculty and students are engaged in research covering all aspects of optics and photonics including lasers; optical fibers; integrated photonics; nonlinear and quantum optics; and imaging, sensing and display.
Over the years, the college has maintained a tradition of promoting growth in optics and photonics and a strong partnership with industry. Its Industrial Affiliates Program has a current membership of 70 companies. Over the years, the faculty have produced more than 260 patents and spun off 26 companies. Four startup companies are incubated within the CREOL facilities.