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COVID-19 Relief

The foundation is committed to providing relief during the pandemic.

Announcing a new partnership in 2021:

The foundation is proud to partner with IndiaCovidSOS to distribute optics-enabled technology such as pulse oximeters in India via our network of dedicated volunteers and IndiaCovidSOS distribution channels. This program is developing rapidly; please stay tuned for more information.



2020 Programs

UV-C Chambers

In 2020, Thomas Baer, University of Stanford and 2009 OSA President spearheaded an effort to address the high demand for personal protection equipment (PPE) including n95 respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic. His concept was to leverage OSA’s global network of student chapters, specifically those in low-income countries, to assist their local communities by leveraging optical technology to extend the life of PPE’s.

Tom, along with colleagues Manu Prakash, Jeffery Wilde, Bert Hesselink all of Stanford University, developed a UV-C decontamination chamber (wavelength between 200 nm and 280 nm) using readily accessible low-cost commercial components with the potential to expose over 5,000 n95 respirators per day at the generally accepted fluence levels necessary for decontamination of corona viruses. These chambers are easily constructed with parts sourced locally and deployed to hospitals. They do, however, require optical knowledge and technical ability to ensure proper illumination and safety protocols. 

Leveraging generous donations from Tom as well Milton Chang, Erich Ippen, Ursula Gibson and Chris Dainty, we provided 30 chapter grants in low-income countries, allowing them to produce chambers in partnership with local hospitals.



Zoom Accounts for OSA Student Chapters

We provided 75 professional Zoom accounts allowing student chapters worldwide to stay connected. Two thousand one hundred events were hosted, with an estimated 10,500 people impacted. The largest contingent of users has come from Russia, India, Mexico, Ukraine and Argentina.


Publication Grants

We transformed the Incubic/Milton Chang Travel Grants to publication fee grants impacting 170 peoplein 2020 – several grants went to students who were presenting for the first time at CLEO.The Emil Wolf Outstanding Student Paper Competition, the Jean M. Bennett Memorial Student Travel Grant, and the Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Grants were repurposed to cover the publication fees for 50 student presenters at OSA’s annual meeting, Frontier in Optics. Additionally, we partnered with IBM to cover 70 students presenting at the Quantum 2.0 conference.