Optical Engineering is the knowledge area that studies the applications of optics and photonics. Optical Engineering allows design of equipment and instruments or the development of applications that take advantage of light properties. It is a horizontal technology with ability to provide solutions and add value to a wide range of industrial sectors. One aspect that characterizes the activity of CD6 is the innovation; the ability to transform the results of our research in technologies or instruments that create value in our customers.
Automotive industry makes an intensive use of optical technologies. The clearest example are the most visible elements such as lighting systems (inside and outside the vehicle) or the instrument panel. However, security systems that assist in breaking (ABS, CBC, ...) or keeping the desired car's trajectory (ESP, DSC, ...) are also based on optical sensors. The current trend is to assist the driver as much as possible (vision systems, parking aids, ...) and this often means using optical sensors.
Consumer electronics and multimedia
Electronic devices intended for consumer goods (cameras, mobile phones, monitors and televisions, printers, etc.) often include optical sensors and advanced displays. Apart from the specific use of such components, the manufacturing process incorporates advanced optical instrumentation that allows on-line and high-speed quality control. Examples range from equipment to verify the presence of all optical components using computer vision techniques to systems designed to check the 3D topography of hundreds of micro-soldering points in microprocessor sockets.
In the late years medicine has undergone a qualitative leap in important partially due to the use of new technologies based on optical and photonic devices. Diagnose equipment base on high quality imagery stand out as well as the development of new therapies or less invasive surgery techniques.
In the field of production processes, the image based instrumentation has definitively improved productivity. A variety of applications are already available: instrumentation to characterize the roughness of dental implants, equipment to measure the ability of cosmetic creams to flatten skin wrinkles, techniques for non-destructive testing of materials or plastic recycling facilities where the parts are automatically classified according to their chemical composition by means of hyperspectral techniques.
Leading technology and research centres are usually end-user of state-of-the-art technologies. The generation of new knowledge is often the drive to develop new tools or non-existing equipment. As an example of optical instrumentation developed specifically for scientific purposes, it is possible to cite laser micro-ablation systems for analyzing the chemical composition of art, particle velocimetry equipment to study wave dynamics or large interferometers to calibrate segmented primary mirrors of large telescopes in presence of vibrations.
Infrastructure and public services
The administration is organized into agencies which implement and monitor the country policies. With the aim of improving service and optimize public resources, these agencies often foster innovation projects involving the use of optical systems. We can cite as examples the colorimetric characterization of artworks in museums, design of lighting systems that do not degrade the cultural heritage, sensorized structures (smart structures) to optimize their maintenance, or the development of special cameras for aerial cartography.
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