Latest technologies from The University of Arizona
Kinematically Engaged Yoke System
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 14:31:05 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed a paradigm-shifting space telescope technology. The technology produces ultra-lightweight, transmissive lenses that are fabricated economically in segments. The novel aspects of the technology facilitate quick assembly with very high precision alignment. 


Improvements in space telescope technology are needed. For example, mirror systems may be heavy, costly, and may comprise transmission loss and reduction in light throughput. Also, segmented mirror system has very sensitive alignment and assembly tolerance, which increases the overall system complexity and budget.



  • Quick assembly
  • Excellent alignment among segments
  • Lightweight
  • Very large aperture


  • Space-based astronomy
  • Ground-based astronomy

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,204,509

Photo-Magnetically Actuated Deformable Mirror
Thu, 15 Apr 2021 15:39:54 GMT

This technology is a flexible deformable mirror and wireless actuator using a combination of light and magnetic components, to enable large and small scale deformations.

Deformable mirrors (DMs) are special mirrors designed to be deformed to provide optical aberration correction in high performance optical systems. These mirrors are particularly useful in astronomy and retinal imaging where image quality needs to be maximized at high magnifications, as well as in control and shaping of laser beams.

Traditional DMs use an array of actuators behind the mirror which deform the mirror when electricity is applied to the actuators. This approach requires many, often high-voltage, electrical connections. This technology, on the other hand, deforms the mirror wirelessly, simplifying the design while simultaneously allowing large amounts of deformation and precise control.


  • Adaptive optics
  • Telescopes, especially space telescopes
  • Retinal imaging
  • Laser beam focusing and correction


  • Simple; requires fewer components than other deformable mirrors
  • Provides both large-scale, course correction and small-scale, precise correction in one package
  • Works well in a vacuum
  • Reliable
Digital Micromirror Device Based Beam Steering
Mon, 08 May 2017 13:52:36 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed a beam steering system that works over a large range of wavelengths, with a relatively large field of view, high scan rate, and large beam size, while minimizing the number of moving parts. The invention includes a novel architecture for the illumination and scanning components.


Beam steering technology is essential for Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) systems. Mechanical scanning systems including gimbals, fast-steering mirrors, Risley prisms, rotating polygon mirrors and gratings have been used for wide wavelength ranges. Although these are widely adopted, there is still a need for fewer or no moving parts and smaller component inertia for fast and compact beam steering devices to reduce size, weight, cost, and power consumption. This is especially desirable for the autonomous vehicle and robotics market sector applications.



  • Wide field of view
  • Large number of scan angles
  • Few moving parts 
  • Small component inertia
  • High scan rate


  • Product line inspection
  • Optical switching

Status: U.S. issued patent #11,635,763

Thermal Drift Calibration of Whispering Gallery Mode Microcavities using Optical Frequency Domain Reflectometry
Tue, 02 May 2023 11:34:44 GMT

This technology utilizes optical frequency domain reflectometry (OFDR) to collect high resolution temperature measurements in biochemical applications. More specifically, accuracy of measurements is increased in the spatial domain via the OFDR technology being studied in conjunction with whispering gallery mode biochemical sensing. While temperature measurements are currently investigated with a reported temperature uncertainty of 30mK, this same technology could increase the accuracy of other parameters in biochemical sensing.

Currently, biochemical sensing techniques often have inherent noise within the resultant measurements. This technology that employs Optical Frequency Domain Reflectometry helps to reduce thermal drift noise, thus increasing the accuracy of measurements in biochemical applications.

Additionally, other current techniques in biochemical settings include systems that employ tagging of specimen. With the studied use of this technology with Whispering Gallery Mode Biochemical Sensing, this is a label-free technique.

Finally, with the reduced noise capabilities of this technology, resulting temperature measurements have shown increased spatial resolution. It is hypothesized that this accuracy would carry over to other parameter measurements. The technique is also capable of calibrating the microcavities used so that lower levels of detection are possible. 


  • Single virus particle detection 
  • Label-free detection 
  • General single particle detection


  • Reduced levels of noise
  • High accuracy measurements 
Multiple Exposure to Increase Image Resolution and Dynamic Range using Zoom Lens and Different Aperture
Tue, 02 May 2023 11:33:00 GMT

This innovation is a method to increase image resolution by using multiple exposures and different aperture settings, combining them to create a high dynamic range image. Images can be taken at different or same exposure times and the exact aperture setting can be determined by the user or by an initial estimate of the dynamic range of the scene. A high resolution and high dynamic range image can be generated by multiple exposure taken at different zoom and aperture settings. This practical technique does not require much computation overhead compared with current systems, and can be done with existing hardware to improve the operation of existing and new cameras.  

The image resolution of many cameras is often limited by the number and size of the pixel. One common problem in imaging is the finite dynamic range of the sensor. An image taken at the optimal exposure condition can have saturated highlights, flat shadows, or both. The main cause of the problem is that the intensity range of the scene is often larger than the dynamic range of the imaging system. This technique is different from existing improvement methods of shifting the sensor relative to the image by a fraction of a pixel pitch and/or using machine learning to generate higher resolution image.


  • Improve image resolution


  • Can be used with existing hardware
  • Fast
  • Adjustable
  • Easy to use 
  • Does not require editing software
Amplified Deformable Mirror (ADM)
Wed, 22 May 2019 17:28:07 GMT

This invention is an advancement related to deformable mirrors, which incorporates dielectric layers into the mirror’s design. These layers afford a longer stroke than can be achieved by linear actuators. The longer stroke increases the effectiveness of the deformable mirror at longer wavelengths like far infrared. 



Deformable mirrors enable control of a mirror’s surface to provide wavefront control under conditions such as atmospheric turbulence for astronomy. Deformation of the mirror is typically controlled by linear actuators whose stroke—the total distance the actuator can travel—limits the wavelength of light that can be managed. Current deformable mirrors are ineffective at longer wavelengths like infrared.



  • Astronomy
  • Laser communications
  • Directed energy 


  • Overcomes the stroke limitation of linear actuators
  • Increases the effectiveness of deformable mirrors at longer wavelengths

Status: U.S. issued patent #11,630,299

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

Status: U.S. issued patent #11,605,172

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
Deep Learning-Based Hyperspectral Imaging
Wed, 08 Jun 2022 09:15:32 GMT

This technology is a pairwise-image-based hyperspectral convolution neural network (pHSCNN) that works to recover hyperspectral images from a pair of RGB images to improve the fidelity of hyperspectral images. The technology captures sequentially via a color sensor paired with and without an optimized optical filter in front of the imaging lens. This filter also works to improve overall system performance.

The technology proposed can be applied to biomedical, remote sensing, and computer vision applications to improve the resolution of hyperspectral images collected. Fidelity is a measure of how well two images may be distinguished, and so this technology could be of great use in aforementioned applications as spectral and spatial resolutions are improved via this technique.

Conventional hyperspectral imaging techniques currently suffer poor temporal, spatial, or spectral resolutions. However, computational hyperspectral recovery via RGB images has shown promise in that dynamic results can be delivered without sacrificing spectral or spatial resolutions. Despite the promise of this technology, performance still suffers at short and long wavelengths. To improve red and blue bands, the pairwise-image-based hyperspectral convolution neural network is proposed. Tested with a dual-camera hyperspectral system, pHSCNN is trained to reconstruct the hyperspectral images via RGB pairs and optimize the system as a whole. In the technology’s testing it is important to note that commercial filters were used and thus this saved cost on the manufacturing of the optimized filter and allows it to be realized in applications more readily.  


  • Biomedical imaging
  • Computer vision
  • Remote sensing
  • Hyperspectral imaging


  • Optimized system
  • Inexpensive
Birefringent Coating to Remove Polarization Dependent Phase Shift
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 13:27:01 GMT

This technology is a method designed to remove unwanted phase shifts from optical instruments to improve their performance. The method involves the manufacture and application of a layer, or multiple layers, of birefringent materials (materials with two distinct refractive indices) such that the unwanted phase shift is removed from the optical instrument.

Optical interference filters have been around and known for a century, and these filters have been effectively exploited technologically for at least several decades. Additionally, birefringent materials have been, and continue to be used in optics to produce various results such as, producing polarizing prisms, interference colors, and retarder plates. Because of their unique properties, birefringent materials play a large role in optical systems.

This technology is more than simply using birefringent materials to reduce polarization aberration in an optical system. This is a method for determining the thickness and angle of a birefringent material to optimize the performance of an optical system by removing any phase shift in the system, what the authors call “parasitic retardance.”  The birefringent material can be applied to an interference filter, or be placed on a different substrate allowing for more customization by placing the birefringent material anywhere in the optical path.


  • Optical systems
  • Polarized light


  • Optimize and improve performance of optical systems
  • Customizable
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
Multiaperture Monocular Endoscopic Objective for Multiview Acquisition
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 14:02:32 GMT

This invention describes a device with several novel imaging capabilities such as 3D viewing, peripheral awareness, and light-field based computational imaging in endoscopes for minimally invasive surgery. Through integration of a multiaperture and multiview selector in conjunction with a multiview deflector, the technology allows for multiple perspective views of an object field to be captured on the same imaging sensor.

A common part of minimally invasive surgery is the use of some kind of endoscopic device for imaging and visuals. This presents several challenges, as the precision, resolution, and specific functionality of a small endoscope is often not ideal for the surgical setting.  

The inventors propose a new method, design, and embodiment of a multi-aperture monocular objective for an endoscope. This would allow for an array of improved and expanded functionalities such as 3D viewing, peripheral awareness, and light-field based computational imaging in endoscopes for minimally invasive surgery.


  • Improved multiview acquisition-capable endoscope


  • Multiview acquisition
  • 3D viewing
  • Better peripheral awareness
Super Resolution Lens Free Microscopy
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 15:18:45 GMT

This invention describes a design for a lens free microscope system that can achieve resolution significantly better than current technologies. The technology involves the use of a nanostructured mask to encode high resolution information about the object that would normally be lost due to diffraction.

Lens free microscopes are advantageous in several ways including cost-effective hardware, compact and lightweight form factor, and high space-bandwidth product. Current lens free microscopy methods have limitations on resolution, as they have diffraction limits of one-half wavelength.

The inventors have developed a new and effective design that can achieve a super resolution lens free microscopy system with resolution significantly better than one-half wavelength. The inventors propose using a randomly nanostructured mask to help encode high resolution information about the object being imaged. This empowers lens free technology to have far more applications.


  • Super resolution microscope


  • High resolution
  • Cost effective
  • Far smaller than equal caliber traditional microscopes
Control of Probe Beam Duration in Single Wavelength Monitoring of Hologram Diffraction Efficiency
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 16:32:19 GMT

This technology is a novel technique for monitoring the diffraction efficiency of Volume Holographic Elements (VHOEs) in real time. The technique works by using a shutter or chopper to periodically block one of the exposing beams during the fabrication and measuring the power of the diffracted beam using a power meter. This technique has the potential for a higher accuracy calculation of the diffraction efficiency of VHOEs at a greater simplicity.

Volume Holographic Elements (VHOEs) have many applications ranging from display systems, medical devices, and solar energy systems. An important characteristic of VHOEs is diffraction efficiency, which measures how much power is diffracted into a designated direction compared to the power incident onto the diffractive element. Most VHOEs much attain a certain diffraction efficiency; in many designs, the diffraction efficiency should be maximized while in others, the diffraction efficiency is intentionally a lower value. The most common method of controlling the diffraction efficiency is to characterize the holographic material’s diffraction efficiency as a function of exposure energy by fabricating a set of holograms with different exposure energies and measuring the diffraction efficiency of each, with the hologram most closely matching the design constraint used to fabricate the desired VHOE. Another method uses additional equipment and complicated experimental setups to measure the diffraction efficiency by shining light from a separate laser at the construction wavelength from the VHOE. This technique, which works by using a shutter or chopper to periodically block one of the exposing beams during the fabrication and measuring the power of the diffracted beam using a power meter, can calculate the diffraction efficiency at a higher accuracy at a greater simplicity. The calculations are performed in real time, meaning the technique has the potential to account for local variations in the material or laser power that causes the necessary exposure time to fluctuate between samples, which allows for a more precise reading of the diffraction efficiency. This technique is particularly useful for VHOEs used in display systems where precise diffusion efficiency needs to be attained.


  • Precisely calculates the diffusion efficiency of VHOEs


  • More precise that current methods
  • Less additional equipment is needed
Novel High Refractive Index and Abbie Value Polymers for Advanced Lower Cost Optical Eyewear
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:17:20 GMT

Copolymerization of chalcogenide halides with widely available unsaturated monomers is used to create advanced polymer materials for consumer plastic optics, consumer eye wear, and smart phone plastic optics. 

Sulfenyl chlorides are a widely known but largely ignored class of sulfur compounds that are highly reactive toward nucleophiles and electrophilic unsaturated compounds.  Sulfenyl chlorides are closely related to organosulfur thiol and mercaptan molecules were the R-S-H bond is replaced via chlorination reactions to form the R-S-Cl, which is constitutes the sulfenyl chloride moiety.  The S-Cl functional group is dipolar covalent in nature and can be considered a strong electrophile for attack by nucleophilic compoudnds such as, alcohols/alkoxides, Grignard reagents, organolithium reagents to form various organodisulfide compounds. 

The inventors have developed novel polymers focusing on the electrophilic addition of (organo)sulfenyl chlorides to unsaturated compounds, which primarily comprise of alkenyl and alkynyl molecules such as vinylics, styrenics, acrylates, allylics, cyclic olefins, and both internal and terminal alkynes. 


  • Lenses with high Abbie number and high refractive index
  • Consumer optical plastics
  • Smartphone or technology optical plastics
  • Applications to microscope or telescope lenses


  • Improved performance and reduced cost compared to polycarbonate lenses
  • Solution or melt processing
  • Moderate temperature processing
  • Proton-free formation with no fluorination
Symmetric Logarithmic Derivative Eigen-projection Adaptive Algorithm for Super-Resolution Imaging
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 10:30:00 GMT

This technology describes an eigen-projection adaptive algorithm that can be used for super-resolution imaging in a variety of contexts, including life-sciences microscopy or astronomy.

Traditional advanced microscopy or telescopy uses several different measuring methods to estimate brightness, deduce position, and discriminate between object bodies. These methods work well, but often there must be additional technology or algorithms deployed to enhance the resolution.

In this technology, the inventors propose a new and improved adaptive algorithm that can yield super-resolution imaging in a variety of contexts. They propose to do this by having developed a symmetric logarithmic derivative eigen-projection adaptive algorithm. The algorithm works by its two main stages of initialization and establishing the symmetric logarithmic derivative (SLD) eigen-projection.


  • Super-resolution life sciences or subcellular microscopy
  • Telescopic devices for astronomical or extra-galactic imaging and viewing


  • Super-resolution
  • Adaptive algorithm
Optical Materials for Printing Glass Optics
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 09:41:21 GMT

This technology uses a liquid, solvent-free, silica precursor, and two-photon 3D printing process for high-precision glass micro-optics.

Inorganic glasses are widely used in industry due to their excellent optical, chemical, and thermal properties. Conventional grinding and polishing methods are the current standard for fabricating spherical, aspherical, and flat surfaces. However, this technique is slow, incapable of affording freeform surfaces, and not suitable for fabrication of glass micro-optics.

This technique will overcome the shortcomings of conventional techniques to allow for rapid fabrication of complex glass micro-optics.


  • 3D printing of glass micro-optics
  • Additive manufacturing


  • Low shrinkage
  • Rapid fabrication
Interferometric System with Deep Learning Algorithm to Process Two Interferograms
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 16:54:07 GMT

This invention is a interferometric system that captures two interferograms and utilizes deep learning algorithm to process two interferograms. This invention enables the measurement of surface roughness and surface shape using the interferometric system and neural network to process the data. The deep learning portion of the system is in a compact form allowing for on-machine measurements and a suitable attachment to the interferometric system.

The application of high precision optical elements are vast, from smart-phone camera lenses, telescopes, in addition to optical fibers and much more. With an increase in technological development the needs for high precision optical elements, accurate and efficient fabrication process is highly demanded, placing ultrahigh requirement on the measurement tools to improve workpiece quality control and manage machining process. As a recognized accurate testing method, interferometry has been a powerful method for non-contact surface metrology of optical elements. There are two unique interferometry methods to measure surface form and roughness. Currently the commercial interferometric instruments have a separate procedure to acquire the surface form and roughness measurements. This adds additional costs, time, and fabrication errors to the interferometric process of measurements.

A University of Arizona researcher has developed a interferometric system which can take two interferogram inputs acquired from the system and apply a deep learning algorithm to output a highly accurate element surface form and roughness measurements. The deep learning aspect of the system was developed compactly, allowing for ease of use in procedure of conducting the desired measurements.


  • Metrology
  • Optical testing and measurement
  • Interferometric systems


  • On-machine deep learning
  • All in one process for surface form and roughness measurements
  • Cost efficient, due to reduced procedure
  • Less fabrication errors potential, due reduced procedure
  • Compact deep learning attachment
High-Accuracy Receiver for Optical Object Discrimination
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 10:27:43 GMT

This invention describes a device that functions as a receiver for optical object discrimination in a highly accurate and complex way. This technology has applications and improvements in a large range of object discrimination-based technologies like QR or barcode readers.

Object discrimination technologies are widely used and have broad-ranging applications in various industries. The current standard and closest technology would be QR and passive barcode readers. The inventors have devised a new device and method and improve on applications and accuracy.

In this technology, the receiver will be utilized in high-stability contexts where 1- or 2-dimensional visual codes or other objects must be read or identified using small optics at large distances. Additionally, the technology will be a vast improvement in situations where the use of RF or other active signaling is precluded, for example, in automated sensing contexts.


  • Optical object discrimination device using spatial mode analyzer or spatial parity sorter for the purpose of arbitrary 2D object classification
  •  Potential applications in astronomy, medical imaging, and other optical microscopy


  • Highly accurate
  • Diverse range of object discrimination applications
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