Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) Visits Surface Optics Corporation
- On January 3, 2018 TAGS: Congressional Tour, FMV-SI, Multispectral imaging, San Diego, Scott Peters, spectral imaging
U.S. Congressional Representative Scott Peters recently toured Surface Optics Corporation (SOC), an engineering and manufacturing firm specializing in optical property characterization and associated technologies. During the visit to SOC’s main facility in Rancho Bernardo, he met with senior leadership and was briefed on SOC’s core capabilities, its key customers, and major programs in the United States.
Surface Optics Corporation was founded in 1977 to provide optical property measurement services to the military and aerospace industries. Since then, the company has expanded to provide vacuum deposition coatings, reflectometer instrumentation, and multispectral and hyperspectral imaging systems.
“We are a unique supplier of complex, highly engineered coating services and analytical instrumentation,” said Jonathan Dummer, Chief Executive Officer at SOC. “To stay competitive and meet our goals for growth, we continue to invest in IR&D [Independent Research & Development] programs and to cultivate a team with very strong technical expertise.”
The briefing was followed by a tour of the Coatings and Measurements Labs, including an overview of NASA spaceflight hardware that have passed through the lab since the addition of the Coatings division in 1991. A recent area of growth for Surface Optics Corporation is the Coatings Lab’s spectrally tailored paint, produced for U.S. military applications.
Jonathan Dummer, CEO, explaining the history of the coatings department next to one of the lab’s original vacuum chambers.
During the tour, Rep. Peters was introduced to the measurement instrumentations manufactured at SOC. This included the SOC410 Series Reflectometer, a portable handheld reflectometer which has sold over 300 units since development under a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with the U.S. Navy.
Rep. Peters has been a strong proponent of San Diego’s innovation economy and voted for bill H.R. 2763, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Improvement Act, passed by the House on Oct. 11, 2017.
“For our economy to grow and expand, we must provide small businesses all the resources we can to thrive and succeed,” said Rep. Peters.
The most significant portion of the visit was spent updating Rep. Peters on breakthroughs in the field of spectral imaging, where Surface Optics Corporation has long been an industry leader. Spectral imaging combines the benefits of conventional imaging with spectroscopy, to acquire both spectral and spatial information from an object simultaneously. Spectral characteristics describe light intensities emerging from an object’s molecules at different wavelengths, including invisible spectra such as ultra-violet (UV) and near infrared (NIR), and thus provide a precise fingerprint of that object.
“The adoption of spectral imaging technology for industrial and commercial applications has historically been limited by high cost and the difficulty of processing the huge amounts of data produced by spectral cameras fast enough for it to be incorporated into automated systems that operate in dynamic environments,” said Dummer. “With advances in component technology and data processing methods, spectral imaging has finally reached the tipping point to break out of the domain of academic researchers and into wide-scale commercial use.”
Mark Dombrowski, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, demonstrated the capabilities of SOC’s Full Motion Video-Rate Spectral Imaging (FMV-SI) and discussed potential applications for the technology. Early-release models of Surface Optics’ FMV-SI have been sold for standoff explosives detection and industrial flare environmental monitoring.
“It was a privilege to host Representative Peters at Surface Optics Corporation,” said Jim Jafolla, President of SOC. “We appreciate all the work he has done for our district and the opportunity to showcase our disruptive technology, particularly our spectral imaging systems which have the potential to become ubiquitous in the years to come, in machine vision, agriculture, environmental monitoring and military sensing.”
Congressman Peters serves California’s 52nd Congressional District, which includes the cities of Coronado, Poway and most of northern San Diego. First elected in 2012, he currently serves on the Energy & Commerce Committee and the Veteran’s Affairs Committee. He formerly served on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.