The Delaware Institute for Science and Technology Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) building was formally dedicated Friday on the Delaware State University campus in Dover.
The $18 million building houses the university’s optics research program, which investigates applications of laser technologies.
The ribbon cutting used a laser, a reflection of the work done at the center. Contractor was Whiting-Turner,
The research facility was made possible through the support of Gov. Jack Markell and the General Assembly, which contributed $10 million in state funding toward the building’s construction.
“The state’s investment in this OSCAR Building will help to build on the years of progress made by the students and faculty of DSU’s Optics Program,” Markell said. “With this unique infrastructure in place, we are hopeful that OSCAR researchers will be better able to find solutions to some of the scientific challenges facing us today.”
Much of the OSCAR work involves research that seeks to improve upon the use of current laser technologies and create new ones that can speed up the early diagnosis of many diseases, upgrade the ability of military soldiers in the field to detect dangerous threats, provide analysis of the Mars environment to understand its potential to sustain life, and be applied in many other areas.
The construction of the OSCAR Building began in November 2013 and was completed on June 1 of this year. The 28,000-square-foot, three-story building provides DSU Optics scientists and faculty with a facility specifically designed for optics research. The C laboratory side of the building sits atop a deep concrete foundation that eliminates the ground vibrations that can disrupt the accurate use of laser technology.
The building’s completion highlights the 20-year work of Noureddine Melikechi, director of OSCAR, who founded DSU’s involvement in optics research in 1998 with the Center for Applied Optics Research.
Through the diligent research of Dr. Melikechi and other optics scientists at DSU over the years, the program has attracted tens of millions of dollars in research grants from sources such as the National Science Foundation and NASA.
DSU President Harry L. Williams said that visionary thinking and pursuits are what transformed optics into the prolific research program it has become at DSU.
“Just as we have witnessed the development of optics research here over the last 20 years, DSU has other science disciplines such as neuroscience, chemistry and others that appear to be on a similar trajectory,” Dr. Williams said. “The mentality of limitless possibilities is a mindset that is being adopted by more and more of our faculty and portends an exciting future for this institution.”