UA Optics Expertise Fuels $3.7M In US Funding



Robert Norwood, a University of Arizona professor of optical sciences, has been awarded $3.7 million by the Department of Energy’s Advance Research Programs Agency to make significant advances in the efficiency of both photovoltaic and concentrated solar technologies.

The agency, known as ARPA-E, selects technology development projects based on their ability to enhance the nation’s economic and energy security. Successfully selected projects promise to help reduce energy-related emissions, improve energy efficiency in all economic sectors, and ensure the U.S. maintains a technological advantage in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.

“Dr. Norwood’s selection for two ARPA-E projects is a testament to the outstanding value of his research in optics and photonics for the nation — but it also brings tremendous benefit to our students,” said Thomas Koch, dean of the College of Optical Sciences. “Dr. Norwood’s work exemplifies the vast contributions that optical sciences makes as an enabling technology for our future. In this case, it is energy, but its impact ranges from national security to biomedicine, communications and entertainment technology.”

“The Department of Energy’s recognition and funding of the work being done in the College of Optical Sciences is gratifying,” UA President Robert C. Robbins said. “Energy security is one of the greatest challenges we face as a society, and the work of Dr. Norwood and his colleagues is an example of the University of Arizona’s leadership in this critical area of innovation. I am proud that the UA is at the leading edge of advancements in harnessing the potential of solar energy and maximizing its related technologies.”


“One of the chief limitations of solar energy is the large area that is required to generate useful amounts of energy,” Norwood said. “Our MOSAIC program will enable cost-effective reduction of this area by 50 percent.”