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A $5.87-million contract has been awarded by the Air Force to optics researcher Martin Richardson and his UCF team, according to a press release.

The funds from the five-year contract will go toward developing new concepts for high-power fiber lasers. According to the release, this is one of the largest contracts made by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to a single university for fiber-laser development.

“We need to redesign the fiber from a simple communications fiber to one that is able to withstand the high power we want to generate,” said Richardson, UCF Pegasus Professor and founding director of the Townes Laser Institute, in the release.

The co-primary investigators on the program are professors Lawrence Shah, Rodrigo Amezcua-Correa and Axel Shulzgen from the UCF College of Optics & Photonics. They will be working on projects at UCF, as well as with researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany.

Last year, the same Air Force agency awarded a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant of $870,400 to the UCF team for purchase of a new lathe for advanced fiber fabrication.

“These investments go a long way toward establishing UCF as a leading academic institution for the development of high-power fiber lasers,” Richardson said in the release.

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Paige Wilson is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByPaigeWilson or email her at paigew@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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