Breault Research Organization Supports Optics Research, Teaching at UC Merced

MERCED - The University of California, Merced, has received a major donation from an Arizona software company that will assist with research and facilitate teaching students at all levels in the field of non-imaging optics. Breault Research Organization (BRO) has given the university a donation package worth more than half a million dollars.

Professor Roland Winston and other UC Merced personnel will use the BRO gift to support their research and teaching in the field of non-imaging optics, a discipline that underlies some of the most useful new designs in solar energy, among other applications.

"BRO is one of the industry leaders that is enabling companies to envision, design and test complex optical systems," Winston said. "Dr. Robert P. Breault, the president and founder of the company, is an early adopter of non-imaging optics. His vision and leadership has been an inspiration to the industry. The company's gift will enable us both to continue pressing forward in non-imaging optics research and to prepare our students to work on industrial applications of non-imaging optics."

Jeff Wright, dean of the School of Engineering and director of the Energy Center at UC Merced, agreed. "Roland Winston's research group is at the forefront of nonimaging optics and advanced solar concentration analysis," he said. "With the tools provided by BRO's generous gifts, they will continue their research leadership in this increasingly important field and proceed to design additional useful applications to benefit our communities. Most important, they are educating top students at UC Merced to accomplish even more in decades to come."

BRO's Advanced Systems Analysis Program software, widely known in the optical engineering industry, is a high-level modeling program for physical optics, imaging, and illumination systems. It helps engineers to design solar collectors, medical optics devices, optical environmental sensors, and more, and then test their designs in computer simulations and analyze the results of their tests. Its highly specialized and advanced functions make it a useful tool for advanced engineering education in optics.

"The optics industry needs outstanding research of the quality we see from Roland Winston. We also need prepared workers to implement that research into useful solutions," said BRO CEO Kathleen Perkins. "We're pleased to open the opportunity for UC Merced students to become familiar with the tools they will likely use throughout their engineering careers."

BRO has also provided on-site training for users of the software at UC Merced. One of the company's top optical engineers, Jon Herlocker, Ph.D. visited Merced in early May to train Winston and other users. The training aspect of the gift will allow students and faculty members here to get up and running with the software in the university's first official year of operation, beginning in Fall 2005.

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