Canadian university gets Chair in optical design

May 4, 2009
Supported by industry and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, Quebec's Laval University has launched the Industrial Research Chair in Optical Design.
An Industrial Research Chair in Optical Design has been launched at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada. The Chair will enable Professor Simon Thibault of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Optics to set up a laboratory unlike any other in Canada, and among only a handful worldwide (France and the US).

Funding for the Chair is provided by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and a host of companies including the main partners ImmerVision, Dellux Technologies, ABB Bomem, Hedzopt and XEOS Imaging.

The establishment of the Chair is in line with university’s strategy to increase research partnerships. The Chair’s operating budget totals more than CAN$2 million over the next five years.

Research in optical design has spawned a whole new generation of imaging, microscopy and lighting devices, most notably LEDs.

According to Simon Thibault, “These recent technological breakthroughs are based on the comprehensive understanding and perfect mastery of light’s properties and characteristics. Light must be focused, split or deviated and wavefronts must be shaped. Optical design is absolutely required in the increased implementation of photonic technologies.”

The Industrial Research Chair’s team will be developing efficient innovative imaging concepts for earth and space applications as well as novel, intelligent and green illumination systems based on LEDs.

Université Laval’s Rector, Denis Brière said: “An Industrial Research Chair that will tackle the challenges of modeling, designing and analyzing optical systems will offer valuable support to Canadian industry and research. I am pleased to see that so many partners from industry have joined NSERC in supporting Simon Thibault and his group.”

“At NSERC, we want to make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians,” says Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. “The Industrial Research Chairs program is helping us realize that vision. Dr. Thibault deserves to be part of this prestigious group. He has shown great leadership. He has cultivated strong relationships with the industrial sector. And he has proven that he can solve challenging problems.”