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Delaware State University Opens the First Phase of a New Facility for Its Growing Optics Program 

This cutting-edge building will allow the advancement of important discoveries and technological advances in Delaware.


Delaware State University recently celebrated the completion of its Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) Building, a state-of-the-art facility for academic research, innovation, industry and education. The OSCAR Building is the first phase of a multidisciplinary optical research facility at Delaware State University.

The highly tectonic nature of the building—made possible thanks to the support of $10 million from the state—is apparent with its prismatic qualities of both light and reflection. As a steward for sustainability, the building mitigates its long-term energy use, including radiant cooling and heating systems to minimize the need for high-volume air systems and reduce airflow turbulence in the optical research labs.

The initial 27,000-square-foot first phase houses state-of-the-art advanced optical research laboratories to facilitate the rapidly expanding field of optics and its related technologies. A suite of shared laboratories provides all the users of the building with advanced technology testing and instrumentation to support a myriad of research needs. The new building provides for the full spectrum of optical research needs including laser spectroscopy, nanochemistry, conventional and confocal microscopy, scanning electronic and atomic force microscopy, high-technology incubator space and a complete image analysis suite. There are future plans for the construction of a Phase II OSCAR building that will add expanded optics capabilities.

“This building is the convergence point where academia through education, research, innovation and high-technology focused companies meet on the DSU campus. We wanted to build a space that transforms the way we prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers in a field that is critical to the economic well-being of our state and our nation, do research collaboratively and work with high-technology businesses on a daily basis and under the same roof,” said Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, the founding director of OSCAR and vice president for research and economic development. “This is the reason we have reserved space for high-technology business innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Since its founding, the Optics Program at DSU—which now offers a master of science degree in applied optics and a Ph.D. in optics—has obtained tens of millions of dollars in competitive research grants and has achieved national and international recognition for its role in NASA’s most recent mission to the planet Mars. Earlier this year, Dr. Melikechi was selected to be part of NASA’s 2020 mission to Mars. 

One of the few centers for applied research in optics in the country with an expertise in biophotonics, space navigation and exploration, imaging and data processing and classification, OSCAR researchers are making significant contributions that will yield the early detection of diseases, pollutants and other threats to our well-being.

As it makes its mark training the next generation of optics scientists, working to improve science, technology and engineering education opportunities on campus and for K-12 students and educators, and continues to foster the development of new high-technology companies, the continued support of donors can help DSU’s Optics Program realize its goals. Donors of $2,500 or more will have the opportunity to have their name (or someone they designate) inscribed on a representation of the periodic table of elements that will be displayed in the new OSCAR Building. For more information, visit desu.edu/supportoptics.

Delaware State University
1200 N. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901
(302) 857-6060, www.desu.edu


Browse through our gallery below to get a closer look at our Optical Science Center for Applied Research: