Western Carolina University

CAROLINAS MICROOPTICS TRIANGLE                                                                                                      

Educators, business executives, economic development officials and industry experts from the fields of optics, nanotechnology and rapid prototyping will gather at Western Carolina University this week for a two-day symposium sponsored by the Carolina MicroOptics Triangle.

The symposium, hosted by Western's Kimmel School of Construction Management, Engineering and Technology, and Center for Integrated Technologies, will be held Thursday and Friday, April 27-28.

Speakers include Michael Lebby of the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association; Mike Thompson of the FEI Co., which specializes in tools for nanotechnology; Kornel Ehman of Northwestern University; Andrew Webb of Oxford Lasers; and Tony Levi of the University of Southern California.

A research alliance involving WCU, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Clemson University, the Carolina MicroOptics Triangle is designed to develop fiber optic communication capacity in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. The CMOT is working to attract high-tech industries that have traditionally located in the Research Triangle Park or Silicon Valley, and to prepare students for careers with those companies.

Formed in 2002, the CMOT enables the universities to pool resources to tap into the $236-billion-a-year photonics industry, which is growing at a rate of 12.5 percent a year. Sometimes called electronics at the speed of light, photonics is the science upon which today's information technology is built and is the backbone of the Internet-driven technology revolution.

The symposium is part of WCU's efforts to help the region rebound from job losses in the textile and furniture industries by beginning to build the foundation to develop new optics-related businesses, said Phillip Sanger, director of WCU's Center for Integrated Technologies. For more information, call (828) 227-2159.

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Last modified: Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Western Carolina University