Positioned for Success in Rapidly Expanding Field

Photonics is the science and technology of light-based devices (lasers, optical sensors, optical communication systems, etc.) and light-based methods for measurement and sensing. The bachelor of arts major and minor in Photonics are intended primarily for students interested in science and engineering at the heart of photonics.

The field of photonics is rapidly expanding, with applications ranging from applied fields like telecommunication, autonomous driving vehicles, cloud computing, big data, smart mobile, IoT devices, chem-bio sensing, manufacturing, medical diagnostics and cryptography to purely scientific advances in chemistry, biology and physics.

Why Stonehill?

  • Interdisciplinary approach emphasizes hands-on practice
  • State-of-the-art lab with authentic equipment used in industry – including a femtosecond laser
  • Increased marketability in other technical fields, e.g. robotics, electronics, and materials
  • An opportunity to be part of a new degree program not often found at primarily undergraduate institutions
  • Industry connections that provide students the chance to pair with potential employers

Strong Foundation for Graduate Programs

Students completing the Photonics program at Stonehill will also be well-positioned to enter graduate school in a number of areas, including physics, electrical engineering, biomedical optics and medicine. They also have the opportunity to take advantage of Stonehill's cooperative agreement with the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, in which Stonehill students who satisfy certain criteria receive automatic acceptance to Rochester's Optics Master’s Degree Program.

Ruby Gu, assistant professor of Physics

Using light to manipulate information, integrated photonics will revolutionize data storage and transfer—similar to how integrated circuits ushered us into the Internet age.

Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience

The Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) is an opportunity for students who have completed their first year at Stonehill to perform full-time, high-quality research over the summer months under the guidance of an expert faculty researcher. A student in the SURE program spends 8-10 weeks of the summer collaborating with a professor - and sometimes other students - on an original research project that fits into the faculty member’s overall research program. 

The experience includes postgraduate career seminars, program-wide outings, weekly lunches, and a student poster session in the fall. SURE students generally live on campus and receive a stipend for their summer work.

Career Development Resources for Students

The Stonehill Career Development Center offers extensive assistance to students in academic degree and career decisions; applying to graduate school; and finding internships, mentors and postgraduate service opportunities. 

Recent Photonics Internship Opportunities

Sample Courses

Introduction to Optics

PHY 319
Covers the basics concepts and methods of optics, including geometrical and wave optics, polarization, lenses and mirrors, coherence, free-space propagation, Fourier optics, interference and diffraction. Optical devices such as the lasers and interferometers are briefly discussed, and the quantum mechanical description of light in terms of photons is introduced.

Introduction to Photonics

PHY 320
Covers the basics concepts and methods of photonics, the study of light-based technology. Topics include lasers, optical fibers, optical properties of semiconductors, light emitting diodes, optical sources and detectors.

Optics and Photonics Lab

PHY 330
This course focuses on learning experimental methods in optics and photonics and on carrying out a series of basic experiments in these areas. Topics of experiments include geometric and wave optics, interference, lasers, optical fibers, optical properties of semiconductors, light emitting diodes, optical sources and detectors.

Semiconductor Materials and Devices

PHY 340
This course is an introduction to the electronic properties of semiconductors and the functioning of semiconductor-based devices. Topics include introduction to crystalline solids, the band theory of metals and semiconductors, drift and diffusion of electrons and holes, electron-hole generation and recombination, PN junctions, diodes, bipolar junction and field-effect transistors, integrated circuit basics, photodectors, solar cells, and light emitting diodes.

Integrated Photonics

PHY 370
Introduction to the concepts, devices and characterization of integrated photonics, including waveguides, waveguide bending and bending loss, Y-branch coupler, grating couplers. This course will help students understand the complete design-fabricate-test and data analysis cycle of the integrated photonic circuits. Course project: Design and model a fundamental building block in integrated photonic circuits-the Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI). The designed Integrated Photonics circuits will be sent to SUNY-poly cleanroom for fabrication. After the integrated photonics circuits are fabricated and sent back, they will be tested in the lab. The test results will be compared to the simulation results for data analysis and design verification.

Contact Information

David S. Simon

David S. Simon

Professor of Physics, Photonics Program Director
Physics