A team from the University of Central Florida (UCF) CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics has won Phase 1 of the NSIN-sponsored Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Quantum-Inspired Efficient Information Extraction for Electro-optic Systems Grand Challenge (AFRL Grand Challenge #1). The challenge includes the potential of a $500,000 contract, awarded in four development phases over the next 9 months, to develop high-resolution space imaging solutions.

The UCF team, led by Professor Stephen Eikenberry, pitched a novel approach of using photonic lanterns to identify space objects beyond the Rayleigh limit as part of the grand challenge.

The UCF team greatly impressed the judging panel.

“We are excited to work with UCF for the next phase of this grand challenge,” said Dr. Sarah Krug, AFRL Sensors Directorate, Laser Radar Optics Research Engineer. “We have confidence in their well-defined solution to our problem, and we look forward to seeing how their photonic lantern technology influences quantum-inspired high-resolution sensing.”

The UCF team is led by CREOL professors of optics and photonics, Stephen Eikenberry and Rodrigo Amezcua-Correa, supported by CREOL Ph.D. candidate and U.S. Space Force Major, Matthew Cooper, and Kerri Donaldson-Hanna, assistant professor of physics and a member of UCF’s Planetary Sciences Group.

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