The Center for Research in Optics, A.C. (Centro de Investigaciones en Óptica, A.C. CIO) is a Public Research Center that belongs to the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT). The CIO develops basic and applied research that contributes to the generation of scientific knowledge and innovation in the fields of optics and photonics, contributing to the technological development of the country and helping in the solution of the national problems. In addition, CIO offers academic postgraduate master and doctoral programs categorized as internationally competitive, it also promotes in the society the development of scientific and technological culture.
The scientific activity carried out at the CIO comprises the following lines of research:
• Lasers and optical fibers
• Optical engineering
• Nanophotonics and biophotonics
• Non-linear optics
• Non-destructive optical testing
• Robotic vision and artificial intelligence
• Quantum optics
• Renewable energy
• Materials processing
These research areas have an impact mainly in the communications, metrology, energy, health, food and manufacturing sectors.
All research areas at CIO are articulated to solve specific and multidisciplinary projects through three research and development departments:
1. Attention to national problems
2. Basic and frontier science
3. Consolidation and development of new technologies
In support of technology activities, there are optical and mechanical manufacturing workshops, and a thin film deposition laboratory, which incorporates numerical control machines for the manufacture of optical components, such as lenses, mirrors, prisms, windows, surfaces with internal laser engraving, Optomechanical components, etc.
There are Metrology laboratories accredited by the Mexican Accreditation Entity (EMA): the Dimensional Metrology Laboratory, the Optics Laboratory and the Spectrocolorimetry Laboratory. These laboratories offer the following services: standard scales (glass), sieves, radius standards, diameter of smooth standard rings, roundness of rings, calibration of spectrophotometers and spectrocolorimeters, measurement and calibration of color and brightness standards, and luxmeter calibration, among others. There is also a Photometry and Radiometry laboratory, which offers UV-Vis light source characterization services, retroreflectivity measurements, illuminance and luminance measurements, and lighting systems evaluation, among others. It has laboratories specialized in spectroscopy, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
Projects with industry are related to a wide variety of applications: defect detection, leather sizing, aerodynamic and thermal characterization of household appliances, color quality in textile parts, manufacturing of non-commercial optical components, non-destructive optical testing, integration and development of prototypes for quality control, etc. Some successfully developed projects have been:
• Inspection station for detection of soldering defects in electronic boards.
• Design and synthesis of optically active nanomaterials for applications in health, environment and food among others.
• Particle image velocimetry in thermal flow analysis in refrigerators, industrial dryers, stoves, etc.
• Development of a hybrid concentrating photovoltaic (HCP) pilot plant to increase efficiency in electricity generation and hot water production in industry.
• Design and development of a concentrating solar power system for centralized water heating.
• Design and development of a fundus camera.
• Development of a Wireless ventricular pressure sensor.
• Digital image processing system for surface defect detection.
Working with the industry has provided us with other capabilities such as software development, electronics, automation and control.
Appropriation of science and technology
Activities are carried out to disseminate science to society through diverse educational and leisure programs such as: workshops, talks, guided visits, science clubs, online videos and astronomy. The CIO has been a pioneer in offering science activities for children and young people, the Science Club, for example, founded in August 2004, was an initiative promoted and taught by several researchers and is an important precedent both for its community and for the city and state, to formalize science outreach activities and programs explicitly, which has evolved and derived in events, modalities and courses: “Science workshops in your school”, Astronomy Club, “Detectives of light”, “Science is also a women’s thing”, online workshops and talks, exhibitions, workshops for teachers, guided tours, science and art contests, to mention a few, with diverse themes and different geographical scopes expanding activities outside the institution and sometimes in alliance with museums, universities, libraries and other public research centers.
The CIO has five postgraduate programs:
• Master’s and PhD in Science (Optics): Both postgraduate programs belong to the PNPC (National Quality Graduate Program) register and have the level of International Competence (valid till 2022). In addition, these programs offer the Double Degree modality with the Master’s Degree in Electro-Optics from the University of Dayton, USA. With a research orientation, these postgraduate programs contribute to the development and generation of knowledge in Basic, Applied and Frontier Science in the fields of Optics and Photonics.
• Master’s Degree in Optomechatronics: The postgraduate program has the level of Consolidated within the PNPC (valid until 2021). The program offers the Double Degree modality with the Master’s Degree in Control for Green Mechatronics of the University Bourgogne Franche-Comté (UBFC), France. The Master’s students are trained to develop optomechatronic systems, with great technological impact on regional and national industry.
• The Interinstitutional Program in Science and Technology (PICyT) offers the Master’s and Doctorate postgraduate programs, which belong to the PNPC register and have the levels of Consolidated (in force until 2022) and Recently Created (in force until 2021), respectively. The PICyT is a multidisciplinary program that trains scientifically and technologically oriented professionals, who graduate with professional capabilities to apply their knowledge and innovate in scientific and technological projects that have a social impact through the development of the productive sector. PICyT is a joint collaboration program between the following institutions: CIDESI, CIATEC, CIATEQ, CIATEJ, CIDETEQ, COMIMSA and CIO.
In this way the CIO, with campuses in the cities of León and Aguascalientes, contributes to the scientific and technological development of two states, the region and the country.