Latest technologies from The University of Arizona
Pink Blue Blockers
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 17:08:27 GMT

This invention uses pink lenses as an efficient way to block blue light while appealing to younger users and those who have a difficult time wearing the more visually cumbersome orange or red lenses. The use of blue light blocking glasses have recently become more popular for the general public because an increasing number of individuals spend a majority of their day looking at screens. The most effective lenses at blocking blue lightred and orange lensesare difficult to wear and are not aesthetically appealing to younger users.

Currently, most blue light blocking technology in glasses is manifest in four different colors: clear (to the extent clear is a color), yellow, orange, and redthe darker the color, the greater the ability of the lenses to block blue light. Orange and red are worn by users to promote healthy sleep habits. This is especially important because blue light suppresses the generation of melatonin. Therefore, the logic goes, the use of strong blue light suppression glasses allows the user two benefits: (1) Continuing use of devices that may be necessary for work or entertainment; and (2) Generating melatonin at normal levels and allowing for normal sleep patterns. Furthermore, blue light puts a great strain on the eyes of those who constantly look at blue light, which is no small percentage of the population.


  • Bolstering circadian rhythm
  • Blocking excessive blue light


  • Stylish
  • More effective than clear lenses
Heralded-Multiplexed High-Efficiency Cascaded Source of Dual-Rail Polarization-Entangled Photon Pairs using Spontaneous Parametric Down Conversion
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 13:52:16 GMT

This technology is a high-efficiency, high-fidelity method of generating pairs of polarization-entangled photonic qubits. The use of a cascaded source that performs a linear-optical entanglement swap between two spontaneous parametric down conversion (SPDC) sources, to generate a heralded photonic entangled state that has a higher fidelity compared to a free-running SPDC source.

Quantum bits, or qubits, are basic units of quantum information that can be used to store or transmit information just like the classical bit used in traditional computing. They are the fundamental component that enables quantum computers and quantum communication. Entangled qubits are qubits which, regardless of their physical distance, will demonstrate correlated states, over any distance and even when the state of one qubit is changed. This is a fundamental building block of quantum computing and quantum communication.

This technology creates entangled qubits from light particles (photons). There are multiple state-of-the art methods of entangled photonic qubit generation, but they generally suffer from a degree of “noise” in the entanglement state, where the state observed in one entangled qubit will not always equal the state of the other qubit. This technology serves to address this problem, resulting in much higher, near deterministic levels of correlation between two entangled qubits.


  • Quantum communications
  • Quantum computing
  • Quantum information processing


  • High efficiency
  • High fidelity
  • Near deterministic
  • Enables high-rate, high-fidelity quantum communications over long distances
Digital Fringe Projection and Multi-Spectral Polarization Imaging for Rapid 3D Reconstruction
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 15:57:29 GMT

This invention embodies methods, devices and systems that utilizes Digital Fringe Projection (DFP) to generate three dimensional (3D) images of an object based on measurement of polarizations and/or color light in a single shot. Unlike conventional techniques, which require sequential measurements, the novel systems acquire high dynamic range information in a single shot and can be applied to rapidly changing scenes and objects. It's fast, portable, compact, and has low power consumption.



Three dimensional (3D) imaging techniques have applications in industrial metrology, virtual and augmented reality, remote sensing, medical diagnostic, biometrics and homeland security. To achieve 3D imaging, existing techniques, such as light detection and ranging (LIDAR), stereovision, light field or plenoptics imaging, structured light illumination and digital fringe projection (DFP), have been developed. However, LIDAR, structured light illumination and DFP often require scanning and acquisition of multiple frames. Stereovision requires more than one camera at different locations to provide accuracy. Plenoptics imaging requires complex algorithms and computation hardware for 3D reconstruction; in addition, the spatial resolution is reduced.



  • Industrial metrology
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Medical diagnostics, biometrics
  • Homeland Security
  • Remote sensing


  • Efficient/rapid ease-of-use
  • Requires only a single frame capture
  • Fast, compact, with high dynamic range
  • Provides information about material characteristics
Time of Flight Sensor and Camera
Mon, 08 May 2017 14:39:10 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a time-of-flight system that can be used for real-time 3D imaging of indoor and outdoor objects. A novel arrangement of components takes advantage of a high frequency modulator to provide high-resolution depth information at high speed.  The source can be continuous wave or pulsed. The novel system also provides additional information such as material properties.  It would be particularly advantageous in 3D facial recognition for security purposes.


Conventional time-of-flight (ToF) detectors operate on the principle of RADAR (Radio Detection And Ranging) where the object is illuminated by an active source and the single-bounced reflected light from the object is detected. The distance between the source and the object can be calculated by measuring the delay and/or phase shift of the reflected light. Two common ToF methods are direct pulse modulation and continuous wave modulation. For direct pulse modulation, the intensity of the source is modulated, and the delay of the reflected pulse, τ, is measured. For continuous wave modulation, the source amplitude is modulated periodically and the phase difference between the source and reflected light is measured. However, neither of these methods produce a high-speed and high-resolution measurement.



  • High-speed
  • High depth resolution
  • Material discrimination
  • Robust and relatively inexpensive


  • Facial recognition
  • User interfaces
  • Autonomous drone and vehicle
  • Machine vision
  • Robotic and remote sensing

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,561,084

A Gamma-ray Photon Counting Detector Based on Side-readout of Monolithic Scintillator Layers
Wed, 18 Jan 2023 12:17:27 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a gamma-ray photon counting device that works similarly to PET, but with a novel architecture that improves the accuracy and speed in determining the location of the biological targets, and is less costly to manufacture. 


Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a common and reliable medical imaging technology, able to monitor metabolism or the presence of certain biological molecules in body tissues. The sensitivity is several orders of magnitude higher than MRI, CT, or SPECT; however, there remain artifacts in determining the precise location of the biological targets within a sample, caused by the positron range and non-collinearity effect. Furthermore, the cost of manufacturing the required pixelated crystals for PET is high.



  • No positron range or non-collinearity artifacts
  • Greater accuracy for location of biological targets
  • Lower manufacturing costs; no need for pixelated crystals
  • No pixel decoding required



  • Medical imaging of biological targets
  • Locating target molecules
  • Monitoring metabolism

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,385,362

Fast and Scalable Fabrication of Microscopic Optical Surfaces and its Application for Optical Interconnect Devices
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 14:11:26 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed and demonstrated a new technique for fabricating 1-micron scale optics and optical interconnects at a fairly high rate of speed and compatible with semi-conductor fabrication (CMOS) processes. The process is relatively inexpensive, utilizing off-the-shelf components arranged in a novel way, addressing the need for competitively priced small scale 1:1 ratio optics and interconnects.



  • Can produce 1-um scale optics with a 1:1 shape ratio
  • Fast production
  • Compatible with semi-conductor fab processes
  • Uses off-the-shelf components


  • Small medical imaging tools for endoscopy, laparoscopy, and robotic surgery
  • Consumer electronics
  • Semiconductor components
  • Optical interconnects

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,531,270

Calibration Method for Photon Counting Detectors
Wed, 04 Apr 2018 15:29:00 GMT

This technology is a calibration method that could be a game changer for adoption of photon counting-based imagery. It solves long-standing challenges in the calibration of detectors used in medical imaging devices and is also useful for security screenings and other imaging photon counting detectors. The method is simple to use, requires less time than conventional calibration methods, and is easy to implement, while also pushing the current state of the art into additional applications.


The calibration process for photon counting-based imagery has been a hindrance to its broader adoption. The relative signal strengths of the light sensors within the photon counting detectors are used to estimate the position and energy attributes of each gamma-ray interaction. Several methods consisting of simple linear combinations of signals are conventionally used to estimate gamma-ray interaction position for monolithic crystal gamma-ray detectors. In order to apply these methods, detector calibration is necessary to determine the detector sensors response as a function of gamma-ray interaction position. However, each of these methods has significant disadvantages, such as being very time consuming or being unable to calibrate depth of interaction information. Accordingly, what is needed is an improved method for calibrating gamma-ray and photon counting detectors.



  • Diagnostic imaging instruments, imaging centers and software providers
  • Hospitals and contract research organizations (CROs)
  • Medical research laboratories
  • Academic medical centers and universities
  • Security screening


  • Reliable
  • Easy to use
  • Efficient and precise
  • Allows for use of the whole camera frame
  • 3D calibration
  • Improves imaging accuracy

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,531,126

Robust and Portable Microresontor Sensor Coupling Design
Sun, 12 Jun 2016 16:48:05 GMT

This technology is a novel design for an optical coupler that is more robust, easier to fabricate, and not as fragile as a regular coupler. This technology has great potential for portability due to it's robust design and does not require tapered optical fibers with high nano-positioning requirements, making it easier to mass produce.


Regular optical resonator sensor systems use fragile optical fibers, which are prone to breakage at the coupler port if not properly cared for, making them non-portable. In addition, current optical coupler designs require tapered optical fibers with high nano-positioning requirements, which have to be carefully fabricated.



  • Optical resonators
  • Sensor systems
  • Telecommunications


  • Less expensive and faster to produce than conventional tapered optical fiber couplers
  • More robust and portable than regular optical fibers
  • Not prone to breakage
  • Can be produced in mass quantities

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,215,563

Quantum Message-Passing Receivers for Quantum-Optimal Laser Communications
Thu, 12 Jan 2023 13:30:44 GMT

This technology is the first fully structured design of an optical joint-detection receiver that can attain the quantum limit of laser communication. The proposed receiver circuit provides an alternative proposal for a quantum supremacy experiment, targeted at a specific application that can potentially be implemented on a small, special-purpose, photonic quantum computer capable of performing cat-basis universal qubit logic.

This invention opens the possibility of reaping a quantum enhancement in lasercom data rates in photon-starved communication scenarios such as deep space lasercom by using upcoming quantum information processors.


  • Laser communication


  • Attains quantum limit (accurate)
Distributed Feedback Fiber Laser Pumped by Multimode Diode Lasers
Sun, 30 Nov 2014 12:02:02 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences and Canada's Carleton University recently succeeded in fabricating high reflectivity (>99%) Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs) into phosphate glass fibers using UV light and a phase mask technique. With this new manufacturing technique, fiber lasers can be created as single monolithic units that are more stable, with higher efficiencies and shorter manufacturing times than lasers created by conventional manufacturing techniques. These FBGs show high thermal stability making them suitable for fiber lasers operating at high average power laser operation. Not only are the FBGs stable when exposed to temperatures up to 170C for extended periods (hundreds of hours), but the reflectivity actually increases under such conditions.

Both distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) lasers and distributed feedback (DFB) lasers can be made with the monolithic phosphate glass fiber. Utilizing highly doped phosphate glass in combination with a DFB geometry enables the fabrication of stable single frequency fiber lasers with Watt-level output power, a great improvement over the mW-level output power in DFB fiber lasers made of silicate glass.

The holographic technique for writing gratings in silica-based optical fibers has garnered interest in development of high performance single fiber lasers and other optical devices that benefit from the grating being formed in the fiber. However, silica fibers need to be short in length to prevent mode-hopping, and germano-silicate fibers have low pump absorption and suffer from ion clustering when the dopant concentration is increased. Phosphate glass fibers are much less prone to clustering and can be highly doped, but they are much less photosensitive, so that the conventional holographic side writing technique does not work well. In the past, creation of phosphate glass fiber lasers has meant splicing together fibers of different refractive indexes to create the laser cavity.


  • Communications
  • Cutting and welding lasers
  • Imaging systems
  • Surgical lasers
  • Dermal resurfacing


  • Higher efficiency fiber lasers
  • Short manufacturing time
  • Excellent thermal stability  

Status: Issued US Patent #8,077,747 

Stage of Development: Prototypes have been fabricated.

Apparatus and Methods for a Software-Controlled Synthetic Phase Mask via Radiance Function Measurement
Sun, 12 Jun 2016 16:30:47 GMT

This technology measures and uses a radiance function to optimize an optical system to its phase mask. This function does not limit end users to a specific type of phase mask, thus providing the user with more flexibility. In addition, the radiance function data can be processed to emulate any phase mask and therefore works with a mask in an existing system while still producing improved imagery.


A common method for extending the depth of field of an optical instrument uses a cubic phase mask placed between the objective lens and the detector. Typical cubic phase masks require high-precision manufacturing, alignment, and testing. Once fabricated, the phase mask cannot be altered or easily replaced within a system, and has no option for the final user to tune the system and achieve a desired trade-off between resolution, minimum depth of field, magnification, etc.



  • Medical imaging
  • Optical system simulation 


  • Does not require cubic phase masks to be completely accurate, as it can simulate the phase mask being used
  • Easily delivered to the end user
  • Eliminates the need for precision manufacturing
  • Improved imaging of biological samples
  • System agnostic

Status: issued U.S. patent #10,591,353 and 10,228,279

Phase Unwrapping by Neural Network
Mon, 11 Mar 2019 12:24:05 GMT

This technology is a novel method for phase unwrapping in optical imaging in a more efficient and accurate way. It uses unwrapping algorithms based on a transport of an intensity equation with a convolutional neural network to unwrap the phase. This novel method uses a multi-class classification process and introduces an efficient segmentation network to identify classes. This allows for a more efficient and effective method in removing the ambiguity that occurs in a wrapped phase. 

Systems that use modern and mature algorithms to extract phase signals tend to return phases that involve phase jumps that produce inherently wrapped outputs that result in unusable phases. These unusable phases require the phase discontinuities to be removed by a phase unwrapping algorithm.

While there are many types of technology that involve and require the extraction of a phase signal from an input image, such phase unwrapping is a time-consuming process that makes it challenging for there not to be any errors when it is produced. Depending on the outcome of the process, the entire system can be affected. The outcome can involve thousands of individual phase wraps, false phase wraps caused by noise, or by the phase extraction algorithm itself. Differentiating between these is a complicated process and the errors can be spread throughout the entire image leaving the resulting image unusable. While there have been quite a few methods that have been developed that are used to try and meet this need, there isn’t a fully efficient process available. 

This technology is a more efficient process that removes 2Pi ambiguity while unwrapping at a quicker rate. It's also more efficient in reducing unwrapping errors that occurs in the current technology, which allows for the unwrapping process to become more accurate and less time-consuming. 


  • 3D imaging
  • Medical diagnostics
  • Optical metrology
  • Military imaging


  • Occurs at a quicker speed than current techniques
  • Is not noise sensitive 
  • Efficient segmentation network 
  • Preprocess noisy wrapped phases
High Speed Raytracing Method
Sat, 21 Jul 2018 11:25:41 GMT

University of Arizona researchers have developed methods and associated devices and systems that greatly reduce the computational operations of a ray tracing system by modifying the representations of the optical surfaces and contours in the optical system based on the illumination source. Using the novel method, more than 800 iterations were completed in less than 6 seconds. In comparison, commercial software programs took around 2.22 hours on high precision settings with a single CPU core to complete the same computation.


Ray tracing techniques used to design optical systems compute the paths of optical rays as they propagate through the system with regions of varying propagation velocity, absorption characteristics, and reflecting surfaces. Typically, many rays (e.g., hundreds, thousands, or up to billions) are traced through the system making the ray tracing operations computationally expensive.



  • Over 1,000 times faster than conventional ray-tracing software
  • Can be implemented in digital electronic circuitry, computer software, firmware, or hardware


  • Optical design

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,500,197

Single-Chip ASLM
Wed, 04 Apr 2018 16:35:12 GMT

This invention is angular and spatial light modulation using a single digital micromirror device.


Projection-type spatial light modulators have been hard-pressed to satisfy requirements for head-up and head-mounted displays. Many current technologies also struggle with similar issues for “no-glasses” 3D displays while maintaining small enough system packages. In similar systems, the etendue of the spatial light modulators (SLM) dictates the field-of-view (FOV) of the observer and the viewing area or eye-box through which the observer can view the displayed image. This invention improves on many of the shortcomings of the current technologies and will allow for further improvements to related technologies.



  • Head-up display
  • Head-mounted display
  • 3D viewing
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality 


  • Compact size
  • Single digital micromirror
  • Increased pixel density

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,503,255

Method to Translate a Non-Collimated Optical Beam
Sat, 02 Dec 2017 10:16:39 GMT

University of Arizona researchers have constructed a high-speed refreshable Holographic Stereogram (HS) display that avoids the use of a conventional translation stage, allowing for a faster recording speed that supports a fast and continuous update of the HS 3D images. The system produces an image with both spatial and angular structure, preserving the impression of parallax for the viewer.


Holographic stereograms (HS's) are a class of integral imaging in which the angular information is stored as holographic pixels (or hogels), diffracting the light in a structured cone where the intensity and/or color can change depending on the viewing angle.  This angular disparity provides different images to each of the viewer's eyes such that the brain can reconstruct the 3D scene. Photorefractive polymer screens (PPS) are holographic recording materials in which a full-color hologram can be erased and refreshed at will, making the HS updatable instead of permanent. However, the speed of the recording of current HS displays is limited by the mechanical translation stage needed to scan the surface of the PPS. Existing solutions either scale down size or resolution, or rely on sub-aperture holograms and eye tracking.



  • Holographic stereograms
  • Telepresence display
  • 3D videos


  • Faster than current systems
  • Requires very little computation
  • Capable of displaying both 3D and computer generated objects

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,487,244

Smart Programmable Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation System
Mon, 31 Oct 2022 11:20:28 GMT

This invention is a sanitizer that utilizes UV radiation to sanitize closed rooms. The invention will be able to be programmed and automated to precisely deliver the exact does of UV radiation around the area of interest while also considering safety. The sanitizer will irradiate UV light with multiple beam steering devices to selectively sterilize the different areas in a room. 

The appearance of SARS-CoV-2 in 2019, created a pandemic that resulted in 5,817,385 infections, and a total of 362,705 deaths worldwide. The pandemic also led to a large demand for deployable sanitization solutions to eliminate, reduce, and control the viral transmission of the virus. Current UV sanitization solutions tend to be non-programmable, static, and fixed. UV sterilizers that are already on the market that utilize UV lightning as a germicide tend to be imprecise, as their UV radiation system only tend to illuminate different areas indiscriminately and non-uniformly.

Given the current UV lightning sanitization solutions that are currently on the market, there is a high need for a new technology that is both portable and automatic. A new technology that could solve the imprecision, uniformity, and mobility problems could improve the rates of sanitization in work environments, schools, and markets, where a high number of occupants is present in a single room.


  • Healthcare
  • Commerce
  • Enclosed room businesses


  • Portable and precise
  • Minimal user intervention
  • Deliver an exact dose of UV radiation to an area with precision
  • Safer UV radiation-based sanitization system compared to existing systems
High Performance UV Disinfection in a HVAC System with Integrated Concentrator Optics
Thu, 03 Sep 2020 16:01:22 GMT

This invention is an ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) system that disinfects air through ultraviolet C radiation. The system has low power consumption and high sterilization and flow rate to both neutralize airborne pathogens and filter all the air inside a room quickly without disturbing the environment inside the room.

Removal or neutralization of airborne pathogens from air inside a hospital, classroom, restaurant, nursing home and store can reduce odor, allergens and pathogens causing infectious diseases. Disinfection can be carried out in a variety of ways, including air filters, alternating electrostatic fields, ozone, or ultraviolet radiation. Among the many techniques, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) which utilizes ultraviolet C (UVC) light of optimal wavelength in combination with air filters is the most common.

This UVGI system can operate as standalone or addition to existing ventilation system. The configuration can be optimized for high air change per hour (> 10 ach) without sacrificing room comfort and noise level. The optical cavity in non-imaging configuration is optimized for low stray light, large overlap between air flow and light distribution in addition to high UVC dosage for disinfection.

The UVGI market offers a number of commercially available products, ranging from small stand alone units for sterilization of individual rooms to large scale screening of industrial HVAC units. However, many products rely on existing air flow systems rather than optimize air flow and sterilization in an integrated system.


  • Healthcare air disinfection
  • HVAC ultraviolet germicidal irradiation


  • Efficient
  • High air change rate
  • Adaptable to different room size and shape
  • Effective
  • Improved performance over existing systems
Process to Fabricate Micro-Polarizers and Waveplates on Sensor Array
Wed, 03 Nov 2010 09:08:28 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a fabrication process to create patterned polarizers for various visible wavelengths using dichroic dye in a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) host directly on an array of optical sensors. This invention uses  multiple layers of an LPP/LCP system to create more complex polarization elements such as color circular polarizers, waveplates of arbitrary retardance, and linear and circular polarizers. The process is simple and inexpensive compared to other micropolarizer systems.


Patterned polarizers have a variety of applications in polarimetry, interferometry, three dimensional displays, and optical data storage. Wire-grid polarizers are by far the most common commercial products for infrared applications; however, micropatterned wire-grid polarizers have limited spatial resolution and poor performance at visible wavelengths, require complicated lithographic processing, are susceptible to defects and cannot be easily extended to non-linear polarizations. An alternative is the photo alignment of absorbing materials which can produce micron sized polarizers of high efficiency and extinction for ultra violet (UV), visible, and near infrared (NIR) wavelengths. While smaller resolution alignment has been demonstrated, it is impractical for large areas.


  • The process can produce waveplates of arbitratry retardance, linear and circular polarizers
  • The process is simple and inexpensive compared to other micropolarizer systems


  • Fabricate micro-polarizers and waveplates on optical filters and on sensor arrays
  • Waveplates and polarizers for optical array sensors include CCD and CMOS
  • Three dimensional displays, interferometry, optical storage, polarimeters, cameras

Status: issued U.S. patent #8,866,997

High-Throughput Manufacturing for PIC Polymer Waveguide using Multiple Exposures
Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:10:27 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a method of fabricating polymer waveguides in polymer films to form the interconnections between optical devices such as PICs to other PICs and Optical Printed Circuit Boards (OPCBs). 



An important problem in optical packaging involves the optical interconnection (chip-chip connections) of planar-integrated photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and the connection of such circuits to the external world. PICs allow systems with high complexity and multiple functions to be integrated on a single substrate to allow the generation, detection, propagation and modulation of both optical and electrical signals.  But the optical components are made of materials that are not particularly compatible with materials for electronic components.



  • By-passes incompatibility issues between optical materials and electronic materials
  • Uses off-the self polymer materials



  • Fabrication of integrated opto-electronic components
  • Telecommunications
  • Fiber laser manufacturing

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,454,759

Micro-Scale Concentrated Photovoltaic Module
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:44:12 GMT

This technology is a thin photovoltaic module that concentrates direct and diffuse sunlight onto each individual solar cell, which increases the efficiency. The concentrator lenses are designed to reduce tracking requirements, making these solar panels ideal for spaces requiring small footprints, such as buildings in dense urban areas. The design also includes a clever means of reducing the PV cell size under each lens so that the cells cool more efficiently.


Achieving concentration of sunlight onto photovoltaic cells in a small form factor has been a challenge.  Additionally, gathering light at large angles of incidence, to include diffuse radiation, can improve the collection efficiency by as much as 25%. However, getting both of these features into a thin form factor has not yet been achieved.


  • Small, lightweight solar panels
  • Cheaper solar panels
  • Greater efficiency for light collection


  • Solar panels
  • OLED illumination
  • Focused light for greater power in electronic devices

Status: issued U.S. patents #10,505,059, #11,056,599, and #11,456,394