Skip to main content

About the Optics Program

Established in 1983, the Optics Program at the University of New Mexico (UNM) is one of the oldest and most successful science and engineering interdisciplinary programs worldwide with a strong international reputation both in education and research. Today, the Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) program is affiliated with separate departments in multiple schools/colleges, including Physics & Astronomy, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Applied Mathematics, which means students are naturally exposed to multiple disciplines. The strong interdisciplinary nature of OSE sets it apart from many others in the U.S. and abroad. OSE graduate students conduct research at facilities in the Department of Physics and Astronomy (College of Arts and Sciences), Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (School of Engineering), and at UNM’s Center for High-Technology Materials.

Currently, more than 30 faculty members participate in OSE graduate programs. Nearly 150 students have graduated over the past 10 years (93 M.S. and 53 Ph.D.) and found employment in industry, academia, and government research laboratories. Pioneering research has originated from this program in areas ranging from the quantum theory of lasers to ultrashort pulse physics to optoelectronic devices, to cite only a few examples.

In 1996 the Optics Program became a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). There are numerous collaborations with the three National Laboratories in New Mexico - Sandia, Los Alamos, and the Air Force Research Laboratory, and with members of the optics industry cluster (New Mexico Optics Industry Association – NMOIA).

New Mexico is a state of scenic beauty and an inspiration for artists, particularly visual and musical arts. It is also a paradise for hikers and nature lovers, with countless parks and monuments. While generally mild and dry, the climate of the region has distinct seasons. Snowcapped mountains in the winter are a skier's delight. The 10,500 ft. Sandia Mountains overlooking Albuquerque, about a 45 minute drive away, offer a cool green retreat in the summer. Read more on New Mexico (skiing, balloon fiesta, etc.!)