The study of optical materials has expanded greatly in recent years. Today, when we speak of optical materials we almost invariably are referring to optoelectronic uses. Research in optoelectronics at Penn State ranges across the sciences, from medical diagnostics to information technology to power generation and molecular electronics. Topics under investigation include: the optoelectronic phenomena of single crystals and molecules; the reflective, refractive, absorptive and emissive behavior of the surfaces and interfaces of both inorganic and organic molecular systems; and the quantum and spintronic behavior of atoms and electrons.
Scientific breakthroughs in optoelectronics at Penn State include: novel materials that exhibit refractive properties opposite those predicted by established theories of optics; the creation of "near-perfect" lenses for the ultra-precise transmission of optical information; and a breakthrough method for growing semiconductor material inside an optical fiber.