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CCCC students attend national photonics convention

Click to enlarge CCCC students attend national photonics convention

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Central Carolina Community College Laser and Photonics Technology students and their instructor (from ... (more)

03.12.2014College & CommunityCollege General

LILLINGTON - Central Carolina Community College Laser and Photonics students gained first-hand knowledge of the many applications of this technology while attending the 2014 SPIE Photonics West Convention in San Francisco.

SPIE is an international society promoting an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. Photonics West is one of the world's largest photonics exhibitions. More than 1,200 companies presented and more than 20,000 professionals attended the convention, held the week of Feb. 3.

Photonics is the study of the use of light, such as lasers, for industrial and other purposes. CCCC's Laser and Photonics program, which is located at the Harnett County Campus, has been educating workers for jobs in this high-tech, well-paying industry since 1987.

CCCC has a student chapter of SPIE in its photonics curriculum. The chapter funded the conference trip. Second-year students Al Delong, Seth Pace and Steven Coulbourne, all of Harnett County, and laser program lead instructor Gary Beasley attended the Photonics West Convention. There, they observed the latest technology in the laser and photonics industry on display by the exhibitors. At each booth, companies discussed their new products in great detail, explaining how it worked and how it could be used.

In addition to attending the conference, participants had opportunities to network with colleagues, conference speakers and vendors and to expand their knowledge and understanding of the field of optics and photonics, as well as new and exciting photonics technologies.

While in the San Francisco area, the CCCC group also toured the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Labs, in Livermore. At NIF, research is ongoing to create self-sustaining fusion energy using 192 laser beams housed in an area the size of a football field. The laser beams focus on a target smaller than a BB-gun pellet to create the fusion energy.

To learn more about Central Carolina Community College's Laser & Photonics Technology program, contact Beasley at 910-814-8828 or by email at To learn more about SPIE, visit