BARRINGTON, NJ-Edmund Optics (EO), a optical components provider to both industry and academia, announced the winners of its 2011 Higher Education Grant Program. This award is given in recognition of outstanding undergraduate and graduate optics programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at non-profit colleges and universities worldwide. Over $66,000 in EO products will be awarded to the first-, second-, and third-place winners in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, in support of their research and educational activities.

"We are in awe of the diversity and caliber of the programs we have reviewed," says Kirsten Bjork-Jones, EO's director of Global Marketing Communications. "Each of our grant recipients is a forward-thinking visionary, and we are immensely proud to support their efforts with the award of our Higher Education Grants."

Forty finalists for the 2011 Grant program were selected after evaluating nearly 800 applications received globally. The EO Grant Team chose the finalists based on two criteria: technical merit, which is the application of optics in the program, and the Innovative use of optics in a lab or research setting. After securing more in-depth information about the programs, the team selected the final grant recipients.

  • In the Americas, the first place award of $10,000 in EO products was given to Mirko Zimic of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru, for a microscope built from stock optical components. Zimic's invention enables low cost, remote and fast telediagnostics of endemic diseases in poverty-stricken areas around the world.
  • Second place award of $7,500 in EO products, went to Dan Gareau of Rockefeller University, for developing novel non-invasive approaches to 3-D confocal microscopy and Raman Spectroscopy for melanoma lesion detection without the need from biopsy. Gareau also involves students from grade school to graduate school in his research programs.
  • The third place winner of $5,000 in EO products is Paul Yates from the University of Virginia, for his low cost, portable, easy-to-use, point and shoot high image quality retinal cameras for teleretinal screening for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and retinopathy in adults.
  • In Europe, Stefan Sinzinger, from the Technische Universitat Ilmenau in Germany, won first place award of 5,000€ in EO products, for his research focusing on the development of optical systems to improve techniques such as optical tweezing and digital holography for the micromanipulation and analysis of particle flows in integrated microfluidic systems.
  • The second place winner, James Rice, hails from the University College Dublin in Ireland, and is the recipient of 3,000€ EO products for a project which involves the development of an optical nanoscopy and nanoimaging tool, which will uniquely achieve subsurface and sub-100 nanometer chemical mapping of biological materials.
  • Verónica Sáiz, from Polytechnic University of Valencia, is the recipient of the third place award of 2,000€ EO products, for her research involving the combining of machine vision sensors and GPS for vegetative vigor mapping of wine farms to determine, among others, the intensity of photosynthetic activity and plant health status.
  • In Asia, grant recipients include first place winner, Makoto Ohta, from Tohoku University in Japan, will receive ¥800,000 in EO products for contributing to the development of future medical instruments focused on understanding and monitoring the blood flow status in our bodies.
  • Second place winner, of RMB48,000 in EO products, is from the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CIOMP) for researching novel techniques for high power semiconductor lasers.
  • Hans Riesen from the University of New South Wales in Australia is the third place award recipient receiving USD$5,000 in EO products. He is developing the most compact dosimetry system available globally based on patented X-ray storage phosphor technology and a laser based readout system involving sophisticated optical assembly and detector.

    To learn more about the 2011 Higher Education Grant program and the award recipients, please visit EO will be accepting applications for the 2012 Higher Education Grant program beginning in January 2012.